Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Joys of Blogging: Polish Grammar

Polish Grammar, Too!

Regular readers will easily recall yesterday's blog entry -- "Father and Son: Adventures in English" -- but just in case not, here it is again:
Saturday, my son En-Uk and I went into an Ediya Coffee shop. He ordered a mushy-looking chocolate drink that smelled of cinnamon.

"That have cinnamon in it?" I asked.

He nodded, but said nothing.

I looked at some of the 'Konglish' [Korean-influenced English] on the walls and called his attention to a few of the amusing examples. They reminded him of something he said happened.

"A Korean who didn't know much English went into a coffee shop and ordered a coffee with a 시나몬롤 [cinnamon roll]. He bit into the roll and exclaimed, 'Hey! They put 계피 [cinnamon] on it!' So, the next time he went to that coffee shop, he said, 'Give me a 시나몬롤 [cinnamon roll], but without the 계피 [cinnamon].' Funny, huh?"

I agreed, but wondered if the story were true or something he'd read in 마음의소리, an online Korean comic strip that he reads every day.
Well, a European non-native speaker of English -- whom I'll refer to by the abbreviation "ENNSE" -- objected to my use of "That have cinnamon in it?" He took upon himself the responsibility of polishing my English usage, and in the comments section of a different blog, where I had also posted my "Father and Son" dialogue, the following exchange (which I've abridged) took place:
ENNSE: "That HAS cinnamon in it"? would be better.

Me: No, it wouldn't. This is dialogue. The "Does" of "Does that have . . ." often gets dropped in dialogue.

ENNSE: In no context does "That have cinnamon in it?" make grammatical sense. You must speak some sort of pigeon English; too bad you are teaching your son to speak poorly.

Me: I think you mean pidgin English. As for your suggestion - "That has cinnamon in it?" - it carries a connotation of surprise, even disbelief, which was not my meaning.

ENNSE: Nope, I meant pigeon, . . . . as in "dumb as a pigeon" . . . . Its called a play on words.

Me: I think you mean "It's." But perhaps "Its" was another fine pun.

Anyway, . . . you're either invincibly ignorant or stubbornly wrong. Whichever the case, no real progress is made in conversations of this sort.

I'll no longer try to convince you of my position. Others can draw their own conclusions as to who's wrong or right.

ENNSE: So you're content to speak poorly. Well, *good for you! (*SARCASM)
I guess he worried I might miss his light, clever irony and thus added "sarcasm" to make sure I wouldn't misread.

Awfully gracious of the fellow . . .



At 5:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too Funny! Perhaps ENNSE does not have conversations and only communicates via the written form? Your conversation made perfect sense to me, but then I grew up in the same pidgin English place you did so my vote may not count...


At 5:35 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

ENNSE would go crazy if he heard you and me revert to Ozark dialect!

I think ENNSE knows he's wrong. I've read many of his comments over the past couple of years, and I've concluded that he's simply too proud to admit his error.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

ENNSE's command of English barely qualifies as command at all. More like timid suggestion.

ENNSE: Speaking English with drearily robotic perfection is a task for drearily perfect robots, not for delightfully imperfect human beings. And as for that attempt at saving yourself by claiming that "pigeon" was what you had originally intended to say... ha ha! You're quite the comedian!

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Kevin. You could chew this sassy guy up and spit him out before he knows what bit him.

Jeffery Hodges

@ @ @

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

I had my own encounter with the terminally stupid recently, but that was on Twitter. Am still pondering how best to approach the matter on the blog.

Oh, and I went over to the comment thread in question and now see who you've been talking about. To be honest, this seems like a bizarre stance for that guy to take. He's normally (slightly) more reasonable. I suspect you're right—he does know he's wrong, but just can't bring himself to admit it.

Whom the gods destroy, first they make proud.

At 3:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A'cause I never masturd yer linkin' thingamajig Jeffers chech ur email. I assorted ENNSE a gift.



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