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Dummy's guide to language

Update: June, 05/2012 - 10:41

 

A beginner's guide to the Vietnamese language for first graders by Dang Thi Lanh was recently published by Da Nang Publishing House.

The only trouble is it's riddled with elementary spelling mistakes, which is surprising considering Da Nang Publishing House is one of the biggest publishers in the country. What's even more surprising is that Lanh used to be a senior official at the Education Ministry.

Among the many howlers in the book is the spelling of gio To as do To. Gio To (literally "death Anniversary") is the name given to the day set aside to commemorate the founding of the nation by Emperor Hung Vuong nearly 50 centuries ago and the Hung dynasty, which lasted 3,000 years. Surely, if the day is so important to the nation, the book's author, and the publisher's proof readers for that matter, should be able to spell it, as well as observe it.

Another laughable misspelling was cay leu instead of cay neu (a tall bamboo tree that is displayed during Tet, the most important holiday of the year).

I firmly believe that officials at the Education Ministry (and employees at one of the leading publishing houses in the country) should be able to spell. But there again, I'm pernickety.

Doing bird (song)

Prison staff at southern Binh Phuoc Province's detention centre were delighted when inmates took up the rather harmless pursuit of singing together to pass the time. The warden and prison officers felt that regular sing alongs would boost inmates' morale.

So you can imagine how prison staff felt when last July, as 45 prisoners were singing away gaily, seven inmates smashed their way to freedom with a metal bar that had been smuggled into the jail. It transpires that the singing was just a ruse to drown out the noise of the hammering.

Unfortunately for the seven escapees, they were recaptured after five months and had their sentences extended for between four and seven years.

I'm reliably informed that prison staff no longer encourage group singing sessions.

Monkey business

Monkeys living on Cu Lao Cham Island, just off the coast of central Hoi An Town, are protected, and those found hunting or harming the primates face time in custody.

It seems word has got back to the monkeys that they are above the law because they run amok on the island with impunity, ransacking local residents' houses, stealing food (or anything else they can get their hands on) and generally being a nuisance.

The monkeys' anti-social antics have led to numerous complaints by islanders, and local officials are scratching their heads trying to find a solution.

Meanwhile, islanders are forced to look on powerlessly as the monkeys continue to their looting spree – and make a monkey out of Hoi An City officials. — VNS

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