Readers’ wildlife photos

October 23, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today Athayde Tonhasca Júnior has returned with a photo-and-text story. His text is indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

English spoken here

The English language is an essential tool for science, diplomacy, the internet, business, and even personal wealth; in many countries, income is correlated with English proficiency (Salomone, 2022). Willingly or reluctantly, the non-anglophone world communicates in English, the latest global lingua franca (Ostler, 2011). This dominance affects cultures, identities and heritages around the world, and inevitably stirs up a linguistic inferiority complex, a version of ‘cultural cringe’. This term was created by the Australian writer Arthur Angell Phillips, known as A. A. Phillips (1900-1985), who grumbled about his country’s pundits, for whom no Australian intellectual creation measured up to works from elsewhere, in particular the mother country, Britain.

We are back to Thessaloniki, a vibrant Greek city with more than 100,000 students from several prestigious universities. All these young people seem to wander about sporting T-shirts with Very Important Messages about the sins of capitalism, assorted chauvinisms, militarism, consumerism—the usual student gripes. All in English. And as you wander about town, you will notice that a great many businesses advertise in English – with mixed results.

Perhaps these lawyers meant ‘Beyond – Legal services’. But Greece being Greece, ‘beyond legal’ is a credible interpretation:

Are your up to date with your tetanus shots?

A club for members with low expectations:

You may wish they meant ‘Swell’. But it’s ‘Smell’. Hopefully of a pleasant variety:

An invitation for cruel comments about the shop’s clientele:

Considering possible interpretations of ‘funky’, alternatives would have been wiser:

If you don’t, don’t come in!

Health-freak guests not welcome here (Greece has the highest smoking rate in the European Union):

The tech rascals’ brotherhood. They will rule the world:

Just watch out for hot beverages spilled over your exposed bits:

A Greek sign among the English cacophony. The αs, πs and Ωs we learned in math and physics classes may make one overconfident about reading the vernacular. It’s fairly easy to get used to letters familiar to us but representing something else in Greek (like ‘p’ meaning ‘r’, and ‘b’ meaning ‘v’); but then you bump into diphthongs, which have their inscrutable logic, like turning ‘mp’ into ‘b’. So if you managed to navigate the Greek linguistic traps and can read µπραβο, Bravo!:

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Ha! These were great. It’s strange that the “M” in “Smell” is symbolized by a riff on the Rolling Stones logo. I guess you can’t taste without smell, but it does seem like a visual non-sequitur.
    I see what you did with Bravo!

  2. Splendid pictures and commentary, as usual. Just one quibble, if you do not mind: mp is not a diphthong, but rather is a digraph. A diphthong is a vowel that merges kind of seamlessly into another vowel, like the vowels in oy vey. A digraph is two letters that take on a a new sound generally unrelated to either of the two letters, like the sh in mishegoss or the ch in chutzpah.

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