Hot Hogs – a Lesson in Linguistics

What are hot hogs?

A friend from Germany, after visiting the US for a month and traveling around California, sent a hasty email to Trisha from the airport, just before boarding the plane. He talked about their travels and adventures and signed off:

Hot Hogs,

<his name>


We think it was supposed to mean “Warm Hugs” but in the rush, the translation went off track.

There is a distinct difference between warm and hot in English. Warm regards, warm hugs, warm wishes have a certain, well, warm meaning. Hot, in contrast, has a different connotation. Either it’s something illegal, like a hot product, or something undesirable, like a hot potato, or something sexual, like a hot date or a hot chick.

Hogs and hugs just replaces one character by pure accident but elicits a vastly different message, one so much off subject that the meaning is not recognizable.

How is this for a massage about languages?

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