The real danger of learning English by rote.


Dave: We’re closed.

Scott: Hello? I just want you to tell me where a shoe store is because I want to look for a pair of shoes and buy ’em, mayhap.

Dave: I’m sorry. I’d love to be of assistance to you, but I’m afraid I speak no English.

Scott: Pardon?

Dave: Ah. I see by the expression on your face that you are confused by my statement. Perhaps you doubt its veracity, but let me assure you, I speak not a word of English.

Scott: What are you talking about, huh?

Dave: You see, everything that I am saying to you I have learned to speak phonetically. As to the meanings of the individual words or the percumbant rules of syntax, I haven’t a clue.

Scott: Why don’t you just shut up and tell me where the shoe store is, huh, you jerk?

Dave: Allow me to reiterate, I speak no English. Perhaps this will wash the confusion from your face, my friend. My apparent fluency is the result of constant repetition. As you can imagine, I have been through this speech many times before, in fact, I could repeat it for you in any one of seven different languages. Yet oddly enough, I’ve never learned to speak it in my own, which is fine since over the years I have forgotten how to speak my own language.

Scott: Just shut up and tell me where the shoe store is, huh?

Dave: Thank you, would you like to fight me now or are you a coward?

Scott: Don’t die.

Dave: I don’t know what you’re saying.

Scott: I just wanted to buy a pair of shoes, huh?

Dave: No habla espanol, senor.

Scott: Just got feet, don’t got shoes.

Dave: Nein. Sprechen Sie Deutsch?