Spesso si dice che la lingua inglese è una lingua facile da apprendere, semplice sia per la grammatica che per la sintassi. E ciò, ovviamente, non è vero. Ma quasi tutti concordano sul fatto che l'inglese ha una pronuncia difficile, se non impossibile. Pronuncia e scrittura sono indissolubilmente legate a causa delle tantissime influenze esterne a cui questa lingua è stata sottoposta. Notevole quella del francese, ma anche delle lingue classiche, come il latino ed il greco, ed anche l'arabo. Senza dire poi delle tantissime parole importate da tutte le altre lingue del pianeta nel corso dei secoli. Per questa ragione l'inglese diventa anche la lingua con il più vasto lessico al mondo. Ecco un documento in versi, una poesia insomma, che dimostra quanto sia idiosincratica la pronuncia di questa lingua straordinaria:
We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of mouse should never be meese,
You may find a lone mouse or a whole nest of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But a bow if repeated is never called bine,
And the plural of vow is vows, never vine.
If I speak of a foot and you show me your feet,
And I give you a boot would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?
If the singular’s this and the plural is these,
Should the plural of kiss ever be nicknamed keese?
Then one may be that and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren,
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis and shim,
So the English, I think, you all will agree,
Is the queerest language you ever did see.
Cominciamo con box che al plurale fa boxes,
ma il plurale di ox è oxen non oxes.
Poi un volatile è goose, ma al plurale è geese,
perciò mouse dovrebbe fare al plurale meese
e invece fa mice, eppure il plurale di house è houses non mice, e house fa houses non hice.
Se man al plurale fa men, perchè il plurale di pan
non dovrebbe essere pen? La mucca cow fa cows o kine, ma bow non è mai bine e vow è sempre vows mai vine. Se parlo del piede e voi mi indicate i vostri feet, perché il plurale di booth non dovrebbe essere beeth? Il plurale di kiss non dovrebbe essere keese? invece è kisses. E poi that e three diventano those, eppure hat al plurale non è mai hose, e il plurale di cat è cats, non cose. Chiamiamo brothers ma anche brethern, ma mother non diventa mai methern. I pronomi maschili singolari sono he, his, him,
ma il femminile she non è mai shis o shim.
Perciò l'Inglese, ne converrete, è la lingua più strana che esiste.
he, his, him
Here are some signs resulting from bad knowledge of English (Taken from "Anguished English" by Rechard Lederer. Used without permission):
In a Tokyo Hotel: Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.
In another Japanese hotel room: Please to bathe inside the tub.
In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.
In a Leipzig elevator: Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.
In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going
alphabetically by national order.
In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.
In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.
In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastary: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian
and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.
In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.
Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.
Outside a Paris dress shop: Dresses for street walking.
In a Rhodes tailor shop: Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.
Similarly, from the Soviet Weekly: There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Aets by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.
In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.
In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.
A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are
married with each other for that purpose.
In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
A translated sentence from a Russian chess book: A lot of water has been passed under the bridge since this variation has been played.
In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.
In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: Take one of our horse-driven city tours -- we guarantee no miscarriages.
Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?
On the faucet in a Finnish washroom: To stop the drip, turn cock to right.
In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.
On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong: Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.
Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan: Stop: Drive Sideways.
In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today -- no ice cream.
In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.
In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.
In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women and other diseases.
In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.
In a Tokyo shop: Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.
From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner: Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.
From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with
In a French chalet: In case of fire, please ejaculate the premises.
Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
- English well talking.
- Here speeching American.
On a set of assembly instructions: "You must be screwing with screwing driver. Fingers screwing not good enough."
Some examples of equally awkward English from right here in ths US...
In a New Hampshire jewelry store: Ears pierced while you wait.
In a New York Restaurant: Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.
In LA dance hall: good clean dancing every night but sunday.
In Florida maternity ward: No children allowed.
In the offices of a loan company: Ask about our plans for owing your home.
In a toy department: Five Santa Clauses,no waiting.
In a Maine shop: our motto is to give our customers the lowest possible prices and workmanship.
On military bases: restricted to unauthorized personal.
On a display of 'You are my one --- now available in multi pack and only' valentine cards.
In downtown Boston: Callahan tunnel /No end.
In a window of a general store: Why go elsewhere and be cheated if you can come right here ??
In a Maine restaurant: Open 7 days a week and weekends.
In a New Jersey Restaurant: Open 11 AM to 11 PM Midnight.
In a Pennsylvania cemetery: Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves....
On the grounds of a private school: No tresspassing without permission.
In a library: Blotter paper will no longer be available until the public stops taking it away.
On a Tennessee Highway: Take notice, when this sign is under water, this road is impassable.
On a movie marquee: Now playing ADAM AND EVE with a cast of thousands.....Continua