Linguistic Variations

prefrontal LobotomyLobo is perennially popular in Vietnam, and there are many locally bottled versions of his songs. In the one that goes "Baby, I'd love you to love me" (I can't remember the name), the original line is "I see the warmth in your blue eyes." This version was a bilingual Vietnamese-English thing, so the singer understandably adapted it by changing "blue" to "brown." But Vietnamese commonly elide the final "-s" in English plurals; the result was somewhat more intimate: "I see the warmth in your brown-eye."
Nuthin' says lovin' like somethin' from the Centurion catalogue.Some enhanced English from a lyric seen onscreen at a karaoke parlor in Banjarmasin, East Kalimantan (from the song "That's What Friends Are For"):

"I have the chains to say I love you."

I found this saying in a book called Instant Vietnamese for Foreigners: "Day di ven xong." It was translated as "Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs." Naturally intrigued, I followed it up and discovered the literal meaning was more like "teaching a prostitute to take off her clothes."
Saigon traffic police? Heck, I love these guys, honest.Excerpts from a small phrase book called Tai Lieu Tham Khao Tieng Anh ("English Reference Document"), given to traffic police in Saigon to help them deal with foreigners (with my comments added):

"Your speed was over 50 miles an hour." (This would be fine, except that "50 miles an hour" is a translation of "50/k 1 gio" in Vietnamese, or "50 kilometers an hour"... a little over 30 mph. It would make for some interesting discussions.)

"Red Light; Blue Light, Yellow Light" (The Vietnamese word for blue and green, xanh, is the same. A modifier is added if further clarification is needed.)

"You did not blow your horn." (You violated the number one rule of driving in Saigon!)

"You had better go home by bus, by taxi, by car." (Just as long as you don't try driving home.)

"Don't talk so much."

"You made a mistake, when you were driving on the street." (That's for sure! The question is, would he mean you should have never considered driving in the first place, or you should have been driving on the sidewalk?)

A flier for a bar opening here referred to Saigon as "The Pear of the Fax East." Okay, so they were probably trying to say "The Pearl of the Far East," but I'd like to think we were seeing a new variation on the Big Apple for the Age Of Communication.
Blurb on the box of the Black & Decker Handy Juicer that we got our elderly landlady for Xmas:

"Automatic, self-reversing reamer action provides enhanced juice extraction."

There's a well-known business here called "DUNG ORGAN." (NOTE: The word Dung is a common name, and pronounced something like "yoomng" or "zoomng," but definitely not "dung.")
The (pronounced "tay") and Hung (pronounced something like "homng") are two common men's names, and often found in combination. But when you get a card from a guy with it written out without diacritical marks, it gives you pause: "Nguyen The Hung." He can take his place along side Charles the Bald and Ming the Merciless.

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