Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
#99971 - 04/04/03 12:44 AM Brand name troubles  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,154
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah
Zed  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,154
British Columbia, Canada
It's not just slang that causes misunderstandings when you travel . Brand names can be tricky. I bought a bike in England and got those foam handlebar covers for it. When I asked if there was an easy way to put them on The shop keeper said "Just use fairy liquid." I thought he was being funny so replied "Oh good, and the elves will come and do it for me." It turns out that Fairy Liquid is a common brand of dish soap.
Any other examples?


#99972 - 04/04/03 02:06 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 833
modestgoddess Offline
old hand
modestgoddess  Offline
old hand

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 833
Eastern Ontario, Canada
Ooh, I've got a good one! There's a clothing company (as you, Zed, will know!) in Canada called "Roots." In Australia, to root is slang for, ahem, havin' sex (doin' the nasty, makin' the beast with two backs, shaggin', gettin' jiggy with it, etc.).

A friend who went to Australia warned me about this, saying that when she was down under, she wore her Roots sweatshirt quite a bit...until an Australian told her what that word means down there. (I suspect, from a cross-cultural point of view, it doesn't help that Roots clothes often have a beaver on them - the mammular kind, but still....)

I told everyone in the office where I worked at the time, about this; on my last day of work before I left to go to Australia for a year-long working holiday visa, my colleagues gave me....a "Roots Canada" t-shirt. And a handful of novelty condoms, all of which had passed their expiry date. Sighhh....

The t-shirt went missing somewhere along my way round Oz. To this day, I'm not sure if I simply forgot to take it off a clothesline at a hostel somewhere, or if some Aussie nicked it off same as a humorous souvenir....


#99973 - 04/04/03 02:15 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 833
modestgoddess Offline
old hand
modestgoddess  Offline
old hand

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 833
Eastern Ontario, Canada
Ooh, I've got another one: I went on a cruise in the Caribbean with a girlfriend, years ago. She and I have been penpals since the year dot - she lives in the UK (Reading, these days) and I live in Kingston (Canada). As we unpacked in our cabin, somehow the talk turned to something health-related - sunburns, maybe? Anyway, my friend said we could always use the Witch Doctor. I was quite bemused but tried to play along, saying, "That's right! Ooo, eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, wallah wallah bing bang!"

Of course she looked at me very strangely. She'd never heard the song. What she had been talking about was a witch-hazel gel product from the UK, that comes in a tube and is used for stings, rashes, mild burns etc...!

We sang the witch doctor chorus quite a bit over the two-week vacation....


#99974 - 04/04/03 11:30 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,156
Bean Offline
old hand
Bean  Offline
old hand

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,156
Those stupid BUM Equipment sweatshirts from Wal-Mart. Apparently the first association for USns for the word "bum" is a hobo, not a person's rear end (where they came up with the brand name), and no one thought to check cultural stuff before they marketed it here. My mum really hates the brand name, she teeters on the point of finding it offensive.

I think we talked about BUM Equipment before you came here, Zed, and I discovered that they even have a website. It's a hoot when you read it thinking of the Canadian/British meaning of the word bum. Here you go:

http://www.bumequipment.com/ Enjoy!


#99975 - 04/14/03 12:33 PM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,204
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah
RhubarbCommando  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,204
I had a similar problem over here a few years ago when a friend of mine informed me he was changing his car. I asked he was getting and he said, "Well, I've bought a SEAT."
I, of course, being always ready for a joke, replied, "What will you buy next, the wheels? How long before you can afford it all? Hohoho."

SEAT is the Spanish equivalent of FIAT, the Italian car company, but was quite new in england in those days.


#99976 - 04/16/03 04:54 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 104
RubyRed Offline
member
RubyRed  Offline
member

Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 104
>"What will you buy next, the wheels? How long before you can afford it all? Hohoho."<

Roffle, Rhubarb! You have humor like my husband! I used to roll my eyes and groan, but after 24 years, I actually find myself amused at his jokes!

Regarding brand names....If I remember correctly, Texaco (or perhaps Exxon) the oil company, used to be called Enco. Sometime in the late 60s or early 70s, the company expanded its services to the Orient. It seems Enco in Japanese (or Chinese or Cantonese?) losely translates to mean "stop" So, of course they had to change the name.....

Note: this was obviously before the internet, and bogus stories of this nature were therefore not prevalent. In fact the reason I remember the story, was because my mother heard it on the Paul Harvey show on the car radio, while we were driving down the road, and she laughed out loud.....not something she is wont to do. So, I guess it stuck in my mind.




#99977 - 04/16/03 06:22 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Bingley  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Jakarta
I heard a similar story about a USn car company which produced a car called Nova and was worried about the fact that it wasn't selling in Latin America.No va being the Spanish for doesn't go.

Bingley


Bingley
#99978 - 04/16/03 06:28 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Bingley  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Jakarta
And I don't know if it's true but it is rumoured that Grampian TV was originally going to be called Scottish Highlands and Islands Television.

Bingley


Bingley
#99979 - 04/16/03 10:10 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,624
Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah
Capfka  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,624
Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Ah, who gives a ... Oh, I see what you mean.


#99980 - 04/16/03 11:03 AM Re: Brand name troubles  
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Faldage  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
before the internet, and bogus stories of this nature were therefore not prevalent

But by no means non-existent. Way I heard it enko meant broken car in Japanese. Never heard any confirmation from anybody actually knew Japanese.

The Nova story is also pre-internet and has been fairly well demolished. See:
http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.htm

As a sidelight on the Esso story, there was a pre-internet legend that Exxon was made up from a combination of Esso and Nixon.


Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Moderated by  Jackie 

Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,878
Posts223,914
Members9,019
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
Rogerdoctor, SquareDonut, WonderW, Trailjohn, Reddit
9019 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 50 guests, and 2 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters(All Time)
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,538
LukeJavan8 8,975
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.019s Queries: 14 (0.004s) Memory: 2.7355 MB (Peak: 2.8703 MB) Zlib disabled. Server Time: 2017-09-22 02:47:45 UTC