In which some things get cleared up

This week has been a week of pronunciation mix-ups slightly reminiscent of a 1970s British sitcom. In one of my classes I was teaching language to use for the internet. Two students had a conversation practise, which went something like:
“What do you use the internet for?” (the practise question.)
1st student, excitable salaryman in his 40s: “I use it to do my wanking!”
2ns student, trainee buddhist monk and keen yoga enthusiast, good at English: “Wanking?”
1st: “Yes, wanking, anytime is convenient, day or night.”
2nd: “Banking?”
1st: “Yes, online banking.”

Also, I found out that I had been mispronouncing the word ‘curry.’ In Japanese, this word is written in katakana, the alphabet used for foreign imported words; they use the English word ‘curry’, although it is written as “ka-re” and pronounced something like kah-ray. However, lots of things are written like that, eg オレンジジュース ‘oh-ren-ji-jyuu-so’ and, although they say the word as it is written in Japanese they will understand the English pronunciation also. Not so with curry, which would always be met with blank stares until I said ‘kah-ray’. Well, I found out that there is a reason why they don’t write it transliteratively – the Japanese slang for clitoris is ‘kuh-ri’. Turns out I’ve been asking the man in the shop for the wrong sort of ramen for nearly two years.

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