Lost in translation--miaow.

Author:De Faoite, Diarmuid
Position:Humour
 
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[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

When I first arrived in Switzerland--lured here as part of the dastardly Swiss honey trap to spice up the gene pool and improve their English-language abilities--like many foreigners, I found myself hitting the books for the first time since leaving school, in order to try and make some progress in the local language. (The only reason to learn a language in Switzerland is to thwart the multitude of natives who want to speak to you in English. Reason enough in my book!)

When I went to the bookshop to pick up some language learning aids, I chose the cheapest dictionary I could find. (This was back in the days when the price of books was fixed by a state-approved cartel, which has since been abolished. However, the Swiss are so opposed to the concept of 'value for money', that they are currently talking about reinstating it!)

Cat antics

Unfortunately, I had accidentally taken home one of those Langenscheidt Cat--German, German--Cat dictionaries. Low on money to buy the dictionary I actually needed and lacking the language skills required to return it, I decided to muddle on as best l could. When my girlfriend said something in German and was smiling, I purred appreciatively. Of course, I didn't have to wait long until I made a mistake--men messing up in a relationship is international after all. My feline cuteness enraged her.

"Du bist so ein Idiot," she shouted.

"Miaow, miaow," I protested, defending myself as best I could.

(I found my mind wandering and I started to think about swapping my ball and chain for a ball of string.) I knew I had to retaliate harder, so l took the only course of action open to me and began hacking up a fur ball.

"Wait a second, are you speaking Swiss-German?"...

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