Funny experience with languages

J.C.   Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:34 am GMT
Have you ever tried to say something and the listener understood another thing?

When I first came to Japan to study in 1994 I wanted to buy some cover for my books which was called "contact" and was made in Germany so I went to a store to look for the same type of book cover. Turns out that when I said I want to buy "contact" at a store the shop person thought I was referring to "contact lenses" even though I had explained I was looking for a plastic cover for books.

Another blooper in my study of languages was also when I was living in Okinawa in 1994 and talked to the students dorm office, where a lovely lady from Peru worked. I went there in order to borrow an "iron", which is "plancha" in Spanish but I insisted on borrowing a "fierro" (hierro) because Iron in Portuguese is "ferro".

My first blooper in Chinese was when I tried to say "I want to learn Chinese" but messed up with the tone for "I think", which is 想 (xiang3) and the guy understood I wanted to go the city of "XIAN".

Either way, let's entertain each other by sharing our darkest secrets in the process of learning and mastering a foreign language!!!

Thank you!!
Maga   Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:13 am GMT
When I was first using English I thought 'gay' meant 'happy'. Someone asked me how I was and I replied "I'm feeling pretty gay today". Well, it happened that my interlocutor and that word had more than a little in common. In the end, it led to a new experience, and in the end I was glad I didn't know the meaning of that word. I still pretend to repeat that mistake time to time with similar results.
Guest   Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:53 am GMT
One day in china, I wanted to buy 4 bananas, but cinstead if saying 4 "Si in tone of the "Si 四“ (4 in chinese)I said " Si 死” (means Die). I confuse with the tone.
J.C.   Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:18 pm GMT
"When I was first using English I thought 'gay' meant 'happy'"
Actually I have a problem saying "je suis trés gais¨in French because I have the word with another meaning on my mind...Isn't it better to say "heureux"?

J.C.   Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:20 pm GMT
"Si in tone of the "Si 四“ (4 in chinese)I said " Si 死” (means Die). I confuse with the tone. "
Give me some "killing bananas" is also cool!!! :D
Mrnjav   Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:46 pm GMT
I was strolling down the canal in Venice one evening while a young local girl asked me something with that typical Italian accent and loudness. I couldn't understand a word of what she was saying. Her words sounded like "votta mmisittaa!" After three or four tries I was convinced she was trying to say "do you want to visit old town?", like kids that haunt you in Morocco. Only when she resorted to body language did I realize she was saying "what time is it?" We had a laugh. I still have a laugh occasionally, like now.
PARISIENNE   Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:31 pm GMT
Probably she was from Latium, not from Venice. "votta mmisittaa" is the typical Roman accent.
suffragetta   Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:38 pm GMT
Une parisienne qui sait reconnait l'accent du Latium à travers une transcription anglaise??! Cela me dérange :-)
12345   Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:22 pm GMT
When I was in Wallonia with some friends we had to speak French.

One of my friends said after he couldn't understand the French too much:
Je suis hollandaise!

That was kinda funny