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"Oops, that's not what I meant!"..Language boo boos

"Oops, that's not what I meant!"..Language boo boos

Old Jun 17th, 2003, 08:34 PM
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While in in Italy, an attorney friend known for occasionally butchering English, had decided to try some Italian, with interesting results.

In Italian, there can be a significant difference between a double vs. single consonent. This difference is often difficult for speakers of English.

So, in a fancy restaurant in Bellagio, he announced: "This pasta is so great. When we get back to home, let's open a restaurant called Peni di Como!" I suspect he announced his intention to open a restaurant called Penises of Como rather than something referring to the popular pasta dish. It remains to be seen whether such a restaurant would attract those interested in a meal. ;-)



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Old Jul 11th, 2003, 07:16 PM
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ttt
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Old Jul 12th, 2003, 01:33 PM
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This one is not mine but rather an interresting business related oops... Honda had a smallish carmodel that they want to relase in the Scandinavian market. The only problem was that the car was called "Fitta" which for those that know any Scandinavian language will tell you might not be such a good idea (It's slang for the female private parts

Cobos
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Old Jul 13th, 2003, 08:17 PM
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These are wonderful!!

One that has long stuck in my mind was a conversation I had in high school with my friends VERY VERY conservative Lebanese father...he's been in the U.S. for a long time, so normally his English is wonderful. He asked me what I was going to study in college, and I told him journalism. He began to lecture me on being sure I want to do this, as journalists deal with some very hard topics, by way of asking me how I would handle controversial topics. So you can imagine how very very hard it was for me, at 16, to stiffle my giggles (and pretend I didn't know what he'd accidentally said) when he tested my "tough subject" mettle by asking me "Do you think a fetus is a living Orgasm?"

The second story I have is more about ignorance of a countries foods...one of my mothers friends tells this story of the first time she ever visited a "big city". Being from a very very small town in Texas, and this being the 60's, there were not any Japanese restaurants around where she grew up. So her first year at college, her roommate invited her to go home with her to San Francisco for a weekend. She was sitting around the living room with the family, who had just decided they would take her out for Japanese food. Turning to her, they said "Sue, do you like Saki?" Sue bent down to the dog who was laying at her feet, started stroking it's head saying, "yeeees, I LOVE Saki!" Through their gales of laughter, they explained to our embarrassed friend Saki was not the dog's name, but a drink.
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Old Jul 13th, 2003, 08:30 PM
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I just remembered two others that I can sadly claim as my own...

In Dallas, there is a restaurant called Mi Cocina that is one of my favorites. One day while driving by it with my sister in law, who is from Mexico, she pointed to it and said "have you eaten there?" and I proceeded to tell her "I LOVE Mi Cocina!"...except not knowing Spanish...and of course not pronouncing it right, I had her rolling when, as it turns out, I actually said "I Love my Pig!"

And then there was the gem time when my brain shut down all service, and stupid me asked her, upon seeing an ad for a festival "When is Cinco de Mayo?"...she still makes fun of me for that.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 02:42 PM
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On a visit in Paris, I asked the young man at the counter in the cinema if I might have a movie poster for my classroom back in the US. He didn't have one, but did ask me if I liked Paris. My mind was racing to retrieve the correct response, and two came to mind--Oui, je m'amuse, and Oui, ca me plait. Unfortunately, in my nervous state, my answer came out "Oui, je me plait". As soon as I turned around to leave, it hit me that I had just said "I please myself". I just hoped I didn't say "I pleasure myself". I think the young man did quite well to keep a straight face. Mine was burning as I took off down the Champs-Elysees.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 03:18 PM
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This one makes me blush even a decade or so later. It's not what I said, but my husband, and not that he mispronounced it, but that my interpretation was a boo-boo.

Scene: New Year's Eve, in the afternoon before that night's party. DH says to me "How about a kip?" Me, with visions of afternoon delight dancing in my head, readily agrees. He leads me to the bedroom, climbs in bed....and starts istantly snoring.

A kip's a nap. Boo-hoo.
 
Old Jul 17th, 2003, 11:15 PM
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Poor dln! Being English, I knew instantly I read your message it would be a disappointing time in bed for you!! We always call a 'nap' a 'kip' in our house when we're off for some zzzzzz. A 'nap' I always think of as being a baby's afternoon sleep.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 04:36 AM
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Thanks, English One! The punchline was, of course, that my English-born husband lapsed into another language--English English! BTW, he's never used that phrase again. It would cause marital discord.
 
Old Aug 7th, 2003, 12:41 PM
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Oh, the things I've heard from English speakers trying their high-school Spanish out on native speakers...!

An early poster noted the --?Está embarazada?-- goof (this is not colloquial Spanish, this ONLY means "Are you pregnant?&quot. You DO hear it! When a man slips up and says -- Ay, !estoy embarazado!-- , hilarity ensues.

Of course, around New Year's, don't make that little slip of wishing someone: -- !Feliz ano nuevo!-- which means "Happy New Anus!!" Another one I hear a lot. It's Feliz año nuevo....

When admiring furniture in Mexico, be careful to note that "Ese armario tiene cojines grandes" (that armoire has large drawers), not "Ese armario tiene cojones grandes" (that cabinet has big balls). Two different things, if you will....
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Old Aug 12th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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once I wanted to say to a French woman
that she was very sensitive so I said
"tu sents beaucoup" which literally means "you stink a lot".
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Old Aug 12th, 2003, 05:35 PM
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I just heard this story from my sister who lives in Germany near the borders of France and Switzerland. She had taken a train recently and lost her glasses (in a case) which had fallen off her lap. She called her husband at home and he met the train on its return trip and went on board her carriage to look for the glasses. There were a number of French people in the car. My brother-in-law is German and didn't remember the word for glasses in French, so substituted the English word and went through the car asking people if he could look under their seats "pour chercher les "glass" (glaces) de ma femme" (my wife's icecreams). Apparently he was looked at very oddly, and his children told him later what he had said.
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Old Aug 12th, 2003, 08:17 PM
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not quite embarrasing -- all the same, while my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Italy last year, we were desperately trying to find a particular restaurant recommendar by Fodorites (of course). I ended up requesting directions of a local in French (which I speak quite well), my husband repeating it rather adamantly in the same language (which he doesn't speak). Fortunately we had found someone who speaks both French and Italian and gives us directions (and I, not realising I'd given the request in French am rather surprised I could understand every word she said!).

Another funny moment (at least now) was when I lived with a Swiss family and they mentioned that we were having horse for dinner. At the time, it took me a while not only to comprehend what they were saying, but also to comprehend that it wasn't a joke.
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Old Aug 12th, 2003, 11:36 PM
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I was in Switzerland and I was introduced to the relatives of my Swiss friend. It turned out my friend's aunt was coming down with the flu, and I said to her "Nehmen Sie Drogen?" I meant to say, Are you taking any medicine. Instead, Drogen means drugs in German.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 12:00 AM
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The italian for healthy is "sano".
After a couple of days with a light flu, in a crowded restaurant with friends in San Diego, I assured proudly : " I am sane, now !".
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Old Aug 15th, 2003, 08:56 AM
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My Italian professor asked me if I'd done my homework.

I replied, "no, professore; sono una male donna." (I'm a bad girl)

Of course, he informed me that I'd just admitted to prostitution.
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Old Aug 15th, 2003, 06:25 PM
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I have a friend from England that came to stay with me in Texas. He said that he wanted to go shopping and buy his father braces. Thinking he was insane I asked what are you talking about. He said braces the things that hold up pants. I said oh you mean suspenders. He said I'm not buying my father suspenders. Suspenders in England are a garter belt.

The funniest one I've ever heard though is that my father was on a flight from Dallas to Atlanta GA and this guy across the aisle asked the stewardess if the plane was going to Mucunga. And she said she didn't know but she'd go ask. So she comes back and says nobody knows where Mucunga is. Where is it? So at this point the guy shows her this paper and it says MACON GA.
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Old Jan 11th, 2004, 06:54 PM
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This thread is hilarious!!

Last week in Normandy I thought I was asking for the check by saying "l'addition, s'il vous plait" so was surprised when the waitress came back with a cup of steamed milk. We figured out that with my very poor accent she must have thought I asked for lait (milk) chaud (hot)!

A previous post reminded me of this story....When I was about 13 my family went to England from Australia to visit my cousins (who were about my age). When we met, my Australian mother immediately told my male cousin that he was "very spunky." That caused my cousins to dissolve into gales of laughter and run from the room...we later found out that "spunky" means something very different in England than it does in Australia. My mother was just trying to tell him he was handsome. In England "spunk" is...well there's no subtle way to say it: semen.
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Old Jan 12th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Last fall in Ireland we went to a pub and after looking over the menu my husband (who is very "south&quot pointed to a meal and wanting to know if it was a lot of food or not asked "will i get stuffed if i order this"?
well, apparently 'stuffed" in the UK means "sex". - yikes - did he get a funny look---the waitress had never heard that american expression - only the UK version.

In Mexico we saw a lot of signs that said "No Tocar" (which we interpereted as "don't touch&quot
Mexican men in the tourist towns can be a little 'grabby' so my Sister-in-law and i kept saying "no tocar".
from my understanding (and correct me if i'm wrong) but, that means "don't touch the merchandise" - yikes!
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Old Jan 12th, 2004, 10:21 PM
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When I first moved to Italy I was very amused how so many profanities revolve around pork as in "porco" and dog (cane). I heard them used frequently around town and I thought it was another way of saying "Oh darn". DH's grandmother set me straight one night when the local priest was over for dinner and I dropped a dish on my foot. I used these words. She was not amused. The priest almost died laughing.
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