The good, the bad and the "huh"?

Apr 6th, 2001, 12:43 PM
  #1  
elvira
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The good, the bad and the "huh"?

1) Is the phrase "Chinese whispers" a British expression, or have a missed something all these years?
2) The Weakest Link premieres 4/16; I am waiting with bated breath.
3) A TV commercial brought this to mind when the phrase 'plain English' was used. I got to thinking about 'body English' and 'put some English on it' and wondered if other languages have similar referrals.
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 12:50 PM
  #2  
Rex
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"Pardon my French".

"It's Greek to me".

 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:15 PM
  #3  
Ann
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sounds like double Dutch
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:19 PM
  #4  
Meg
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How about the Aussies? They have so truly choice expressions. Not necessarily about Australia though.

How about talking to someone like a "dutch uncle"
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:20 PM
  #5  
Anon
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"A Dutch Uncle"
He Welshed (SP?) on a bet
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:21 PM
  #6  
Anon
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...got your Irish up.
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:25 PM
  #7  
elvira
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I wasn't thinking so much how English uses other languages in our phrases, but how other languages use their OWN or other languages within *theirs*.
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:31 PM
  #8  
Austin
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Don't be so Russian about it
(don't be so serious--lighten up)

AH
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:39 PM
  #9  
Rex
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Ahhh - - now I get the game. I think I might know another one or two, if I rack my brain, but right off the top of my head (and not strictly referring to the Russian LANGUAGE)

"montagnes russes" (literally: Russian mountains) - - French for roller coasters.
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:41 PM
  #10  
Meg
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Elvira, I can't tell you but I'd be curious to know too.

Anon, speaking to someone like a dutch uncle means telling them the cold, hard truth. For example an older person telling someone younger exactly how life is.

I've never heard the expression "Chinese whispers". Can you explain it?
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:55 PM
  #11  
Rex
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Okay, I got out one of the books I got for Christmas - - "Les Bons Mots: How to Amaze <tout le monde> with Everyday French" and found the following five examples (and please don't take offense at any of these - - I'm just the messenger)

anglaiser quelqu'un - - to fleece someone (literally: to "English" someone)

parler franšais comme un vache espagnole - - to murder the French language (to speak French like a Spanish cow)

point d'argent, point de Suisse - - literally "no money, no Swiss (soldiers)" - - areference to the fact that for centuries, members of the Swiss army were essentially hired mercenaries who would work for the highest bidder

tout ša, c'est du chinois pour moi

and

pour moi c'est de l'hebreu

both of these are used with the same meaning as "It's Greek to me", i.e., incomprehensible. In case it's not obvious, chinois = Chinese and hebreu = Hebrew.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:58 PM
  #12  
Patrick
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He's got his Irish up!
and how about "Let's talk Turkey"?
and for a real stretch,"lots of spit and Polish".
Sorry, I couldn't resist that last one.
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 02:01 PM
  #13  
elizabeth
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Here's something I've always wondered - what do the French call a "French Kiss"?
 
Apr 6th, 2001, 03:00 PM
  #14  
ronZ
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Elvira

Chinese Whispers is used in the UK to describe a situation where confidential information has been passed to another for inappropriate gain. For example, a large organisation such as Royal Bank of Scotland Group has a number of subsidiary companies including Charterhouse Stockbrokers and National Westminster Bank. Each of the subsidiaries is run as a separate company within the group and bound by its own confidentiality rules. A member of staff in National Westminster Bank passes highly confidential information (e.g. inside knowledge that a Nat West customer intends buying Company XXY) to a friend at Charterhouse Stockbrokers and that person uses the information to buy shares in Company XXY at a low price prior to the public announcement and subsequent rise in value. The profit is inappropriate, illegal and obtained using Chinese Whispers.

The Weakest Link? This show is going to upset a lot of people when it crosses the pond.
 
Apr 7th, 2001, 12:22 AM
  #15  
sylvia
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The original Chinese whispers is a children's game. You form a circle and one child begins by whispering a sentence to his/her neighbour. The sentence is passed on by whispers until it reaches the original whisperer. There's always great hilarity because the final whisper usually has no resemblance at all to the original.
 
Apr 7th, 2001, 12:44 AM
  #16  
Sheila
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RonZ is mixing Chinese whispers up with Chinese walls. Chinese walls are when there the rules inplace to stop one person/subsidiary within an organisation from knowing what others are doing- and the stock market is the originator.

However, Sylvia's definition is the right one. The most famous verion is the First World war general who got the message "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance" instead of "send reinforcements, we're going to advance"

I'm just off, scot free, into the Scotch Mist, to scotch the rumour that we're mean!!
 
Apr 7th, 2001, 08:13 AM
  #17  
codfish
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Elvira,how about the Spanish calling syphilis the French disease and the French call it the Spanish disease.......
 
Apr 7th, 2001, 09:30 AM
  #18  
jahoulih
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A "French letter" is "une capote anglaise." And "to take French leave" is "filer Ó l'anglaise."
 
Apr 7th, 2001, 11:09 AM
  #19  
s.fowler
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Well in Greece the ceramic "two-tread" toilet is called a "turkish toilet" -- guess what it's called in Turkey??

And in parts of the Balkans the post-prandial nap is referred to as "turska gymnastica."
 
Apr 7th, 2001, 11:21 AM
  #20  
codfish
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Now we are on a roll,in Polish someone who is full of affectation is called a little French dog!
 

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