A Windows International-style Ziva-ism

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/06/04 01:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/06/03/3072040.aspx

When English is not one's native language, it can be hard to master all of the slang expressions.

This is something that the CBS series NCIS takes advantage of, with their Mossad Liaison Ziva David (played by Cote de Pablo). It seems there is never an expression she gets right, which strains credulity since more of them probably ought to be right when she tries them, just by random chance. But it still stays funny when it happens. And no one ever really thinks about how hard it is to imagine that one could have such complete command of the idiom while being able to so consistently flub the idiomatic usage....

Apparently her fans call these idiomatic slips Ziva-isms. :-)

Anyway, the NLS team has some of these too, on occasion. So perhaps they are not so rare....

Like earlier this year when a coding milestone was reached and the team was congratulated for reaching the milestone ahead of schedule. One of our non-native English speakers pointed out:

NLS is rocks J

Now one of the other team members, also not an native English speaker, nevertheless did notice the idiom cache miss here, and quickly corrected it:

Yes, we rock ;-)

Unfortunately, he then made a tiny slip of his own while trying to make a joke after recognizing not only the idiom here but another different but related one:

But we are not stones ;-)

(I think he meant to say that although the team rocks, they are not stoned. which does show certain command of idiom even if as few details are missed!)

I daresay, a Windows International-style Ziva-ism!

And in that case, calling it a WIva-ism makes for a nice back-formation, doesn't it? :-)


This post brought to you by ז (U+05d6, a.k.a. HEBREW LETTER ZAYIN)

# Jonny on 4 Jun 2007 2:26 AM:

Or could it have been a reference to the Rolling Stones?

# Peter Karlsson on 4 Jun 2007 3:29 AM:

Idioms in foreign languages are always difficult to master…

BTW, as a Unicode expert, I think you should replace the

<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 18pt; COLOR: #1f497d; FONT-FAMILY: Wingdings">J</SPAN>

(which should display a "J") with

☺ (or &#x263a;)

which should display a smiling face.

# bryan on 4 Jun 2007 4:25 AM:

I think it is just as likely that the pun was worse,

For example:

We cool

in slang means We are cool or, dependent on context, can be everything is cool between us.

So We Rock

can be We are made of Rock, We are Rocks.

Thus it should be pointed out that We are not stones.

# Foo on 4 Jun 2007 4:42 AM:

Ziva-ism rocks;-)

# Nick Lamb on 4 Jun 2007 6:46 AM:

There's no slip there. his joke works as it is, yours is sort of inappropriate, so I expect he intended his joke not yours.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Jun 2007 7:39 AM:


How does that work, exactly?

# Michael Entin on 4 Jun 2007 1:06 PM:

I think he was refering to original "NLS is rocks" - it can be literally read as "NLS is [a pile of] rocks [stones]". So he could be just explaining this is a grammar mistake and NLS is NOT stones - no punt, jokes or references to drugs was intented.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Jun 2007 1:28 PM:

Oh, but that wouldn't be as funny? :-)

# ddebug on 4 Jun 2007 3:22 PM:

Well, so this Hebrew letter zayin...

It reminds me one silly problem I've got yesterday.

I've installed a self made keyboard layout on WinXP, and assigned a shortcut key to it.

Then uninstalled it and, few days (and reboots) later, installed a new version. Now I can't assign the same shortcut key!  Windows says that this key is assigned to some another item. Zayin!

Where these shortcut keys are stored? How to wipe them away?

Is there any simple scripting interface to assign and remove these shortcuts?


# orcmid on 4 Jun 2007 4:47 PM:

Well, stones are idiomatic too.  One place I worked, someone observed to me: "Wow, you'v been here five years and you still haven't been turned into a stone."

So you should ask the original team member what the idea was.  It might not have been about stoned (in the drug-indulging sense) at all.

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