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English tongue twister

tonguetwister

I've whined many times about the difficulty of the Russian language. Very long words, often difficult to pronounce. Recently, I started learning basic Georgian phrases for the journey - hello, goodbye, thanks, my name is, how much?, nice to meet you...This language is comprised of many harsh and unusual sounds for a native English speaker, and it's even more challenging to grasp than Russian. Almost any ounce of foreign vocabulary I know is useless for learning Georgian. For instance, if you know English, many Spanish words aren't so hard to comprehend, and even French to some extent. This perception is based solely on my travels in France, and daily communications with native Spanish speakers in my immigration work and life in Northern Virginia, where we have a huge population from Central America. In fact, whites have been the minority in my region for many years.

I'm not concerned about perfection or grammar when learning these languages, just the spoken element so I can try to communicate with locals a bit in their native language. I think it's very important, and you should always make an effort to learn standard, universal phrases when visiting a foreign country.

I always considered English to be a simplistic language, comprised of much shorter basic terms - "hi", "bye," no gender distinctions, etc. Then, I remembered this meme someone sent me a few months ago. Who can understand it? I believe it's an excellent test of English proficiency and comprehension skills. Maybe you can share it with your children or friends who are learning the language for some fun. :)

Comments

( 138 comments — Leave a comment )
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boytsev
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:13 pm (UTC)
The phrase itself is easy enough, it's a matter of knowing how these particular words are spelled.

Personally, i often find it hard to understand english poetry. And translating it in your head into something poetic in russian is a whole other challenge...
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:14 pm (UTC)
Were you taught American or British English? It seems almost everyone learns the latter in school, or through independent studies.
mb_b
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:21 pm (UTC)
I love that one! Never saw it before. But at the risk of sounding like a nag: It's not a tongue-twister. A brain-twister, rather. Saying/hearing it presents no difficulty, seeing it on the paper/screen does.

...Just started reading 'Rates of exchange' by Malcolm Bradbury. I think it's right up your alley, Ms. Traveler, even if a bit out of date.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:30 pm (UTC)
The last part is definitely a tongue twister - "through tough thorough thought, though." :)) But not as tricky as this one - "The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick." :)))
moskitow
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:23 pm (UTC)
Ha. Good one. I like it.
I love English - so easy to express yourself. Very direct and simple. I'm into Italian now....don't like all this masculine and feminine thing any more! I love the way it sounds though.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:32 pm (UTC)
I haven't heard Italian spoken much honestly, and have never been to the country. I don't like when men speak effeminate languages, and Slavic languages are very "manly" and harsh. :)) Georgian is not Slavic, but has this same harsh tone, to me at least.
(no subject) - piterburg - Apr. 22nd, 2016 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Leo Y - Apr. 22nd, 2016 01:02 am (UTC) - Expand
morreth
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:29 pm (UTC)
have you already mastered "Dilah mshvidobisa"?
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:33 pm (UTC)
I haven't mastered anything yet. :)) Still trying to get the alphabet down. I'm not a good linguist, never have been.
(no subject) - morreth - Apr. 21st, 2016 05:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - siberian_cat - Apr. 21st, 2016 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:40 pm (UTC)
I think your tweet example is quite characteristic for English (especially regarding the phonetics).
For me one of its main features is the context-dependent interpretation of words, it's also affected by some sort of (cost) efficiency. Or maybe it's just lazy:)
thx.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:58 pm (UTC)
Context-dependent - this is a challenge with all languages. For instance, I never really understood if it's disrespectful to say Привет! rather than Здравствуй! to an older person in Russia, if you don't know them well. The first is so much easier, and I always prefer informal greetings. Even in business relations, I rarely say "hello", I always say "hi."
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Apr. 21st, 2016 01:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Leo Y - Apr. 21st, 2016 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Leo Y - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Leo Y - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Leo Y - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Leo Y - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Leo Y - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
andrey_kaminsky
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:45 pm (UTC)
Вот оно, моё глубокое понимание языков
The best English is German English.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Вот оно, моё глубокое понимание языков
dont mess wis se GERMANS! DANKE!
modest_so_zvezd
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:52 pm (UTC)
its tarrible and no one can understend this!
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:53 pm (UTC)
Most of my readers will understand. :) They have very good English skills.
modest_so_zvezd
Apr. 21st, 2016 12:54 pm (UTC)
Что здесь написано? кто разобрал этот бред
almiconto
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'm on the level where English is like second native to me (I actually now use something like 50% English, 20% Spanish and 30% Russian during the day, and only in case of Spanish I don't think in the language :) ). So this meme is easy )))
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:19 pm (UTC)
Great! So, you think in the language you're currently speaking? I'm always curious about this. Some of my Russian friends say that even when they're speaking to me in English, they are mostly processing thoughts in Russian. And when they're alone, they think only in Russian. :)
(no subject) - mb_b - Apr. 21st, 2016 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - k_netalie - Apr. 21st, 2016 03:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - almiconto - Apr. 21st, 2016 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
golemming
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC)
i got it. Though i always mess up with worlds like that. That and irregular verbs.

English is simple enough, i think. Past few years it's almost easier to read books in english than russian :)

Edited at 2016-04-21 01:35 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:43 pm (UTC)
It's my native language, so I can't properly judge whether it's simple. However, I notice one distinction. Americans aren't so "proud" of their language, or tied to it that they become hysterical if someone mangles it, or speaks in a broken manner. Meanwhile, Russians seem to be perfectionists in this regard, afraid to speak for fear of making a mistake. Or, conversely, shouting at me in other blogs or calling me disrespectful for not writing in Russian, when I know very well that the blogger understands English fine. I want to encourage everyone again to not be scared to speak the language...Americans are more forgiving of mistakes, we are totally accustomed to ESL speakers in our country, and not so hyper-critical of errors.
perycalypsis
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:41 pm (UTC)
Georgian tour guide at the zoo in Tbilisi (speaking Russian):
-gorillas live in families, the head of the family - a male (sametz).
American tourist: a sametz is a man?
- A man has money, and this is a male (sametz)!
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:53 pm (UTC)
One article I read warned about mangling the beautiful Georgian language, and risking offending locals. For example, they said many tourists pronounce the name of the city გორი (Gori), so that it turns out to be the word for "pig". :)) Well, I think locals must be used to it and hopefully forgiving.
(no subject) - aavenger - Apr. 21st, 2016 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 10:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aavenger - Apr. 21st, 2016 10:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aavenger - Apr. 21st, 2016 10:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 11:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
sun_jr
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:58 pm (UTC)

People who claim that Russian language is hard and sophisticated probably don't know English language well. Southern wording (and accent too) always makes me to scratch my head.

peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 01:59 pm (UTC)
I know English very well, and think Russian is complicated. I can barely understand Southerners at times, it's a common problem. :) Btw, both men and women should be prepared to be called "honey" and "sweetie" A LOT if they're visiting the South.

Edited at 2016-04-21 02:01 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - mb_b - Apr. 21st, 2016 02:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sun_jr - Apr. 21st, 2016 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sun_jr - Apr. 21st, 2016 04:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
romanklimenko
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:33 pm (UTC)
I like this one. While it's easy to understand I will still have to test pronunciation on my colleges :)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:39 pm (UTC)
I try to read something complicated each morning as soon as I sit at my desk, to get the mind working. :)
maksipes
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:35 pm (UTC)
o man.. what the hell is that?
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:40 pm (UTC)
I think you must be brilliant enough to understand. :) You write in English very well.
procurator0
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:36 pm (UTC)
Едет грузин в поезде, а по корридору туда-сюда ходит американка в коротеньком халатике. Вот грузин смотрит на неё влюбленными глазами и облизывается. А американка не можетпонять, чего он на неё пялится, вот она его и спрашивает:
- Ду ю спик инглиш?
- Хачу, канешна хачу
peacetraveler22
Apr. 21st, 2016 02:43 pm (UTC)
Something about a scantily clad American woman on a train, Georgian men admiring her...the rest is lost on me, especially the last phrase. Не понимаю. :)
(no subject) - procurator0 - Apr. 21st, 2016 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 21st, 2016 02:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
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