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Tuesday, February 1

Pon Erp

I love this hotel. There's a complimentary cellphone in the room.
You only pay to make calls, receiving them is free. Like the broadband access. And one shirt cleaned and pressed free per day. And the Gym. And the Sauna. And the Bar before 8pm. Yes, phr33 b33r, d00ds.
Anyhow, I stuff the thing in my pocket and grab the (free) taxi to the office, take the express elevator to the Executive Penthouse Floor and I've got the phone out when I walk into the conference room, ready to announce to my colleagues that I'm now connected all the time.
One of them stands up and takes the phone, and switches it on, and while this little elf starts dancing the boot-up boogie on the screen, looks at me and says :
"Lentil porn?"
I gape.
"I think so, yes?", he insists, as he waves the phone under my nose.
The elf is into it's third costume change (something with wings this time) on the screen, and I'm at a loss for words. This is going to be another long day, I can tell. Even when they speak english I'm at sea.
After many repeats and some careful listening to individual syllables in his speech, I generate an hypothesis. He's switching R for L, B for V, and most importantly, P for F. It's not systematic, but 'lentil porn' means 'rental phone'. Not that I'd ever point out what I thought I'd heard. Once you've told the Sega story, you need to ease off on the sexual innuendo for a while.
Both proud of this mutual victory over a deep chasm of incommunicability, we headed off to the tea machine, me babbling about the French and 'TH' sounds, and him laughing even tho I'm fairly sure he had no clue what I'm saying, but perhaps he didn't want to ruin the magic of the moment.
Baby steps, I always say, because you never know, the Pon Erp could get you.

6 Insights :

Blogger wendy intuited...

LOL

That's exactly how my art appreciation class went. She's say one thing, we'd hear something totally different. She's then spell it out and it would all make sense. She said there were some sounds in English that were not in Korean so she did not know how to form them.

2/01/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger JodiGalore! intuited...

I think 'lentil porn' is way more interesting than your phone. But that is just my opinion... LOL

2/01/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Alekx intuited...

Lentil porn sounds kinky and I want to try it
whooo hooooo
boy do you have some memories storing up.

2/01/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

Oh, Jodi, my phone is totally uninteresting, even with an elf in it...

L&R I'd heard before, in Japanese, for example, and V&B in Spanish, but P&F was a shock (obviously).

I remember a chinese colleague of my father's, who'd come home with him one evening to have dinner with the family. He spoke english, but he was missing vowels, too. Some really weird combinations, if I remember correctly, like G,V,B were the same to him. He litteraly couldn't hear the difference. Of course, his language being tonal, he had no difficulty trotting out words we heard as homonymous that were not.

Thai is the same as mandarin in this regard (being tonal), and in the family archives, there's a hilarious video tidbit of Mom trying to pronounce the five words that sound like 'pa', under the tutelage of Greg's BF.

Five minutes of Mom saying 'Pa' in all possible intonations... pure goodness.

2/02/2005 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger james intuited...

Kinda like, "Flied Lice." Instead of "Fried Rice."
Have you seen the movie, "Lost in Translation??" It is brilliant. Take care mon ami.

2/02/2005 02:45:00 AM  
Blogger ViVi intuited...

Gah, I had sausage and lentils for lunch, so I don't really want to go there right now. :P

I'm loving your posts from Korea, it's almost like I'm there with you! ^_^

2/02/2005 07:09:00 PM  

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