Sunday, March 02, 2008

"My mouth can't form these words"

The nativist Dunkin' Donuts commercial is back, the one that seeks to appeal to good ol' Americans who have trouble ordering at Starbucks because they are unable to pronounce or tell the difference between French and Italian. I was reminded of the "Fretalian" question noticing the comments to this YouTube of a Dutch rap song. Listeners think they are hearing either French ("je ne savais pas que les gens français pourraient rap*"; odd for this person, commenting in French, to make that mistake!) or Hebrew ("Waar was jij, ça me paraissait hébreu, mais si c'est du néerlandais,je crois que je peux tout de suite mourir de honte...**").

And, from the Dunkin' Donuts target audience: "im american and don't understand any of these words on my computer screen or the lyrics of this ditty, i thought this was a yael naim video. I gave it my 3 minutes and 17 seconds of my time. I give it a C+. thats around a 2.5." You tell 'em! Granted I wasn't 100% sure it was Dutch, but after English, French and Hebrew were the first languages I ruled out. Process of elimination and double vowels put the song somewhere in Northern Europe.

In other French-Dutch-Hebrew thoughts, one of my students mentioned a while back that he finds Dutch a more romantic language than French, something half of Belgium presumably agrees with. Both Dutch and Hebrew have the "ch" sound, which can either make or break a language's hotness, depending one's persuasion. I'm as pro-"ch" as possible for someone in a French department.

*"I didn't know French people could rap."
** "Waar was jij (where were you, in Dutch, according to my translator), that sounded like Hebrew to me, but if it's Dutch, I think I could die of shame..."

3 comments:

Withywindle said...

As we all learned from A Fish Called Wanda, Russian is the most romantic language of all.

sam said...

I think my favorite part of that obnoxious DD commercial is the fact that, after all of the "we speak ENGLISH here" ridiculousness, what are they advertising?

Lattes. Because apparently that's now considered english.

Anonymous said...

I beleive the commercial indicates that the customers DO in fact know the difference between French and Italian and recognize that Starbucks made up a false marketing language. It is not French or Italian.

Order a "vente latte" in Italy and you'll get 20 glasses or cartons of milk, not a coffee drink.

The Bucksian Fritalian deserves to mocked. I'll bet the Starbuck marketinge xecs did it as a joke on their own customers when making the decision to over roast and overprice their drinks.