Speaking Fake English and Other Fake Languages

Have you ever tried to mimic a foreign language? As in: you don’t speak French, Chinese, or German but you attempt to sound like you’re speaking the language?

I’m guilty. I’ve done this on several occasions. This past weekend I made a baby giggle by performing my faux Chinese for him. He loved it. Best thing he’d ever heard in his less-than-one-year-old life. Giggles galore.

There are numerous You Tube clips of people speaking fake English. If you have a few minutes, watch this video. It’s a short film of actors doing a scene in fairly convincing fake English. Fascinating. Here’s one viewer’s comment…

Two other times in my life, I’ve publicly spoken fake langages.

Hotel in Des Moines. I was in high school at the time and was attending a function at a convention center. I don’t remember the function. I don’t even remember why I was there. I do remember my friend Jason and I were extremely bored. In our boredom, we masqueraded as foreigners in the opulent lobby by chatting in a quasi-something language as people walked by. The passers-by either thought “wow, they’re so foreign that I don’t even know where they’re from” or “what’s wrong with them.”

Rehearsal for a Play. A director once had the idea to have the actors focus only on the intent of our lines without using the lines themselves. She told us to use gibberish instead of our actual lines; our communication limited to nonsense sounds and physicalization. It’s a decent idea… until you start cracking up while trying to communicate frustration, joy, and other emotions while looking into your fellow actor’s eyes as he says “gerdarbul ferndig blarstic. Blarstic! Narful blads tog infel daldig rerg. Gowtow.”

Langauges fascinate me. I’m always amazed how humbled and awkward I feel when I’m in a foreign country where everything, including the language, is different from my normal. It’s refreshing to learn again. To communicate in broken sentences. To push through all those mistakes and uncomfortable moments.

Isn’t that what we do each and every time we create? We find our legs again and we start from scratch. We seek to communicate using our chosen language: written words, paint, ingredients, presentations. Sometimes we feel foolish. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes our message may seem like gibberish.

But sometimes we bring a smile. Sometimes our seeming nonsese makes someone laugh. Sometimes we change something in someone. All because we spoke the language that only we can speak.

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • I once recorded my answering machine in several different languages, using Google Translate as a guide.
    One day, this French-speaking person asks me, “Was that French you used in your answering machine? Because it sounded a bit like French, though I didn’t understand a word of it.”

    • Fantastic Jacob. I just might have to try that.

      It might eliminate some telemarketers too.

  • i have a friend and sometimes when we get together we talk with fake British accents, sort of like a different language i guess… we completely bing off each other… we’ve even performed our little act at restaurants… pretty amusing (or so we think)… would make a very embarrassing video… maybe one day 🙂

    • Embarrassing videos are my favorite Chris! Please do make one!

      I’d love to post it if you do. Let me know!

  • This is great stuff. I too am humbled by others language and my inability to communicate properly. (Speaking of which, that was some sentence, huh?)

    But I blame you for the hour I lost tonight YouTubing English/American/gibberish languages.

    • There are worse things to do online. Fascinating huh?

  • This is so funny, I love it. My family started a tradition 15 years ago that wherever we go on vacation we would pick one day where we would all “try” to speak a different language together. It may be a odd tradition but it’s a fun one.