Derby Girls and Weird Sentences


languageTonight seems to be an interesting language night.

I suppose the vinovice is partially to blame. Vinovice is grape brandy that knocks your socks off and makes you feel like a two-hundred foot tall dinosaur named Seth. Whenever a new brandy comes into my life – which happens often since the Czechs are proficient in the field of distilling fruits in order to get you hammered – I always find that the night equals interesting language.

Moreover, it’s probably the fact that I am hanging out with five language teachers. Therefore, the discussion keeps popping back to language acquisition. It’s in my head, so my ears are more in tune with the weirdness of language.

Also, the vinovice.

There have been two sentences tonight that I have never heard before. As a language teacher and a George Carlin nut, I have always loved these. They occurred in the same interaction.

“If I see someone vomit I can’t get it out of my head for a month.”

“Yeah, I’m the same way if I see blood come out of a penis.”

We are at Pod Slavinem, a pub in Albertov known for its Czech old school approach to hedonism: grumpy waitresses, twelve degree beer, enormous shots, and food portions that would put down a grizzly bear. The talk hits all major topics: movies, books, teaching, students. And naturally, it goes to roller derby.

“We need to get to that roller derby party or the Polish girls will get upset.”

And so there is the third sentence of the evening that has probably never, ever been uttered. And as we head off to Vinohrady to go to the roller derby party, hoping to find unruffled Polish women there, I reflect on language.

One of my favorite aspects of language is its ability to be weird. When you’ve been involved in language teaching or applied linguistics for long enough, you thrive on these sentence oddities, whether they are said accidentally by students, on purpose by friends, or just overheard on the tram. These odd sentences are our way of keeping the language fresh and abnormal, as though surprising the English language with its wackiness.

The Dirty Dog Bar is filled with roller derby women (the fourth sentence that has never been uttered). The roller derby girls are all different shapes and sizes, hair colors, heights, and nationalities. The only thing they all have in common is that they all look like they could win a fist fight with an Australian bouncer.

The derby girls have their own lingo, so I get lost in weird sentences as we stand and sip on bourbon and beers. I suppose everyone has their own weird language. I am chuffed by the realization that at every time of the day every day, new, weird sentences are being uttered all over the world.

The night, fortunately, ends without a fist fight. I head home, stopping on the way at KFC. In the morning I have a message from Collin.

“Did you KFC?”

“I KFCed.”

Weird sentences though they are, these are said almost every Sunday morning.

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