Take your medication romanTake a short vacation romanYou’ll be okayStop it mother pleaseYou need to know your station romanSome alterations on and your clothes and your preyGet me out of here motherTake a little break little romeFrom the silence in your soulThere’s so much you can takeYou can take I know how bad you need a roman holiday Roman holiday
Here’s the first part of the lyrics from Nicki Minaj’s latest song, Roman Holiday;
And there is a student sitting in front of me telling me he can’t write a song in English. He writes songs and even has his own band in Japan.
The student claims his attempt to write English songs fails because they don’t sound lyrical but rather sound like series of proper sentences.
The conversation with him took me back to 2002 when I asked my teacher from England to explain about lyrics of Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones.
Now I have to look back and laugh what a serious student I was.
I pointed out the line “I can’t get no satisfaction” to the teacher saying it is double-negative.
“Doesn’t that mean they are satisfied althought they don’t sound like it at all?”
$14,000 and 2 years later, he thew his hands up in the air and gave me an answer I would never forget.
“The English language doesn’t make sense, Yukari. “
And of course, sarcasm was a foreign concept to me then that later took me years to figure out. I’m glad the teacher didn’t even try to go there.
To this day, I still don’t feel comfortable with my English. English seems like a very sensitive language to me.
People say Mandarine is a difficult language to learn in which tones can change meanings.
But how do you go about English that gives completely different meanings for “make up” and “make out” and when you say “cut,” the verb can be in past, present or present perfect tense, and “lead” can be read in two different ways and what’s worse, “produce” can be a verb or a noun and changes its position of accent depending on it.
Now, aren’t you pround of yourself even you don’t speak Mandarine?
When I was given this space to write my thoughts, I asked the editor that I would feel more comfortable if someone checked my writings like he did on the print.
He said I could ask him to check but he added “…but do you know how much space New York Times uses for corrections every issue?”
So I decided to give the student an advice from my experience.
Next time I just show him lyrics of Roman Holiday. After all, it’s a song Minaj performed at Grammy Award celemony and as much as people complained about her performance, no one opposed to the lyrics making no sense.