Last Wednesday, 29th February, I was walking past a newly renovated building at the western end of Klimentská, the street in which St. Clement’s Church is located, when I spotted the graphic design work illustrated in the photograph on the left above, with the blatant misspelling of the word ‘coming’. Later that evening, I posted the photo on Facebook, asking what it cost to create the artwork and why those who commissioned it were not willing to spend a few more Czech crowns by asking a native English-speaker to check their text.
My posting on Facebook has since attracted 14 comments, many of them humorous. But one of the most telling was that of Karen who remarked, ‘When a luxury place can’t spell, they look cheap!’ That was my immediate reaction too, as soon as I saw it.
What I didn’t say when I posted the photo on Facebook was that, as I stared incredulously at this absurd error, two young ladies came out of the building and saw me with a look of amazement on my face. So I said to them in English, “Do you realise how stupid that looks?” To be fair, once I pointed the mistake out to them, they both immediately acknowledged that there was a serious spelling error.
My past experience when I have pointed out examples of Czenglish, is that the perpetrators rarely see any reason to correct what they have previously written or printed. Therefore I was most surprised that when, 48 hours later, I once more walked past the building, the spelling error had been corrected as can be seen in the right-hand photograph.
On close inspection, I realised that, rather than going to the expense of completely re-doing the artwork, instead a sticker had been made with ‘coming’ correctly spelt, and placed over the previous error. But I have to say that, of all the examples of Czenglish that I have previously highlighted, this is the first one I have ever seen corrected. I just hope it isn’t the last!