Showing posts tagged English


Like many of Woody Allen’s films, Midnight in Paris ends with a moral, this time vaguely self-deprecating, with an anti-nostalgia kick: Everyone wishes that he or she lived in another era, even people in that other era. It hurts because we know from Allen’s frames of reference that he’s often lost in pipe dreams of the past. But it’s possible there’s another kind of nostalgia at work in Midnight in Paris: not just longing for the Parisian twenties but for the days in which Allen regularly turned out freewheeling, pitch-perfect parodies like this. The movie is so good it’s takes you back to those days, which were the days, my friend.

— David Edelstein, New York Magazine (x)

Some English classes at school saw this movie in class and based projects off of it. I should watch it tonight. 
That or Invader Zim. I’m either extremely nostalgic or extremely sappy. 

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Posted at 8:44pm
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Tagged Midnight in Paris English Literature Back in Time Movie



What does English sound like to foreign ears?

We’ve all heard examples of fake Chinese or German from speakers who lack familiarity with either language. While typically cringe-worthy, these examples do raise interesting questions regarding our own language. What does English sound like to non-English speakers? After more than 40 years, Adriano Celentano’s “Prisencolinensinainciusol” remains one of the most illuminating examples.

The entire song is nonsense verse, neither English nor Italian, but the sounds are meant to resemble English. Linguist Mark Liberman wrote an interesting post about this sort of thing over at Language Log discussing yaourter, the French word for an attempt to speak or sing in a foreign language that one doesn’t know all that well. This often involves trying to sing a foreign song with nonsense or random words filling in the blanks. Liberman shares this wonderful quote from a random Internet user:

Just for the story, in France, when we don’t speak English and we want to imitate the sound, we call it “yaourter”(to yoghourt), the imitation sounds like a very nasal language, kind of like a baby crying. It mostly imitates the “cowboy” accent.

I swear to god this song is going to give me nightmares. I’m not entirely sure why, but it FREAKS ME THE EFF OUT.

This is funny.


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Posted at 3:11pm
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