Learning English for Fun

08Nov06

Today at dinner we teased one of our friends for her active attempts to pick up a British accent… “awesome” is one of those things that you just don’t tend to hear many Britons saying. At least not in the context that Americans would. And probably not in the way that an American would feign a British pronounciation (“uw-sum?”).

I suggested a couple of other characteristically American words that I’m used to:

  • redonkulous: extremely ridiculous
  • fo’ shizzo’: affirmative

For example:

“The fudge place gives out free samples every day … that’s redonkulous!”
“Yeah, fo’ shizzo’!”

I’m not sure if people believed me. Isn’t it about time that Snoop Dogg did a UK tour?

Anyway, the entire ordeal reminded me to post a picture that continues to tickle me:

What can we learn from this?

I didn’t even know that ‘humped zebras’ existed. Perhaps they are camel-zebra hybrids in the same way that mules are horse-donkey hybrids? At any rate, even if they do exist I’m nearly positive that they don’t exist in a high enough density at Cambridge to warrant a special Humped Zebra Crossing on Grange road.

In fact, the crossing is so little used by humped zebras that it’s really only people that ever use it. The diagram above the sign even shows a person crossing the street.

Perhaps (and this is where one must be a truly astute observer) “humped zebra” is just an English phrase for a pedestrian who intends to cross the street? I’ve yet to try to use this in conversation: “Are you waiting for a bus or do you intend to be a humped zebra?” There are several other permutations with slightly more scandalous connotations.

(For the record, the ‘hump’ refers to a slight elevation on the road–like a fat speedbump–and the ‘zebra’ refers to the alternating white stripes indicating where pedestrians may cross. They’re nearly identical to what one would find in the US, expect there’s no hump and Americans just call them crosswalks.)



3 Responses to “Learning English for Fun”

  1. hi from Turkey; I have found your site while I am looking for the blogs and read this. nice article😉

  2. hi from Turkey; I have found your site while I was looking for the blogs. and read this. nice article😉

  3. hi from Turkey; I have found your site while I was looking for the blogs, and read this. nice article😉



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