Don’t Let a Silent “H” Sneak Up and Bite You in the Tuchus

This story is absolutely true.  If you don’t believe me, I can produce a hundred witnesses to confirm its accuracy.  Okay, I can produce ONE.  But it’s my wife, and unlike me, she’s not an irredeemable liar. 

DANGER: This story is a full-blown PG-13, so anyone with even a mild sensitivity to crude humor should cease and desist reading this PRONTO!

Here it goes –

My wife was on a guided bus tour of Seoul.  As it proceeded, a tour guide stood at the front of the bus and explained points of interest.  The guide was a native Korean, and her English was quite good.  Except for the tragic fact that she had not mastered when an “h” in an English word is silent.  Who could blame her?  The English language was obviously invented by psychopaths.  It’s a complete disaster.  We’ve got “rhyme,” “ghost,” “right,” and then, of course, we’ve got “why, when and where!”  God help anyone trying to learn it.

To make matters worse, the Korean language doesn’t contain an “x.”  It takes tremendous effort to learn this little “x” sound, and many Koreans never master it.  Their “x” sounds like an “s.”   

So… here’s where the nitro met the glycerin –

There is a statute in Seoul called “The Phoenix.”  Here is it –

As the bus continued on its way, the young female tour guide swept her hands over her head repeatedly, each time announcing with great fanfare that they would soon see the “Rising of the Phoenix.” 

Only, to everyone on the bus, it didn’t sound like, “The Rising of the Phoenix.”  It sounded exactly like the “Rising of the [Popular male body part that begins with a P.]”

She announced this several times – each time swinging her arms skyward in a glorious arc.  Finally, someone approached her apprehensively and whispered in her ear.  In a millisecond, her joyous expression melted faster than butter on a hot pan. 

Here’s my point – If you’re going to learn another language, it is critical to the preservation of your dignity to focus on the nuance of each native sound.  If not, you’ll end up saying “focus,” but they’ll hear, “fuk-us.” 

At that point, your listener is really going to expect, “The Rising of the Phoenix.”

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