“D’oh!” .jpg



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Skip Bandele moved to the Algarve 10 years ago and has been with the Algarve Resident since 2003. His writing reflects views and opinions formed while living in Africa, Germany and England as well as Portugal.

Once described as “the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen” by former First Lady Barbara Bush, the Simpsons phenomenon, started by little-known American cartoonist Matt Groening in 1985, reached unprecedented heights when named the 20th century’s best TV series by Time magazine 14 years later.

Since then the chaotic Springfield household featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie has permeated modern culture to such an extent that Homer’s iconic annoyed grunt “D’oh!” warranted inclusion in the 2001 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Slob, sloth, bigot and general anti-hero Homer, named after his creator’s own father, has developed a cult following belying his daily struggles with both moral issues and the English language. Who can forget such profound pronouncements as ‘God is my favourite fictional character’ or ‘Children are our future – unless we stop them now’ while much repeated one-liners including ‘The kitchen – that’s where the food sleeps!’ and ‘Just because I don’t know doesn’t mean I don’t understand’ have somehow captured the imagination of millions. D’oh!

The above example illustrates the importance of interaction and communication, fields which that particular animated programme has plainly more than conquered. Elsewhere sharing a common tongue proves more problematic – take the following situation involving a holidaymaker trying to order breakfast in the Far East (read out aloud for better effect!).

Room service: “Morny, ruin sorbees.”

Guest: “Sorry, I thought I dialled room service.”

Room service: “Rye…ruin sorbees, morny! Djewish to odor sunteen?”

Guest: “Uh, yes, I’d like some bacon and eggs.”

Room service: “Ow july den?”

Guest: “What?”

Room service: “Ow july den? Pry, boy, pooch?”

Guest: “Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry, scrambled, please.”

Room service: “Ow july dee baychem- crease?”

Guest: “Crisp will be fine.”

Room service: “Hokay. An san tos?”

Guest: “What?”

Room service: “San tos. July san tos?”

Guest: “I don’t think so.”

Room service: “No? Judo one toes?”

Guest: “I feel really bad about this, but I don’t know what ‘judo one toes’ means.”

Room service: “Toes! Toes! Why djew don juan toes? Ow bow singlish mopping we bother?”

Guest: “English muffin!! I’ve got it! You were saying ‘toast’. Fine, yes, an English muffin will be fine.”

Room service: “We bother?”

Guest: “No, just put the bother on the side.”

Room service: “Wad?”

Guest: “I mean butter…just put it on the side.”

Room service: “Copy?”

Guest: “Sorry?”

Room service: “Copy…tea…mill?”

Guest: “Yes, coffee please, and that’s all.”

Room service: “One Minnie. Ass ruin torino fee, strangle ache, crease baychem, tossy singlish mopping we bother honey sigh, and copy- rye?”

Guest: “Whatever you say.”

Room service: “Tendjewberrymud.”

Guest: “You’re welcome.”

On the other hand, perhaps to make things a little more palatable, a version of Esperanto seems to be in the throws of making a comeback. Brussels has just announced that English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the alternative option. During the negotiations, the British government had to concede that English spelling has some room for improvement, however, accepting a five-year phase-in plan leading to the adoption of ‘Euro-English’.

Thus, in the first year ‘s’ will replace the soft ‘c’. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. At the same time the hard ‘c’ is dropped in favour of ‘k’, klearing up konfusion and allowing keyboards to have one karakter less. It is antisipated that there will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”, shortening words like fotograf by 20 per cent. By the third year publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expected to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

EU members will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and should go away. Yer four and people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”. During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a real sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united Urop vil finaly kum tru. Und efter ze fifz yer ve vil al be speking Deutsch lik ve vunted in ze forst plas!

As Homer ‘no function well without beer’ Simpson once said: “I never apologise – I’m sorry, but that’s the way I am. Vampires are make-believe, just like elves, gremlins and Eskimos”- and please remember, laughter is the food of love, next Saturday is Valentines’ Day!