We’ve all heard examples of fake Chinese or German from speakers who lack familiarity with either language. While typically cringe-worthy, these examples do raise interesting questions regarding our own language. What does English sound like to non-English speakers? After more than 40 years, Adriano Celentano’s “Prisencolinensinainciusol” remains one of the most illuminating examples.
The entire song is nonsense verse, neither English nor Italian, but the sounds are meant to resemble English. Linguist Mark Liberman wrote an interesting post about this sort of thing over at Language Log discussing yaourter, the French word for an attempt to speak or sing in a foreign language that one doesn’t know all that well. This often involves trying to sing a foreign song with nonsense or random words filling in the blanks. Liberman shares this wonderful quote from a random Internet user:
Just for the story, in France, when we don’t speak English and we want to imitate the sound, we call it “yaourter”(to yoghourt), the imitation sounds like a very nasal language, kind of like a baby crying. It mostly imitates the “cowboy” accent.
jesus christ this is actually reALLY FRUSTRATING IT SOUNDS LIKE ENGLISH BUT IT DOESNT MAKE WORDS
Created out of 6,000 light bulbs the interactive installation invites visitors to pull the cords and turn the lights on and off as spectators witness the cloud shimmer and flicker as bulbs flip between light and dark. Incredibly out of the 6,000 bulbs, 5,000 of them are actually old burnt out bulbs donated to the artists by the public. The idea being that instead of wasting bulbs by throwing them away they would be put to a better, and more creative use, by turning trash in to treasure, and waste in to art.
[Image Description: A animated screencap of Tura Satana in the desert in the film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! saying “I never try anything. I just do it. And I don’t beat clocks, just people! Wanna try me?]
she was simultaneously a straight-a student in school while being viciously bullied for her heritage + size and punished by her parents for getting into fights. i mean, even without the straight a’s, she was strong and endured feeling isolated at home and at school.
she’s a fellow rape survivor — “Walking home from school at the age of nine she was gang raped by five men. According to Satana, her attackers were never prosecuted and it was rumored that the judge had been paid off. She tells how this prompted her to learn the martial arts of aikido and karate and, over the next 15 years, track down each rapist and exact revenge. ’I made a vow to myself that I would someday, somehow get even with all of them’, she said years later. ‘They never knew who I was until I told them.’”
she began living on her own at the age of 13, after her parents married her to a 17-year old and she wasn’t having that bullshit. i can’t even imagine what that was like.
she was an extremely successful burlesque dancer, and even when she got pregnant at 19 she danced through the first eight months of her pregnancy! and yeah, she still made BANK.
faster pussycat! kill! kill! — a cult classic john waters apparently calls the greatest movie ever made. i still haven’t seen it, but from what i’ve read it portrays the three female leads (tura satana is the LEAD lead) in positions or power that normally men are portrayed in, and that’s allll the way back in the 60’s. she did all her own stunts and fight scenes. the majority of satana’s styling and one-liners, and some additional key concepts of the film, were satana’s own doing.
after being shot by a former lover and staying in a hospital, she decided to study nursing and she did just that. she even briefly worked as the dispatcher for the lapd.
tura satana passed away on 2/4/2011, but she’s still amazing and one of my inspirations as a woc, especially as a mixed-race asian rape survivor struggling to embrace my sexuality. <3 and that’s why i’m giving her her own day! just who she was makes me feel good about me.