I have a bookmarks folder labeled “Interesting Stuff.” This is sort of my catchall for things I want to remember, but that don’t necessarily fit neatly into one of my (many) other folders. Several of the links saved here are language-related articles, and many times I will use them as the inspiration for a blog post.
Today’s post is brought to you by the “Interesting Stuff” folder.
Earlier this week, NBC news posted this story: Lost in translation: Coke apologizes for offensive bottlecap.
Basically, Coke decided to run a promotion that involved printing phrases that combined English and French words on their bottlecaps, for all their bilingual consumers in parts of Canada. Very inclusive and multilingual! However, what someone didn’t realize is that the word for “late” in French is retard…so one bottlecap had the unfortunate combination of “you retard.”
My point is simple: this is why everyone needs a linguist.
Linguists thinks about things like lexicons and connotations. Linguists know that some phrases don’t have a direct translation. Linguists realize that sometimes it isn’t language but culture that changes the meaning of a word or phrase (just ask UK folks seeking a cigarette here in US).
Linguists love language, in all its wacky glory. And we want you to love it too.