29 May 2005
'Yes' and 'Mister' Are the Hardest Words of All
“When 'Johnny Foreigner' tries to speak English on the box”

Isn’t it funny how, no matter how fluently a 'foreigner' in a TV drama or a film speaks English, they never seem to master the words for "Yes" and "No" or "Mister" "Miss" and "Missus"?

"Mais oui, Monsieur. The murderer was obviously expecting us to be taken in by the deceptive simplicity of his diabolically executed scheme" [Hercules Poirot].

"Sí Señor. I will tell the Señora that you wish to discuss the matter further at a mutually convenient time" [Any stereotyped sweaty, greasy, hand-wringing 'Spic' hotel manager in a Film Noir].

"Jawohl Herr British Schweinhund. You underestimate the might of the German military industrial complex and our Führer’s determination to pursue the war to its inevitable conclusion, at whatever ze cost!" [Emotionless Nazi robot in a hundred war films].

And of course lets not forget all those 'Red Indians' in a similar number of westerns who, in spite of their mastery of the 'Paleface' language, can never quite seem to get to grips with the indefinite or definite articles or with pronouns.

"Me think White Man’s policy vis-a-vis relentless enlargement of United States territory, ignoring as does rights and aspirations of native indigenous peoples doomed to provoke disillusionment and resentment amongst aforementioned tribes…​ er…​ and have forked tongue" [Big Chief Crazy Trousers].

Ach sure! -As an Irishman, I’m doubtless similarly linguistically handicapped myself, Begorrah!


TAGS: tvcinemaforeignerslanguagetelevisiontellyesl


AUTHOR: stíobhart matulevicz

LAST MODIFIED: 27 Apr 2020  — REASON: "minor tweaks and adjustments"

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