So, we’ve started doing presentations in my Phonetics and Phonology course (barrel of laughs that, I assure you), all of which are meant to demonstrate something about pronunciation for the rest of the class. Two of the first three groups actually ended up using the same clip for their presentations, a skit from the fabulous (and not yet available in English translation, I think?) sketch comedy show, Fóstbræður (Foster Brothers), which starred Jón Gnarr and (film director) Benedikt Erlingsson among others.
I’m familiar with some of the more classic sketches from this show, although I hadn’t seen this one, in which an acountant-type (Jón Gnarr) is called into his boss’ office for some serious news. (Sorry, couldn’t embed the video, so just click the picture for the link.)
The gist of the video is that Jón Gnarr comes into the office and is told by his boss (Benedikt Erlingsson) ‘Þú ert rekinn,’ which means, you’re fired. But what he hears is “Þú ert drekinn,” or you’re a dragon. Hilarity ensues, particularly for all us útlendingar who are pleased that Icelandic pronunciation isn’t always clear to Icelanders either.
I enjoyed this video so much that I watched a few other favorites, which I’m linking to here (click the photos) for your enjoyment as well. (They are still pretty funny, even if you don’t understand
everything anything they are saying.)
A TV ad for Adolf Hitler’s forthcoming covers album, “No Regrets,” on which he performs “Hey Jude” and “Thank You For the Music,” among others (there’s also a clip of Adolf doing ‘karokee’ to “Ebony and Ivory.”)
Here, Jón comes in and starts talking to the woman in what is, I can only assume, English. (“Sadt a concern. Andun…Freckles.”) She doesn’t understand and gets flustered until her boss comes out and asks if anything is wrong. “I don’t understand anything that he’s saying,” she says. (Basically, this isn’t word for word.) “He’s speaking Foreign [as if this is the name of a language].”
“Yes, yes,” says her boss proudly. “I spent some time abroad myself. Maybe I can see what he wants.”
Then there is a lot of fabulous gibberish and I think the boss tells her that the guest wants a wake up call (not totally sure about this part). More gibberish—”Bundercup,” says Jón—after which the manager confirms, “At 8:30.”
The woman thanks the manager for his assistance. “No problem,” he says, turning to the departing guest. “Uh, Travis.” [Thumbs up.]
“Travis and Bravis!” the guest replies.
I maybe am loving this especially now that I have kids at work saying things like, “I don’t understand foreign,” and then I have to explain to them that “foreign” isn’t a language.