unknown language-use stereotypes sought from the recieving end
February 25, 2010 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Looking for reciprocal of "Engrish" on two counts: 1) Asians imitating "how Americans(/Anglophones) talk" with gibberish, and 2) Asians making fun of "how Americans(/Anglophones) talk" with heavy English/American accents on their own language. seeking audio and/or video for entertainment and cultural edification.

here's what I mean by "reciprocal"-- each case would correspond to Americans'/Anglophones' use of Asian language stereotypes as follows: 1) gibberish that attempts to imitate what the speaker might place under umbrella term "Chinese" (while it in fact would most often crudely encompass a number of languages and cultures with a myriad of crucial differences-- Japanese, Korean, and many more);

and 2) common "kung fu master" imitation that puts heavy, similarly meltpotted "Asian" accent to use in speaking English, encompassing inflection, ellipsis, elongation, etc.

big, big props for any footage that also includes the perpetrators specifically indicating complete presence of honest irony OR, perhaps better still, complete lack thereof.
posted by herbplarfegan to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not exactly related but in Delirious, Eddie Murphy did a joke about going to McDonalds in China.
posted by electroboy at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2010

There was a question like this in the last few months, but I can't find it right now. It was something like "how does English sound to people in other countries" and many of the answers were YouTube links, one of which was to a Japanese boy.
posted by desjardins at 10:47 AM on February 25, 2010

This isn't the one I was thinking of, but it's similar: How do you fake American?
posted by desjardins at 10:54 AM on February 25, 2010

Well, irony and meta-commentary are not really cultural concepts in pop culture in much of northeast Asia, which is a very earnest place that holds slapstick, hit-you-with-a-fish humour in high regard.

Anyway, when Japanese comedians attempt to ape or parody English, they usually resort to repeating schoolboy phrases such as "Hello, goodbye, thank you very much, my name is John."

When portraying foreigners speaking English, Japanese comedians typically adopt a heavy accent that stresses nasal tones and "rrrr" sounds, and make grammatical errors.

If you want to see a Japanese simulacra of "We Are the World", it can be found here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:57 AM on February 25, 2010

Not quite but you're looking for, and Middle Eastern, but hopefully of use: I recall a long sequence in Three Kings in which Wahlberg's character, who has been captured by Iraqi nationals, is questioned/tortured by an English-speaking Iraqi, who uses "bro"-type slang like "dude" and "my main man".


That's an excerpt, but the actual scene is longer, and I think gets more involved with the "dude/brah" language. I wasn't sure, and still am not sure following the clip, if the Iraqi is mocking Wahlberg or honestly believes that "my main man" and "bro" are genuine terms of reference among equals. It was powerful stuff when I saw it back in 2000.
posted by Shepherd at 11:03 AM on February 25, 2010

The Japanese have/had a TV show somewhat similar to Saturday Night Live. One of the features on the show was a series of 7-minute animation shorts which were collected in North America under the name "Colorful".

What it's mostly about is the fact that men are sex-obsesssed. There are maybe five main characters, all men, who appear in various situations. One of them is an American named "Steve". He is exactly what you're talking about: in addition to using him to make "men are sex-obsessed" jokes, they use him for gaijin jokes. He is voiced by a Japanese voice actor and his dialogue is "how Americans try to speak Japanese when they're not very good at it."

By the way, the show is very ecchi.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2010

Also somewhat unrelated but Indian-Canadian Russell Peters does a lot of jokes about Asian accents and travelling in foreign countries.
posted by electroboy at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2010

I have all Japanese examples, since that's what I'm interested in:

I'm not sure if this applies exactly, but the Japanese show 木更津キャッツアイ (Kisarazu Cat's Eye) has these recurring sections where one of the character's (うっちー) family seems to be American (I'm still not entirely sure what their deal is actually, maybe someone with better 日本語 can tell me...?), and they speak pretty awkward English subtitled in Japanese. I'm having trouble finding an example on Youtube, sorry. I find it really funny though.

There's also a character in Miike's Happiness of the Katakuri's who is pretending to be a half-Japanese/half-American pilot to swindle people, and he speaks really choppy Japanese with an American accent (I guess). Here is a short example. By the way, if you haven't seen this INSANE amazing film, do.

I also found this link recently from AJATT's twitter feed, I think (you have to get a few minutes in first). More of the Japanese spoken with American accent thing.

There's also the "Mr. Naruhodo" guy ("naruhodo" means something like, "I see," expressing comprehension) used in Mercedes ads. Very annoying. Looks like the Youtube video from the link above is broken, but you can see the ad here. I think he's actually German, so this may not count for what you're looking for.

I'm also remembering there were some Japanese fast food ads with an American guy practicing speaking phrases from a tourist phrase book (really badly). I actually found it kind of offensive for some reason, unlike the other stuff. I dunno why. I can't remember now what it was, but if I find a youtube link I'll add it...
posted by dubitable at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2010

Oh, I also just thought of this, which is sort of tangential and I'm not sure how to classify it, but there's Oh! Mikey, this strange show which uses voice actors and mannequins. The mannequins are supposed to be American. I don't know if it actually applies to your question, but, maybe...

Here's clips. You can also find the originals sketches in Vermilion Pleasure Night.
posted by dubitable at 12:09 PM on February 25, 2010

Best answer: Try this collection. If it's not what you're looking for, at least the video of Prisencolinensinainciusol will make you happy.
posted by norm at 2:22 PM on February 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

dubitable: It was a whole series of McDonald's commercials featuring a white guy called Mr. James.
It's totally offensive. It's just not often that we see white people playing the stereotypical fool.
posted by emeiji at 4:01 PM on February 25, 2010

Comedian Xiao Shenyang, who's become big in China in recent years, does this a couple of times in his routines - one line he has is telling the audience his name, he first gives 'Xiao Shenyang' in his normal accent, then says, I have a foreign name too and just says Xiao Shenyang again in an exaggerated foreign accent (at 4:55 in the embedded video at the link). The joke is both the accent and I think also about the habit of people to give themselves an English name, as he hasn't exactly.
posted by Abiezer at 7:10 PM on February 25, 2010

Try this collection.

Those Argentinian guys are awesome. Every song I hear on the radio sounds exactly like that.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:44 AM on February 26, 2010

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