David Jaggard's

Quorum of One

Your wet humor warehouse on the Web

Issue number: 10

Posted on: November 10th, 1998

Next one on about: November 21st

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This issue: Buck's Back

 

 
         My friend Buck, former surfer, is still between jobs.  After his less-than-successful attempt to handle the advice column at This Publication (see Quorum of One number 5, "Ask Buck") he disappeared for a while.  But apparently someone posted his bond and now he's back crashing at my place again, and he says he's come up with this idea for a self-improvement course that will make it easy to learn foreign languages.  Frankly, I find this surprising, since the only time I've ever heard Buck even try to speak another language was at a kegger back in college when he was hitting on this good-looking Austrian foreign exchange student named Anna Ulmer and then his idea of how to speak German seemed to consist of saying everything in English but with a heavy German accent.  (By the way, she never did go out with him, probably because for all she knew he always sounded like Sergeant Schultz, but I admired the guy's persistence.)  Anyway, I have nothing better to put in this space so I thought I'd give him a chance to explain his idea here on the Web.
        The following is an introductory lesson.  For the complete course, please send a check or money order for $999.99 to "Buck's Language Course" in care of This Publication. (Buck thinks that if it costs a whole lot, people will be more likely to actually get around to studying it at home instead of watching reruns of Hogan's Heroes.  Like he does, I might add.)

 


 

Buck's Language Course

 

Introduction

 
        Hi.  Charles Bowbuck here.  You know how everybody figures that it's like really hard or something to learn a foreign language?  Well, the other day I was lying on Dave's couch with a pitcher of daiquiris and watching TV and there was this guy on a talk show who was saying that actually we all remember 100% of everything we've ever seen or heard or read, it's just that our brains aren't used to pulling up all those old memories so we think we've forgot stuff but we really haven't.  Or something like that.  Anyway, it started me thinking that even if you've spent a lot of time at the beach like me, you got to have heard a bunch of foreign talk sometime or other in your life.  Right?  OK, so my idea is that by getting in touch with those buried memories we can use the parts of foreign languages we already subconsciously know and learn to speak them without having to sweat through a bunch of courses and textbooks and memorizing a lot of stupid one-page dialogues about forgetting your notebook at the library and deciding whether you want coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast.
 

Lesson 1

 
      So I figure that the best way to start reviving those hidden memories is to work with the foreign words and phrases we already know.  Let's take Italian.  For instance, you already know the phrase "cosa nostra" and you probably know that in Italian this means "our thing".  All right.  So that means that "cosa" means "our" and "nostra" means "thing", right?   OK, now let's try out this new vocabulary by practicing a few simple sentences that you can use in everyday conversation - IN ITALY!

 

(NOTE: To ensure that the phrases and dialogue you learn here are really useful in everyday life, I took all the examples from conversations that I've actually had in the past couple of days.)
 
Exercise 1:
 

1) Why is it that you seem to mess up everynostra you touch?
2) Hey, man, I didn't have anynostra to do with strawberry daiquiri mix getting spilled on cosa white leather couch!
3) What do you mean, "cosa" couch?

 
See how easy it is?  Now let's try some Spanish.  You must know that "buenos dias" means "hello".   So by applying the same simple rules of analysis, we see that "buenos" means "hell" and "dias" means "oh".   So now try these sentences:
 
Exercise 2:

 
4) Dias baby, shake that nostra!
5) Where the buenos did we park cosa car?

 
Likewise, "hasta" means "good" and "lavista" means "bye", as in:
 

6) Dias yeah, haaaaasta!  Now I'm going to have to lavista a new couch!

 
Now for some French.  You already know that in French, "oui" is pronounced like "we" and means "yes".  So logically, "yes" must be the French word for "we", as in:
 
Exercise 3:

 
7) Dias oui, where the buenos have you been? Yes've been waiting for over two cosas!  Did you get the hastas?
8) I think that yes should get this used couch.  It looks like a pretty hasta lavista.
 

And now let's throw in some German...
 
Editor:   
David, get this guy out of here!
Me:        
Hey, he's doing the best he can -- give him a break.
Buck:
        ...so "gazoon" means "bless" and "tight" means "you".  Therefore...
Editor:
    Now!
Me:        
But what are we going to put in there to fill the space?
Editor:   
Well, every website has a section of  "Frequently Asked
                 Questions" -- why don't you put in some "FAQs"?
Me:        
Hmm. All right. Sorry, Buck.
Buck:     
Hey, I was just getting to "dachshund".
Me:        
See you later, man.
Buck:     
All right, I'm out of here! Again!
                Just don't come asking me for help if Anna ever calls.
Me:        
Whew.  All right, here goes:
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 

Q: What time is it?

Q: Walk much?

Q: Eiuw.  Have you ever, like, given it to anybody?
 

Editor:  Hey, whoa! You're supposed to have the answers too!
Me:      
Oh, sorry.  How about this:

Frequently Asked Questions
 

Q: What's wrong?
A:   No-thing...

Q: Why are you so upset?
A: I'm not   up-set!!

Q: Then why are you acting like this?
A: Like what??

Q: You know!
A: No I  don't!

Q: You're just... you're just... you're just... I don't know!
 

Editor:  Hold it! Those last two weren't even questions.
Me:      
OK, I'll try something else.

Frequently Asked Questions
 

Q: Where's the bathroom?
A: All the way down on the left.

Q: Like Laos?
A:  Very funny.
 

Editor:  David, I don't think you're getting this.
Me:      
One more try...

Frequently Asked Questions
 

Q: What do you want to do?
A: I don't know what do you
want to do?

Q: I don't know what do you want to do?
A: I don't know what do you
want to do?

Q: I don't know what do you want to do?
A: I don't know what do you
want to do?

Q: I don't know what do you want to do?
A: I don't know what do you
want to do?

Q: I don't know what do you want to do?
A: I don't know what do you
want to do?
 

Editor: All right, now I'm out of here.
Me:     
Me too.  It's almost time for Hogan's Heroes.
 


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