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Funny excerpts from foreign language coursebooks


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I was reading about some of the crazy sentences that Duolingo offers sometimes, and I remembered a lot of absolutely hilarious examples of (mostly not intended) stupid sounding sentences from various coursebooks.

When I started to learn Polish with some obscure "teach-yourself-in-three-months" book (and that was back in 2007 - not 80s or something), I was treated to lovely dialogues of this kind:

- Hello, are you going to the shop?

- Yes, I need to stand in the queue for several hours. I will get meat! Real meat!

- Oh, it's so hard to get meat! You will be lucky!

Obviously the authors kinda thought Poland was still in the Socialist times, and the book was published around 2005!

Then there are numerous "sample dialogues" meant to teach you something and they sound so unnatural that it just makes you laugh. In my second Polish coursebook, from Berlitz I think, they started off with dialogues that I just couldn't help giggling to. It's a pity I don't have the book anymore to quote it word for word. But the dialogues went something like:

- Do you want to go to the cinema?

- Yes, I do. I want to go to the cinema.

- So you want to go to the cinema?

- Yes, I want to go to the cinema.

- I am happy you want to go the cinema. When will we go to the cinema?

- Let's go to the cinema tomorrow. Do you want to go to the cinema tomorrow?

Always reminds me of the terrific Monty Python sketch from "How To Irritate People": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aUbGGFySdU

Do you have examples of such strange/funny parts from your foreign language textbooks? If yes, please share!


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To start it off, here are some real-life examples taken from Russian textbooks for foreigners learning Russian :)

I've translated some of them into English so you could have a laugh too. I've kept the site's comments too :)

The full list is  here: http://www.adme.ru/zhizn-marazmy/sumasshedshie-uchebniki-russkogo-dlya-inostrancev-776010/

Choose symptoms and diagnosis. Create dialogues according to this example:
- I have constant headaches.
- You shouldn't study Russian

// Because to study Russian you need to have clear mind and a sturdy head.

This is a tiger-daddy, tiger-mummy and their tiger-son.
And where is grandma Nastya?

// When you have three tigers, your grandma may disappear just like that.

Vegetarians eat only fruit.
All illnesses come from hunger.
The one who eats a lot lives longer.
It's not true that vegetarians love animals, they just hate vegetables.
Hitler was a vegetarian.
To be healthy, you need to eat a lot and sleep a lot.
Dostoevsky was a vegetarian.
If someone is starving, they have a red face.
Alcohol trains your willpower.
Lent is a period when Buddhists don't eat fruit.

// Just say good-bye to logic.

Zoya Borisovna is not getting any salary... but she goes on working.
// This German coursebook knows Russian reality quite well.

We are not Albanians
- Mummy, what language do Estonians speak?
- Estonians speak Estonian.
- What language do Albanians speak?
- Albanians speak Albanian.
- Do I speak Albanian?
- No, you don't speak Albanian.
- Do you or daddy speak Albanian?
- No, we don't speak Albanian.
- Why?
- Because we are not Albanians.

// I wonder what else this child may ask...

Illnesses in Russian
You have a cold/ a flu/ throat inflammation/ allergy/ hangover.
You are tired/pregnant.

// Looks like we don't have that many health problems.

- What did you beat your husband with?
- First with hands and legs, and then with chair.
- Serves him right. Good job! It's his own fault anyway.

// Just a normal, daily situation.

- Is the coursebook here?
- Yes, it is.
- Is the notebook here?
- Yes, it is.
- Is the pencil here?
- Yes, it is.
- Are the cigarettes here?
- Yes, they are?
- And vodka?
- Unfortunately, it's not here.

// What a pity.

- Hello, my name is Dmitry Tikhonov, I'm a journalist, I work for "St Petersburg" channel. Who do you think this is? It's a football star Andrey Begunov.
Andrey, is this your family? Is this your wife? Is this your son? Are these your medals? Is this your team? Is this your coach? Is this your car? Is this your autograph?
- Yes.
- Thank you for the interview!

// The perfect interview in its entirety.

I used to like going to the university but now I prefer to dance in a club, to walk in a park, to think about work. At work I'm giving interesting lectures but stupid students don't attend them. Sometimes I take drugs and then students say that my lectures are great and they want to listen to them some more.
// A typical Russian professor.

- What did you buy in the shop?
- I bought some vodka.
- Do you buy vodka often?!
- Of course not! No, I've bought it today because I've just passed all of my exams. That merits a celebration.

// Small celebration of a typical Russian girl.

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