“Chinglish” – the hilariously inaccurate translation of Chinese phrases to English – is my favorite useless language.
For an amazing Chinglish sample, one needs only to check out the New York Times slideshow with ten evidential images with phrases, among them: “Slip and fall down carefully,” “Fragrant and hot Marxism” and “Do Drunken Driving.” I think they can only be fully appreciated when glimpsed in the photos though.
In Mexico, I’ve seen some poor Spanglish translations – but nothing quite so embarrassingly wrong as the Times’ Chinglish. It makes sense: Mexico and the U.S. have a far greater cultural connection than most countries have forged with predominantly English-speaking nations, and American English and Mexican Spanish already share many words. So the lack of tickling, horrible translations is hardly surprising.
Perhaps further south of the border the bonds are less developed. Fox News Latino recently ran a slideshow of Spanglish gathered mostly from Buenos Aires. It’s another true delight. Nothing like “sweet mouthfuls” for breakfast, “chicken turnoners” and “Barfy” burgers to make my day.