Transworld Engrish

Posted by Ryan on August 10, 2010 in Transworld |

Engrish is “unusual English originating in East Asian countries. The term itself arises from the ethnic stereotype that Japanese people often confuse the English phonemes “r” and “l”, since the Japanese language has one alveolar consonant in place of both.” (from Wikipedia).

Engrish basically refers to any badly worded, ungrammatical, misspelled English found in Asian countries, including Taiwan. Transworld has a lot of Engrish on campus. I’m not sure why. There is an entire Department of Applied Foreign Languages with lots of English teachers and students. Certainly, some of them could proofread signs and books and so on before this stuff is published, right?

Alas, no one asks me to proofread stuff. Even when they do, they still somehow manage to screw it up and ignore my advice. So, I’m going to start posting all the Engrish I find around the Transworld campus. Perhaps this will start embarrassing them enough to do something about it.

My first Engrish entry comes from my very own department. Last summer, our Dean, Mrs. Shen, pretty much took over our entire department in a not-unführer-like drive to prepare us for the November evaluation. Obviously, we couldn’t do it ourselves and required a Dean to run the department. All that aside, she brought several of her assistants to “prettify” our department. By far, the majority of this output was Engrish. Horrible, horrible Engrish. Even after Ben and I had looked at it and made corrections, it still came back Engrish. I’m not sure how that happens, but it does.

Just imagine: You are working in a Department of Applied Foreign Languages that specializes in English as a Second Language. There are two American teachers down the hall and several other Taiwanese teachers fluent in English. You need to make a few sentences. Do you:

  1. Ask the Americans for help
  2. Ask any other teachers for help
  3. Consult a dictionary or online reference
  4. Do none of the above

Right. You do #4 – none of the above. Your posts and signs, therefore, come out looking like this:

Hoffice Hours instead of Office Hours. School Important Information instead of Important School Information. These are barely errors. Easily correctable with a glance at any Basic English textbook.

They did get fixed eventually, after someone noticed the error, but my point remains: they shouldn’t have been made in the first place. If they were made, they should have been checked. These should never have been printed and cost the department money.

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