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This is a question Stupid Tourists

What's the stupidest thing you've ever heard a tourist say? Ever heard an American talking about visiting "Scotchland, England", or (and this one is actually real) a Japanese couple talking about the correct way to say Clapham is actually Clatham, as "ph" sounds are pronounced "th". Which has a certain logic really. UPDATE: Please, no more Loogabarooga stories. It's getting like, "and I opened my eyes and my mum had left me a cup of tea!"

(, Thu 7 Jul 2005, 16:31)
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Pedantry and putonghua
Beast with big balls: 'See I told you honey, the White House is older'. The current Houses of Parliament was built in 1834, and most of the House of Commons is only 55 years old, since it was bombed in 1941 and rebulit in 1950. The White House was rebuilt in 1814 after we, and the Canadians, burnt the original to the ground. So the White House is actually 20 years older.

OK, pedantry done, here's a stupid tourist story. The tourist in question is, erm, me. I currently live in China and, as has been mentioned before, Mandarin (putonghua) is a bit of an arse. The main problem is the intonation. There's 4 main tones, falling tone (imagine saying "hmm" like you agree with something), rising tone (imagine saying "hmm" like you're answering someone calling your name), fall-rise tone (imagine saying "hmm" like you're doubtful about something) and high tone (imagine Joe Pasquale saying "hmm"). Basically, use the wrong tone and you have a completely different word. And, since Mandarin is ebil, all common words have incredibly rude equivalents with different tones.

So, flash to me taking a quick trip to Beijing. I need a pen to take down details of my flight. I ask a woman working in an ice cream stall nearby if she has a pen. Now, what I should say is "yo meiyo bi?" with bi as a fall-rise tone. What I actually say is "yo meiyo bi?" with bi as a rising tone. Which means "Do you have a cunt?" (no, it doesn't translate as anything more polite). I didn't notice her slightly shocked expression but, fair play to the girl, she hands me a pen. A remarkably large pen. One of the largest I've ever seen.

Yes, folks, the next sentence out of my mouth was "nide bi tai da la!". So "your pen is very big!" became "your cunt is too big!".

I'm assuming it wasn't considered a compliment because she didn't look best pleased.
(, Sat 9 Jul 2005, 15:38, closed)

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