The Swinglisher’s Swinglish: fidelity card.

The Swinglisher has already admitted to being culpable of using her own form of Swinglish.  In the previous case, the type of Swinglisher’s Swinglish was described as “using those English words that are used by the Swiss with a different meaning and which creep into a native English speaker’s vocabulary until one is no longer sure whether one is speaking a proper English or a Swissified form.” Like a fitness.

There’s another kind of Swinglisher’s Swinglish, though, this one involving the literal translation of a common Swiss-language* phrase into English without stopping to realize that such a translation would not lead to the word or phrase actually used by English speakers – and worse, being unable to recall what the phrase would actually be in English.

Take, for example, une carte de fidelité. You go frequently to a café, you get a little card, and the café stamps it every time you buy a café. And then, in English, you start calling this little card a fidelity card. Finally you and your friend stop and look at each other, and the following ensues:

No, wait. Do we say that in English? Fidelity is a word, so surely it’s a fidelity card, right? And what about “fidel”? Is that the adjective form of fidelity? Are we fidel to this café? Or is “fidel” just a way to refer colloquially to Señor Castro?

The Swinglisher actually had this conversation with another English-speaking friend. Two coffees and ten minutes later, yours truly and her friend realized that the object is actually a … loyalty card. (Extra points for those who had already figured that out.)

Please keep in mind that the Swinglisher is, by training, a teacher of the English language. Thus please also note that the Swinglisher will certainly not be linking from this blog post to her professional website.

*Is it necessary to add that the Swinglisher is using “Swiss-language” here as a stand-in for the four national languages of Switzerland, or does one believe that the Swinglisher needs a lesson on the Swiss not actually speaking Swiss? Which is right. They speak Swedish. [Groan …]

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