A medley of mistakes in a foreign language

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Comments

Caroline, Winchester UK 2011-10-10

I worked in Antwerp in 1996. I returned to the office after lunch and someone asked me to do something. I MEANT to say "wait till I hang up my coat" but I got the syntax wrong and said "wait till I hang myself with my coat"!

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Claire, Hants 2011-08-15

This can happen the other way around...
Picture the scene. A summer's evening in a town near the River Test. A German exchange student at dinner with the entire English family (grandparents included).
She is describing in excellent English how in Germany, people are referred to by the river rather than a town e.g. Rhoners.
'So,' she continues, 'that would make you all Testes!' and smiles brightly around the table amid guffaws and desperate attempts to explain the translation....

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Anonymous 2011-08-06

For three years running in Greece my husband had been asking waiters if they would like a drink - what will you have? He never had any response apart from strange looks until a Greek bartender who spoke very good English told him that he had been asking - Would you like a sheepskin coat! In temperatures above 80!

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Peter, UK 2011-08-01

The scene: a hotel restaurant in Tunisia, where the best choice for British tourists with no Arabic is to use their school French.

A fly visits our table and dives into a glass of water, then thinks better of it and departs. We'd like a new glass, so call over the waiter and tell him that "Il y a un magot dans la verre" (we forgot our past tense too). After much hilarity and miming of the fly "buzzing off" accompanied by "oui, un magot", the bemused waiter decided to just fetch the British lunatics a new glass. The French family at the next table then stopped laughing long enough to tell us that "a magot is a monkey - a fly is a mouche".

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Eva, Vancouver Canada 2011-07-10

While on holiday in Turkey, I made a few people laugh when I said I was going to the PKK (Kurdish insurgent group) to post some post cards. I actually went to the PTT (I think it means post telephone and telegraph). Fortunately most Turks have a wonderful sense of humour.

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VĂ­ctor, Izmir 2011-06-06

While on vacation with a Turkish friend and her family, they told me that sea urchins are called "sea chestnuts" (deniz kestanesi) in Turkish, I found it funny and wanted to explain that in most European languages they are called "sea hedgehogs", unfortunately, instead of saying "deniz kirpisi" I said "deniz kirpiÄźi" which means "sea eyelash".

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person 2011-05-25

hilarious vid!!!!!!!!
























It intrigues my dark side.

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Carola, US 2011-04-18

Although I am currently studying French, as an English speaker studying Spanish many years ago, I remember being even more embarrassed when I tried to say that I was embarrrassed and instead told someone that I was pregnant. (Spanish: embarazada...pregnant) Easily understood error!

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Lala, France 2011-04-08

We lived in Scotland for a while and a friend of mine wanted to buy "grated cheese" but she used the French word "râpé" with a more English sound like "raped". It was so funny to see how strange and bewildered the shopkeeper looked at us !!! Now I remember both words and... their meaning !

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Sonia JS, Pakistan 2011-01-05

I learned Italian at the University of Karachi for four years but as a any learner, I would mix up words. Our teacher, an Italian lady, was also my incharge since I had also started to volunteer as an assistant to her. One day, she asked me to get some forms signed from the faculty office for her. I returned from the faculty offices and told her in Italian that she would need some other papers too because she was a 'strana'.
And that patient teacher that had never been angry gave me a stern look and corrected me coldly 'straniera'. 'Strana' means a strange woman while the correct word straniera means a foreigner.
I think telling anybody that he/she is strange in fourth year of collaboration certainly produces a reaction, let alone hers.

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