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Fake English
October 13, 2011 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Skwerl is a short film in which the dialogue sounds like what a person who speaks very little English might hear. Be sure to turn on the closed captioning and choose "Transcribe Audio". (Previously)
posted by gman (46 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
My son just got a "My Sims" game, and it sounds just like this. Fucking weird.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:46 PM on October 13, 2011


I get the same effect watch Swedish movies.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:51 PM on October 13, 2011


Why am i reminded of this bit from Coupling?
http://youtu.be/_TyNVcZhGo8
posted by usagizero at 4:54 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, that's stressful. Exactly replicates the sensation of something serious going on in a language you don't know very well.
posted by cmoj at 5:00 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Similar idea.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:01 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Add a high frequency sound in one channel, and it's a lot like having tinnitus.
posted by kimota at 5:02 PM on October 13, 2011


Another similar idea, except...GROOVY.
posted by zylocomotion at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


That didn't make any sense at all. A birthday pineapple? Who makes a birthday pineapple?
posted by koeselitz at 5:10 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Simlish is actually a standard feature of all Sims games. A lot of artists have done Simlish versions of their songs for inclusion in the games.
posted by NoraReed at 5:11 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I denno what'se beg iddow belind abartis now, bett callover sidi paple ini clep si tammering ferra minnabis widdout it. :R
posted by Rhaomi at 5:18 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another similar idea, except...GROOVY

When I posted this video on FB a while ago, I got into a fight with some family members who took offense when I said, "this is what American English sounds like". Rah rah USA, OLL RAIGTH!
posted by hanoixan at 5:19 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man. That was both funny and disconcerting. I felt like I'd had a stroke.
posted by RokkitNite at 5:19 PM on October 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


The most disconcerting part was where they cut the raw chickens apart with a plastic knife.
posted by DU at 5:32 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would the words be random in any order? Or did they jumble up originally coherent sentences?
posted by UrbanEye at 5:35 PM on October 13, 2011


I have a learning disability involving auditory processing and discrimination This is exactly what people sound like when I'm at a noisy party.
posted by UrbanEye at 5:37 PM on October 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


Here, here, UrbanEye. Spot on. Someone needs to make a short film portraying the world as seen by a near-sighted person not wearing glasses.
posted by christopherious at 5:51 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I made it about three quarters of the way through the video feeling like "It's cool, no problem, I'm getting the gist of this. I'll pick up some context in a minute and figure out the details."

(I spent most of season 1 of The Wire feeling the same way. Also, yeah, every loud party I've ever been to.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:15 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boy they sure are eating pointedly.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:16 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also groovy.

Yeah, mr_roboto, that was the first thing I thought of. Watching the Dragon Tattoo movies made want to learn Swedish just so I wouldn't feel frustrated hearing it.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:26 PM on October 13, 2011


Prisencolinensinainciusol Oll Raigth (tone loq remix)
posted by loquacious at 6:26 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


When doing tech support for EA, I had to work the Maxis line for a few weeks after a new Sims expansion was released.

People would often call in, confused why their Sims were speaking a foreign language when they installed the game in English. I have heard Simlish described as "Chinese", "Swedish" and "Spanish".

It happened so often that we had a form response for it.
posted by Durhey at 6:40 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... what was the form response?
posted by NoraReed at 6:42 PM on October 13, 2011


"They are speaking English. Is it possible you haven't had your hearing checked recently?"
posted by maxwelton at 7:02 PM on October 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Swedish I could sort of maybe understand, if only because most Americans don't have the faintest idea what Swedish sounds like. I'm not sure what rock you need to be living under to convince yourself that your sims are speaking Chinese.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:11 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... what was the form response?

Beri bin dee, wheelie podoo?
posted by odinsdream at 7:15 PM on October 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


This has just reinforced my desire to one day listen to Finnegans Wake as an audio book.
posted by Wemmick at 7:18 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jag får samma effekt när jag ser på holländska filmer.
posted by dabitch at 7:35 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Raja naba doa gola wookie nipple pinchy!
posted by uosuaq at 7:50 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


First off, that Adriano Celentano thing has been a kick since day one.

But I remember seeing, when I was a little kid, Sid Ceasar on TV. He could do this thing where he could "speak" in Italian or French or German. And they let him lose on the streets of Munich or someplace, and he'd try to strike up conversations with people. They'd let this go on for a minute or so, then finally step in and rescue these poor, utterly baffled Germans.

When they'd ask the Germans what they thought he was trying to say, then it got really funny. Then they said they thought he was a complete lunatic and were feverishly trying to figure out what to do with him.

They were so confused and busy trying to figure out what he was saying, they never could notice who was saying it.
posted by Relay at 8:04 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. Also kind of evokes the experience of peripheral hearing, the passive opposite to active eavesdropping. Even when the speech is abruptly directed at you and your attention is absorbed elsewhere. So that when you suddenly realize you're being spoken to, you mentally scramble to register the speech stream from seconds past and quickly assign it an interpretation. Think about all the times you manage to make spectacular speech interpretation errors to humorous effect. Kind of the cognitive version of the infamous autocorrect bugs on phones. When you're sure that you've missed the speech spoken at you, it almost becomes a kind of escalating game of non-sequitur. I've grown to love it.
posted by stroke_count at 8:17 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not what I was expecting. I try hear English as a foreign language on purpose occasionally, even though English is my first language. For example, if I am watching a TV show, I'll try to focus on just the SOUNDS, not the MEANING, of what I am hearing. Just like viewing a "magic eye" image, it takes a great deal of "non-exerted effort" (bear with me on the made-up term) to properly disengage from what I, all my life, have been "trained" to "get" out of spoken language - "meaning" - and hear only the sounds, as if English were a foreign language.

I can't say it is 100 percent effective, but it sure is a surreal experience.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:35 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


My grandpa kept a pair of eclectus parrots in an aviary out back. When he died we donated them to the local zoo. In the days surrounding his funeral I would snooze in a lawn chair under a tree while the birds had a mumbled conversation with no words all but which mimicked the cadences of my grandpa's English.

This has a similar effect. It's too clear to sound like you're listening through a wall, but no more intelligible.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:21 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not what I was expecting. I try hear English as a foreign language on purpose occasionally, even though English is my first language.

Why do you do this? Out of curiosity.
posted by sweetkid at 9:24 PM on October 13, 2011


Why do you do this? Out of curiosity.

Hmmm, I'm not sure if I one concrete answer, so I will free-associate several.

Because I like a challenge
because i like to think outside the box
because i love philosophy of language and i think there is a direct relationship between this phenomena and my belief that a traditional "song" is not music, but a mixed medium consisting of "music" and "poetry", and i love listening to songs in foreign languages because i can hear the music without interference of spoken "meaning", so maybe i can train myself to disregard the meaning of an English song and simply listen to its musical qualities
because i think it's fun to intellectualize the most basic stuff
because tv is really boring sometimes (i took notes in history class in high school left-handed sometimes instead of right-handed (im right handed) for the challenge and to make things interesting
posted by 3FLryan at 9:32 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


(for example, I think the spanish version of Irreplaceable by Beyonce is beautiful and moves me in a place deep in my heart, whereas the English version makes me cringe because I think the lyrics are terrible and it poisons the experience)
posted by 3FLryan at 9:39 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Parallel squirrel strengths."

Good luck, non-native English speakers.
posted by cthuljew at 11:55 PM on October 13, 2011


Ugh, this made me kind of physically ill. If I'm in a crowded place and I've had more than about half a drink I hit a point where my auditory processing feels just like this. If I just keep drinking it usually goes away (or maybe I start talking instead of listening? I don't know) but I had a nice little moment of "Oh dear god just keep smiling and nodding and occasionally laugh whyyy does this bar have to be so loud and whyyy did I have a beer."

So yeah, I guess I have a lot of social anxiety associated with stuff that sounds like English but ain't. I also really, really, really can't stand Simlish. My husband used to play Sims games occasionally and I couldn't even be in the room. I never made the connection before but it makes total sense.
posted by troublesome at 12:38 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


They were so confused and busy trying to figure out what he was saying, they never could notice who was saying it.

This Sid Ceasar person is supposed to be a household name? In Germany?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:07 AM on October 14, 2011


This is totally what watching French TV is like for me, except it's even harder watching the news, because sometimes I'll laugh when it seems like I'm supposed to and someone will be like "our country's best croissant baker just died" and I'll look really serious and everyone will be like "ha ha they just made a great joke about snails".

Also, the Prosicuipoblahblahblah guy with subtitles is priceless.
posted by Mooseli at 2:44 AM on October 14, 2011


This is more or less what trying to learn french is like- "This is meaningful language but where ever it is going, it's not ending up in conscious processing."
posted by Phalene at 6:04 AM on October 14, 2011


This must be what having an aphasia feels like.
posted by boygeorge at 7:52 AM on October 14, 2011


I was right: women will get pissed about anything, even when it's not proper talking!
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:28 PM on October 14, 2011


How do you turn on captioning?
posted by unliteral at 7:19 PM on October 14, 2011


That cc button on the bottom row. Then I think you have to click it again to choose which kind.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:46 PM on October 14, 2011


Why do you say we should turn on captioning? I just got different jibberish. The film itself was interesting, but trying to read the captions at the same time was a bit too much...
posted by polymath at 12:24 AM on October 15, 2011


Sid Caesar did the fake-foreign-languages bit that Relay mentioned for the Chabad telethon.
posted by pmdboi at 12:36 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


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