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Charlotteisms
by Walt Dinteman

Walter L. Dinteman, of Stege, Denmark is a self-described West Virginian married to a Viking woman.

Attending public school in Denmark during the 40's and 50's, one would not have been taught English as a second language, as it is today. Charlotte attended school at this time.

Later, training as a nurse and mid-wife, the English language was not part of her training. She learned the Jutland dialect while working in western Denmark. Working in Sweden , she became proficient in Scandinavian. Woking as a mid-wife in Saudi Arabia, delivering babies with Arab speaking patients, she learned some Arabic.

Her knowledge of English came from speaking with bi-lingual co-workers, TV programs, and reading books in English.

Occasionally her English conversation includes words that sound almost like what they mean. Since she had never heard of Mrs. Malaprop, therefore not influenced by malapropisms, I call her original words and phrases Charlotteisms.

"I just spoke to a woman who is looking for old bottoms. She said they might be interesting" (buttons)

Charlotteís potted tree was not growing because its pot was too small. "I bought a larger pot and new soul for it." (soil)

"The heating bill for the house should be low this winter because the new house is well isolated." (insulated)

"Can I borrow your swizzors?" (scissors)

"If itís a good cow, it can give good sticks." (steaks)

"You can see water on the road, little piles of water." (puddles)

"He was an old man when he invaded the Leggo System." (invented)

"Heís a soap contractor." (sub-contractor)

"I put three bottoms on your pajamas." (buttons)

"The grandparents had an inference on us as children." (Influence)

"The population is much tighter here." (Pollution - air - is stronger)

When driving a car, Charlotte is absent-mind about gear shifting. Once when the RPM was high and speed low, I reminded her to shift to a higher gear. She replied, "Well, I canít do everything in one day."

We often stayed the weekend with Charlotteís brother-in-law when visiting Copenhagen, except when he had guests. Charlotte said, "It is sometimes difficult to sleep with Christian when we go to Copenhagen." (sleep at)

"So many bottoms. Itís difficult to find the one you need." Looking for a button in a jar of buttons.

"We are having wheel for dinner." (veal)

"He heritated his motherís house." (inherited)

"I would wash your sweater, but it might scrimpt." (shrink)

"She made a dairy everyday." (she wrote in a diary everyday)

"Do you have a hug for the red painting?" (a picture hanger, hook)

"Sometimes itís not so easy going in the back." (putting the gear into reverse)

"They canít go any faster, the wings." (rain was belting the windshield heavily. The windshield wipers were almost ineffective.)

Awakening to find she had overslept, she said, "I didnít hear the alarm. I must have been asleep."

"You must go to the dentist. The cave will only get bigger." (cavity)

The cat limped into the room. "Look, heís lumping!"

"Joseph went up on the mountain and made ten commitments."

"She was hiding behind a pillow." (pillar)

"You have lost weight. Have you been on the waiting scale?" (weighing scale)

"Did you see the thunder? It was lightening up." (lighting the landscape)

Walter had closed his eyes while waiting for his appointment with a female dental surgeon in the dental clinic. Charlotte said, "You can sleep when the doctor seduces you." (anaesthetizes)

"The new rose will blow up today." (bloom)

"See the rain? Itís bumping up." (raindrops splashing)

Observing the tired cat stretched out on the sofa, Charlotte commented, "Heís really seduced." (subdued)

Light was subdued in an art museum to protect fragile art work. Light would fade them. Charlotte said, "One picture was almost fainted away." (faded)

Concerning the baker Ė Ďthey donít bake more than they think they will sell.í Charlotte said, "They donít bake as much as they sell."

Choking on a bread crumb, Charlotte said, "I got something in the wrong direction."

Charlotte, returning from the market, said, "I have good buns." "Yes you do," I replied. She had purchased hamburger buns.

Charlotteís daughter was ill. "She had forty centigrees temperature." (degrees centigrade)

"Do you have a feeling for this pen?" ( replacement ball-point pen cartridge)

"The temperature will be between one and five centigrees." (degrees centigrade)

"The storm was so bad, the flight couldnít get on the wings." This one really confused me, referring to the volume of rain on the carís windshield was too much for the wipers to be effective.

Human body parts were found at a crime scene. Charlotte said, " Her body was departed." (dismembered)

Charlotte was administering a pill to a struggling cat. Holding the cat with both hands, she asked me to check if the cat had swallowed the pill. "See if he really sunk it."

The weather was bad. In reference to wearing the proper clothes, she said, "I donít go out without clothes."

"What are you drinking?" I asked. "Itís elderly berry juice." (elderberry)

"They have an onion that guarantees quality." (union)

"It was difficult for them to get out of their insulation." (isolation)



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