Jose Carillo's Forum


Making yourself more proficient in English need not be a drag. You can actually speed up the learning process and make it fun by generously lacing it with humor—but preferably the best that the English language can offer.

In this new section, apart from giving a fixed slot to our weekly “In a Lighter Vein” pop-out humor piece in the Forum homepage, we have put together the finest of those weekly humor pop-ups since the Forum started. The best of them—collected from various sources on the web and sent in by friends—are all here, posted in the Forum under the following headings: Wordplay, On the Job, Student and School Life, and Miscellany.

So if you missed any of the best of the Forum’s weekly humor pop-ups, you can enjoy and savor them again and again here—and better still, share them with your friends!

Click here to go to the board (requires registration to post)

Translations and real sense of Anglo-EU politesse and diplomatese

Here’s an amusing collection of translations and actually intended meanings of Anglo-EU politesse and diplomatese, as compiled by Mark Liberman in his Language Log website. By definition, politesse is a formal word that means “courteous formality or politeness,” while diplomatese is, well, an informal word that means “the type of language or jargon used by diplomats, thought to be excessively complicated, cautious or vague, and described humorously as though it were a foreign language.”

Let’s see now how these phrases operate in the political and diplomatic arenas in the United Kingdom and the European Union and, of course, how they might be used by the more discerning legislators in our own Upper House and Lower House in the Philippines to explain away their alleged involvement in the massive pork-barrel scam that got exposed recently.

What the British say

What the British mean

What others understand

I hear what you say

I disagree and do not want to discuss it further

He accepts my point of view

With the greatest respect…

I think you are an idiot

He is listening to me

That's not bad

That's good

That's poor

That is a very brave proposal

You are insane

He thinks I have courage

Quite good

A bit disappointing

Quite good

I would suggest…

Do it or be prepared to justify yourself

Think about the idea, but do what you like

Oh, incidentally/ by the way

The primary purpose of our discussion is…

That is not very important

I was a bit disappointed that

I am annoyed that

It really doesn't matter

Very interesting

That is clearly nonsense

They are impressed

I'll bear it in mind

I've forgotten it already

They will probably do it

I'm sure it's my fault

It's your fault

Why do they think it was their fault?

You must come for dinner

It's not an invitation, I'm just being polite

I will get an invitation soon

I almost agree

I don't agree at all

He's not far from agreement

I only have a few minor comments

Please re-write completely

He has found a few typos

Could we consider some other options

I don't like your idea

They have not yet decided

Correct me if I'm wrong

I'm right, don't contradict me

I may be wrong, please let me know

Up to a point

Not in the slightest


French Phrase

Literal Translation

Idiomatic Translation

“je serai clair”

“I will be clear”

“I will be rude”

“Il faut la visibilité Européenne”

“We need European visibility”

“The EU must indulge in some pointless,
annoying and, with luck, damaging international grand-standing.”

“Il faut trouver une solution pragmatique”

“We must find a pragmatic solution”

“Warning: I am about to propose a highly complex, theoretical, legalistic and unworkable way forward.”

From a compilation in Mark Liberman’s Language Log

Go to Wordplay now!
Go to On the Job now
Go to Student and School Life now!
Go to Miscellany now!

Click to view all postings in this section


Copyright © 2010 by Aperture Web Development. All rights reserved.

Page best viewed with:

Mozilla FirefoxGoogle Chrome

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Page last modified: 1 September, 2013, 4:45 p.m.