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Author Topic: This is quite amusing..  (Read 8503 times)
ondebanks
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« Reply #60 on: April 21, 2013, 06:05:42 PM »
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How sad, though, to feel obliged to destroy a language in order to mark a feeling of self.

I think that the deliberate marginalisation and destruction of indigenous languages by colonisers (like the English) was a far greater sin than any tweaking of the colonisers' language by the colonised people.

You may be saddened by Webster's reformulation of American-English spelling...I am more saddened that by 1900, almost no-one in Ireland could speak Irish (Gaelic)...the culmination of a process of cultural and economic attrition which began with the Plantations and the Penal Laws imposed from London in the 17th century.

When you think about it - "to destroy a language in order to mark a feeling of self" - was that not exactly what the British authorities were repeatedly doing as well, as they built their "empire on which the sun never sets"? Linguistic hegemony was central to their sense of imperial self-justification. If one could get the wogs, fuzzy-wuzzies, chinks, pakis, abos, micks and coons to speak the King's/Queen's English, instead of their own barbaric tongue, one was just doing them a favour, right?

Not blaming you Rob, or any other present-day British people, for any of this of course...it's ancient history and attitudes are completely different now. It just needs to be remembered.

And now, back to photography!

Ray
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Rob C
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« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2013, 03:38:17 AM »
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I think that the deliberate marginalisation and destruction of indigenous languages by colonisers (like the English) was a far greater sin than any tweaking of the colonisers' language by the colonised people.

You may be saddened by Webster's reformulation of American-English spelling...I am more saddened that by 1900, almost no-one in Ireland could speak Irish (Gaelic)...the culmination of a process of cultural and economic attrition which began with the Plantations and the Penal Laws imposed from London in the 17th century.

When you think about it - "to destroy a language in order to mark a feeling of self" - was that not exactly what the British authorities were repeatedly doing as well, as they built their "empire on which the sun never sets"? Linguistic hegemony was central to their sense of imperial self-justification. If one could get the wogs, fuzzy-wuzzies, chinks, pakis, abos, micks and coons to speak the King's/Queen's English, instead of their own barbaric tongue, one was just doing them a favour, right?

Not blaming you Rob, or any other present-day British people, for any of this of course...it's ancient history and attitudes are completely different now. It just needs to be remembered.

And now, back to photography!

Ray

Ah, empire.

Well, it’s impossible to come to any single conclusion about empire other than to remark that every single one fades away.

But, on the practicalities, if you are going to have one, then a single, common denominator of language is essential if there is to be understanding. It’s worth noting that in India (Pakistan didn’t exist until 1947) the main language that aids higher employment and foreign business is still English; nobody expects the world to become fluent in Tamil, Urdu, Hind, Telegu nor any of the other hundreds of local idioms.

So yes, in a sense, the legacy of English language, not to mention English education and Law has been invaluable to the newly independent countries, providing a base from which they can exist and even, with luck, grow within this brave new world they all have to face. Those that have turned inwards - well, look at what was Rhodesia, N&S, for one.

Gaelic? I have lived in Scotland about half my life, and I never yet ran into anyone speaking that language for real. Some rural ‘tourist’ towns have introduced the double-naming of streets in order to add to the tourist ‘oferta’ as they would say in Spain, but for many/most (I haven’t counted) it is a stupid business that raises local council expense and achieves nothing. Kilts? Are you joking? They are the national joke except at some weddings. There are even local TV stations that employ, were set up to provide, this expensive isolationist doctrine. The same splinter mentality lies behind much of the political problems of Spain. There was a period a year or so ago, here on Mallorca, where non-Catalan speaking doctors from the mainland of Spain were unable to hold employoment unless they were able to abandon the national language of Castilian and actually work using Catalan! Is that madness, or what? If I get another heart attack I hope the medical staff speak medical, not some prescribed version of localised Spanish, especially as they all speak the national tongue anyway.

Some of the Welsh, as with the Irish and Scots have the same problem of seeking an ‘identity’ different or separate from the national; why? None of that serves to do anything but isolate in a world that, in reality, needs closer integration and common understanding not only of language but of hopes and religion if it is to survive.

From where I stand, any language that becomes the only language is no bad thing. Speech is supposed to be about communication: when we can all communicate with one another without confusion, then we will be that tiny step closer to avoiding trouble. Struggle with a foreign language may amuse on holiday, not so when you live there. Then, it’s more about closed doors than loving thy neighbour in a golden glow of imaginary, sunny beach bliss.

But as for destroying a language that is already spoken and perfectly understood, as Mr Webster apparently felt obliged to do, that is another thing altogether and has more to do with ego than rationality.

;-)

Rob C
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MrSmith
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« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2013, 04:22:44 AM »
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"Not blaming you Rob, or any other present-day British people, for any of this of course...it's ancient history and attitudes are completely different now. It just needs to be remembered"

what also needs to be remembered is the Dutch, Belgian, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese (plus others) empire building too, theres no point having a selective memory when looking back at history.
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ondebanks
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« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2013, 05:11:23 AM »
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"Not blaming you Rob, or any other present-day British people, for any of this of course...it's ancient history and attitudes are completely different now. It just needs to be remembered"

what also needs to be remembered is the Dutch, Belgian, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese (plus others) empire building too, theres no point having a selective memory when looking back at history.

Absolutely. I just gave one example - "colonisers (like the English)". And why single them out? - well we had been talking about post-colonial USA, so staying with that example made the most sense.

Ray
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ondebanks
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« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2013, 05:52:22 AM »
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So yes, in a sense, the legacy of English language, not to mention English education and Law has been invaluable to the newly independent countries, providing a base from which they can exist and even, with luck, grow within this brave new world they all have to face. Those that have turned inwards - well, look at what was Rhodesia, N&S, for one.

This troubles me because you are in a sense still applying that retrospective justification of empire - "we left them a legacy - our language and systems - which improved their lives". This overlooks what systems were in place before the empire took over. Irish Brehon Law (look it up) is widely regarded as the most fair and socially progressive legal system to be found anywhere in Europe through the dark ages and the medieval times. Tragically, that went out with the imposition of English legal structures.

Gaelic? I have lived in Scotland about half my life, and I never yet ran into anyone speaking that language for real. Some rural ‘tourist’ towns have introduced the double-naming of streets in order to add to the tourist ‘oferta’ as they would say in Spain, but for many/most (I haven’t counted) it is a stupid business that raises local council expense and achieves nothing. Kilts? Are you joking? They are the national joke except at some weddings. There are even local TV stations that employ, were set up to provide, this expensive isolationist doctrine. The same splinter mentality lies behind much of the political problems of Spain. There was a period a year or so ago, here on Mallorca, where non-Catalan speaking doctors from the mainland of Spain were unable to hold employoment unless they were able to abandon the national language of Castilian and actually work using Catalan! Is that madness, or what? If I get another heart attack I hope the medical staff speak medical, not some prescribed version of localised Spanish, especially as they all speak the national tongue anyway.

I entirely agree with you on the sometimes ludicrous, sometimes prejudicial, and often costly ways that authorities adopt to revive and maintain marginal languages. Well intentioned but ultimately very stupid things have been done in Ireland post-independence, too. My view is that a language is like opera - you cannot make people like it, or use it if they don't want to. Like all cultural appreciations, it has to be voluntarily fostered and spread out of natural enthusiasm, pride and joy. My sense is that the Welsh have done a far better job in this regard that we Irish have.

Some of the Welsh, as with the Irish and Scots have the same problem of seeking an ‘identity’ different or separate from the national; why? None of that serves to do anything but isolate in a world that, in reality, needs closer integration and common understanding not only of language but of hopes and religion if it is to survive.

Hmmm...you realise that you have cogently argued that everyone in the EU, including the UK, should speak German (as the most widely spoken native tongue in Europe) and convert to Catholicism (as the most widely practised religion in Europe)! Why should the English have an ‘identity’ different or separate from the rest?

I bet that proposition would go down a treat in the shires...!

Maybe if you put yourself in the shoes of a minority within a greater system, you will understand why they their distinct ‘identity’ matters to them. The recurrent English political crises about "Europe" illustrate this.

But as for destroying a language that is already spoken and perfectly understood, as Mr Webster apparently felt obliged to do, that is another thing altogether and has more to do with ego than rationality.

Maybe so. I'm not taking sides on Mr. Webster either way.

Ray
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Rob C
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« Reply #65 on: April 22, 2013, 11:02:35 AM »
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Hmmm...you realise that you have cogently argued that everyone in the EU, including the UK, should speak German (as the most widely spoken native tongue in Europe) and convert to Catholicism (as the most widely practised religion in Europe)! Why should the English have an ‘identity’ different or separate from the rest?

Maybe if you put yourself in the shoes of a minority within a greater system, you will understand why they their distinct ‘identity’ matters to them. The recurrent English political crises about "Europe" illustrate this.

Ray


1. German, Italian, English, French... as long as we all eventually understand it, I wouldn’t be concerned very much. Regarding religion, it hardly counts anywhere in Europe these days beyond the symbolic; the RC church makes its biggest strides in South America and wherever poverty exists.

However, part of the problem is that none of the languages native to present Italy, France or Spain were universal in those territories: they were mainly independent, warring states and principalities that came together to form countries through conquest, and a dominant language thus established. Granted many shared versions of the ‘romance’ tongue, but a lot of those dialects were/are totally indescipherable to folks outwith the region. Perhaps no more than twenty-five years ago, the local Mallorquin dialect of Catalan, as spoken in Pollensa, was somewhat different to that in Sa Pobla, a little town but about eight klicks away; that little town now is under siege with north Africans and I bet that in another twenty-five years, the proportionate use of Spanish will be greatly diminished.

2. But I am in a minority. As a British national in Mallorca that’s my position. I do not seek out other Brits as a matter of course because, frankly, we have little in common worth sharing: I can’t drink anymore, I gave up smoking in ’66 and, being a photographer my sense of values is light years removed from that of most of them.

The latter point already served as a wedge, a spacer between myself and a lot of neighbours even back in the days when I lived in Scotland. My work, travels and ambitions were alien to pretty much all of them; my wife was subjected to the boring repeat question of how she felt with her husband working alongside young, pretty women whenever he worked, and photo trips abroad were always going to be the prelude to a divorce. It never happened; we loved each other but that didn’t seem to count. She would turn the question round, and ask whether the ladies posing it were worried about their husband’s secretary with whom he shared all of every working day... I suspect that’s the lot of many of us who ‘dare to be different’ for whatever reason: we never really fit too well into the general scheme of things.

Whew! I managed to return this to photography!

;-)

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 11:05:49 AM by Rob C » Logged

JoeKitchen
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« Reply #66 on: April 22, 2013, 11:45:51 AM »
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I am for English becoming the common language.  First, it sounds much nicer than most languages; maybe French has us, but compared to Italian, German, Dutch (God help us if Dutch ever became the language of choice), etc.  And this is not just my opinion, but that of many second English language speakers.  Second, aside from being tied with Russian, English has almost three times as many words as any other language.  There is much more depth in English (and Russian, however if you feel Russian should be the language of choice, refer back to my first point). 

 Cheesy
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #67 on: April 22, 2013, 12:04:29 PM »
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This has to be the record for the most off topic I have seen a thread go.  Time to move it over the coffee corner maybe?
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Rob C
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« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2013, 12:31:24 PM »
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This has to be the record for the most off topic I have seen a thread go.  Time to move it over the coffee corner maybe?


Might that not suggest it has a Turkish element yet untapped?

;-)

Rob C
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2013, 12:39:06 PM »
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This has to be the record for the most off topic I have seen a thread go.  Time to move it over the coffee corner maybe?

Can you really consider it off topic when it started so far outside of the realm of useful discussion?

If anything a discussion of linguistic anthropology is more relevant to photographers producing photography than the nonsense the thread was started to discuss.

My opinion: a language belongs to those who use it the most and do the most with it. Can Portugal really be considered the center of gravity in the Portugese universe when there are more Portugese speakers of and greater commerce transacted in Portugese in the country of Brazil than in Portugal?
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #70 on: April 23, 2013, 12:25:00 AM »
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Can you really consider it off topic when it started so far outside of the realm of useful discussion?

point taken ...
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Rob C
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« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2013, 02:36:35 AM »
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Can you really consider it off topic when it started so far outside of the realm of useful discussion?

If anything a discussion of linguistic anthropology is more relevant to photographers producing photography than the nonsense the thread was started to discuss.

My opinion: a language belongs to those who use it the most and do the most with it. Can Portugal really be considered the center of gravity in the Portugese universe when there are more Portugese speakers of and greater commerce transacted in Portugese in the country of Brazil than in Portugal?




God help the HQ of any multi-national corporation, then.

;-)

Rob C
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FredBGG
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« Reply #72 on: April 23, 2013, 04:18:49 AM »
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I am for English becoming the common language.  First, it sounds much nicer than most languages; maybe French has us, but compared to Italian, German, Dutch (God help us if Dutch ever became the language of choice), etc.  And this is not just my opinion, but that of many second English language speakers.  Second, aside from being tied with Russian, English has almost three times as many words as any other language.  There is much more depth in English (and Russian, however if you feel Russian should be the language of choice, refer back to my first point).  

 Cheesy

English sounds nicer than other languages?

Hmmm My native language is English but I am fluent in Italian, French and Spanish.

Have you heard President Bush or his lap dog Anthony Blair.

Personally I find Italian, (it's amny colorful dialects), French and Spanish to be far more interesting colorful and remarkably beautiful.

I also find that they have words that are sipmply non existant in English.

Find me an English work for diripmetaio. The word for a neighbor that lives across the street, but right infront of your house.

English does have many words, but many are just another more or less snobbish ways of saying the same thing as a more commonly used word.
It's not like the English language can express notions that other languages cannot.

Italian dialects are simply facinating with very different ways of saying things in relation to their local culture and history.

I owned a country house in a town where a knife was described as a sgullotta and across the river it was described as a cultiello.
A chair, segiolla and cadregha.

Then the really funny thing is spelling. Spelling in English and American English is to say the least disgusting. Only in America do they make a big deal about the Spelling Bee. A dumb ass competition to see who can remember all the stupid irregular ways English words are spelled becasue some have drunk dimwhiited aristoctrat spelled it that way first.

An interesting thing is I have no problem at all translating things from English into Italian, however so many times there just isn't a way to say certain things that are sai in Spannish of Italian in English.

I think that the rather presuptuous assumption that English is the uber language leads to so many problems fro a political and cultural standpoint.

Another huge difference I have found is how language is used.

For example in Italy a greeting is only a question if time is going to be given for a response.
Other wise it's a friendly Ciao.

None of this walking right past you and blurting out how r you doin' ? ... and be gone before you can reply.

It also seems that despite the alleged abundance of English works it seems that 16 year old american girls
have to use the work 'like' , 'amazing' and 'awsome' like they were on sale at walmart. Wink

And then there's one of my pet peeves. Using completely worng words because it makes you cool or apear to be and expert.

Like glass instead of lens when taking about photographic lenses.

Anyway time to brush up on that Spanish as it my soon be the main language here in the USA.

A language really shows it's beauty in how it is and can be used.

The final movement of Pergolesi's Sabat Mater for example shows how emotional Latin Mediterranean languages can be in a way that a cold language like English just can't.

http://youtu.be/mNt13Vw-K6Q This is the first movement.

  
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 11:19:31 AM by FredBGG » Logged
ondebanks
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« Reply #73 on: April 23, 2013, 04:43:56 AM »
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Of the languages I am familiar with, I think that Italian is easily the nicest on the ear. I travel to the Bologna region annually so I speak a little Italian. I admire the precision of the diction, the efficiency of the spelling (not a syllable nor a letter is wasted), the consistency of the grammar (virtually no 'exceptions' to the rules, whereas English is riddled with them), and the musicality of the expression.

Ray
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« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2013, 07:01:37 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Gaelic? I have lived in Scotland about half my life, and I never yet ran into anyone speaking that language for real.

Then you need to explore the country more, for Gaelic is spoken as a first language in parts of it.

Quote from: Rob C
Kilts? Are you joking? They are the national joke except at some weddings.

You are entitled to your opinion. However, a multitude of people from around the world would disagree strongly with it, of which I am one.

The kilt enjoys extrordinary popularity around the world. It is instantly recognisable as a symbol for Scotland and I highly doubt that the majority of those who see it consider it a "national joke".

The kilt is considered by many to be the smartest form of formal dress there is. Some people not born or domiciled in Scotland consider its appearance so highly that they elect to wear it at their wedding, an odd compliment to pay for a "national joke".

Quote from: Rob C
Some of the Welsh, as with the Irish and Scots have the same problem of seeking an ‘identity’ different or separate from the national; why? None of that serves to do anything but isolate in a world that, in reality, needs closer integration and common understanding not only of language but of hopes and religion if it is to survive.

Which "national" identity do you refer to?
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« Reply #75 on: April 23, 2013, 07:18:27 AM »
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From where I stand, any language that becomes the only language is no bad thing. Speech is supposed to be about communication: when we can all communicate with one another without confusion, then we will be that tiny step closer to avoiding trouble.


Language is how we see, describe and make sense of the world. Each time a language dies, a unique worldview dies with it.
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Rob C
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« Reply #76 on: April 23, 2013, 08:31:58 AM »
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Language is how we see, describe and make sense of the world. Each time a language dies, a unique worldview dies with it.


Really? The same view can be expressed in any language. Because some phrases are impossible to word in exactly and literally the same manner in alternative languages does not imply that the sense is not communicated perfectly accurately. Esperanto was a good shot at it, at least for the Latin-based language groups. Could have made a promising start...

Rob C
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MrSmith
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« Reply #77 on: April 23, 2013, 09:56:33 AM »
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"Like glass instead of lens when taking about photographic lenses"

So it's not just me then. I can't stand the use of this word it's an Americanism that seems to have spread with the Internet. It's nearly as annoying as bokeh.
Thankfully nobody has tried to use it in shops/rental or an assistant here in the U.K. Yet....
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Martin Ranger
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« Reply #78 on: April 23, 2013, 11:07:42 AM »
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Really? The same view can be expressed in any language.

I am not so sure about this. Having spent almost half my life in Germany and the other half in the US, I find there are phrases that are virtually impossible to translate accurately. Sure, you can communicate the same general idea in both languages, but you will be missing a nuance or detail that is in my opinion impossible to convey in the "wrong" language, in some instances because no perfect equivalent exists in others because of common cultural connotations which are hard or impossible to translate. And German and English are two closely related languages belonging to people with very similar cultures, so I would imagine it to be even more of a problem with languages and cultures that are less related.
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jsch
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« Reply #79 on: April 23, 2013, 04:02:13 PM »
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Hi Everyone,

what can I do to drive this discussion more off-topic than it already is? Perhaps I can start with a quote from one of my favorite films of all times:

Michele Monet: "Do you speak french?"
Hrundi V. Bakshi: "Enough to bring myself into trouble."

Or a small story: A few years ago I was invited to give a talk about photography at a canadian university. I was asked beforehand what I would need to give the talk. I replied, I only need a beamer because I will bring my laptop. – Silence on the other side of the phone line. Then the reply in a strange tone. I can get you a Volkswagen from a friend, but not a beamer. I replied, I don't need a car, just a beamer. After some back an forth it turned out:
We in germany like to create our own english sounding vocabulary, we call a video projector a "beamer". And some canadians call their BMW cars "beamer" (same word different meaning). So the canadian guy thought this crazy german wants a BMW to drive to the university.
 
Is this already off topic enough?

Language is not made that we understand each other, it is only there to fill the silence.

You all know "The Situation Is Hopeless, But Not Serious: The Pursuit of Unhappiness", 1983, by Paul Watzlawick. Don't you?

Best ;-)

Johannes
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