How to be an alien (By George Mikes)

Mi fa morire  questo libro ed ogni tanto mi rileggo queste poche righe, così, giusto per ridere un po’ con l’accento inglese.

how-to-be-an-alien-penguin-readers.jpg When I arrived in England I thought I knew English. After I’d been here an hour I realised that I did not understand one word. In the first week I picked up a tolerable working knowledge of the language and the next seven years convinced me gradually bur thoroughly that I would never know it really well, let alone perfectly. This is sad. My only consolation being that nobody speaks English perfectly.

Remember that those five hundred words an average Englishman uses are far from being the whole vocabulary of the language. You may learn another five hundred and yet another five thousand and yet another fifty thousand and still you may come across a further fifty thousand you have never heard before, and nobody else either.

If you live here long enough you will find out to your great amazement that the adjective nice is not the only adjective that the language possesses, in spite of the fact that in the first three years you do not need to learn any other adjectives. You can say the weather is nice, a restaurant is nice, Mr. Soandso is nice, Mrs. Soandso’s clothes are nice, you had a nice time, and all this will be very nice.

Then you have to decide on your accent. You will have your foreign accent, all right, but many people like to mix it with something else. I knew a Polish Jew who had a strong Yiddish-Irish accent. People found it fascinating though slightly exaggerated. The easiest way to give the impression of having a good accent or no foreign accent is to hold an unlit pipe in your mouth, to mutter between your teeth and finish all your sentences with the question: “isn’t it?” People will not understand much, but they are accustomed to that and they will get a most excellent impression.-

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2 thoughts on “How to be an alien (By George Mikes)

  1. semplicemente fantastico. Come quando parla del “queuing” come dello sport nazionale in Inghilterra. Peccato sia sempre più datato (l’Inghilterra è molto cambiata dal 1946). Ma l’arguzia resta. E pensare che Mikes era ungherese…

  2. non ho capito un’acca di ciò che c’è scritto…cos’è che ti fa morire del libro? traduzione in lingua italica, noo, eh??! ciao, api.

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