the pen is on the table love

the pen is on the table


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  • English speakers that come to Italy may hear this sentence when they ask for information or talk to Italians. For mysterious reasons, this is the Italian code for "I haven't spoken English since junior high school".

    June 12, 2009

  • The phrase I'm familiar with is: My tailor is rich

    June 12, 2009

  • I have phrases like this for several languages. One is (forgive my awful spelling) Ta ean ear an gloch. Another is Deux etudients vent en France. Il sont avec en gruppe. Or, the conversation-spawning Ja, wij heb' geen bananen, wij heb' geen bananen vandaag!

    I remember a bit more German so it would have to be something dull like "Ja, aber nur ein bisschen."

    On the other hand, I remember about three words of Russian, and only how to pronounce them, as I never did get the alphabet into my head. One of them is "professor." The others, I believe, are "Da" and "Nyet." Oh, I guess there's "Pravda."

    June 12, 2009

  • Vodka.

    June 12, 2009

  • I think an Indonesian equivalent would be "I am good morning", which I have certainly heard several times. It's a joke about the English gerund, which Indonesians find terribly difficult as their language has no continuous aspect, and at the same time echoes the kind of phrase upon which beginners typically cut their teeth.

    June 12, 2009

  • Sedang would seem the obvious equivalent.

    June 12, 2009

  • My first Russian sentence, from dialog on a "Learn Russian" LP, which we were supposed to memorize even before we had any idea what we were saying, was:

    Вот �? и приехал в Мо�?кву. Я думаю, что зде�?ь мне понравит�?�?.

    Vot ya i priyekhal v Moskvu. Ya dumayu, chto zdes' mne ponravitsya.

    Well, here I am having just arrived in Moscow. I think I will like it here.

    This line has stuck in my head for close to forty years. Why, oh why, couldn't they have used Pushkin or Akhmatova?

    June 12, 2009

  • When I was first learning Spanish, my Mom asked me to speak it to a fluent neighbor, and the only thing I could think of was "levanta los manos", which he (jokingly) took to mean I was attempting to rob him.

    June 14, 2009

  • It has its uses, qroqqa. But if you ask an Indonesian a question like 'Lagi apa sekarang?' What are you doing now? the answer will typically be without sedang, eg. '(Saya) makan' I eat.

    June 14, 2009

  • Presumably Saya sedang makan when they answer the phone in an annoyed voice. It is unusual that what's conventionally called the 'present tense' in English usually isn't, whereas the 'be . . . ing' construction is more central and unmarked than en train de or (I presume) sedang.

    June 14, 2009