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Old 01-02-2017, 12:29 AM
 
636 posts, read 196,855 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Kopf Knopf - see, that's the problem with foreign languages - way too easy to make a simple mistake!
Small pet peeve - it's just as easy in English.
"I'd like to ride on your boat"
"I'd like to ride on your boa"



My embarrassing story:
I was in Greece. I was meeting a friend, but I didn't have a Greek cell phone. She'd taught me how to say "Excuse me, can I borrow your phone". I was on the subway and I got jostled and bumped into a woman and my hand touched her inappropriately. I blurted out, "Sorry, sorry" and tried to say "excuse me" in Greek, but under pressure I only managed "efharisto"
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Old 01-02-2017, 05:20 PM
 
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
1,407 posts, read 1,413,726 times
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Once in Munich, when I used the german word for 'bathroom' when I was trying to mean 'toilet'.
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:53 PM
Status: "Answer not a fool's folly, lest ye be like him." (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
36,376 posts, read 27,334,946 times
Reputation: 49281
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckOfMs View Post
Small pet peeve - it's just as easy in English.
"I'd like to ride on your boat"
"I'd like to ride on your boa"



My embarrassing story:
I was in Greece. I was meeting a friend, but I didn't have a Greek cell phone. She'd taught me how to say "Excuse me, can I borrow your phone". I was on the subway and I got jostled and bumped into a woman and my hand touched her inappropriately. I blurted out, "Sorry, sorry" and tried to say "excuse me" in Greek, but under pressure I only managed "efharisto"
Yes, it's just as easy in most languages - hence the thread!

Greek sounds easier than "endschuldigung sie, bitte," which is what most of my conversations in Germany started off with. I just started saying it as default because I knew whatever was about to happen, I was probably going to need to apologize for SOMETHING I did or said wrong. So I just started all conversations with the German version of a mea culpa!
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:59 PM
Status: "Answer not a fool's folly, lest ye be like him." (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
36,376 posts, read 27,334,946 times
Reputation: 49281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabio SBA View Post
Once in Munich, when I used the german word for 'bathroom' when I was trying to mean 'toilet'.
Here's what got me through Germany most of the time (pretty sure these aren't spelled correctly OR used correctly but hey, it worked):

"Endschuldigung sie, bitte."

"Wo ist de toilette?"

"Was kostet es?"

"Wie alt ist das?" Or just (confused American look as I stood in a shabby antique store that would be a freaking museum in the US) "Wie alt?" People always seemed to have mercy on me.

"Eine bier, bitte."

"Verzeihen Sie mir, ich bin ein Amerikaner."
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Old 01-04-2017, 06:56 PM
 
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
1,407 posts, read 1,413,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Here's what got me through Germany most of the time (pretty sure these aren't spelled correctly OR used correctly but hey, it worked):

"Endschuldigung sie, bitte."

"Wo ist de toilette?"

"Was kostet es?"

"Wie alt ist das?" Or just (confused American look as I stood in a shabby antique store that would be a freaking museum in the US) "Wie alt?" People always seemed to have mercy on me.

"Eine bier, bitte."

"Verzeihen Sie mir, ich bin ein Amerikaner."
The word "Toilette", I replaced it with "Badezimmer"... the concierge of the hotel even looked to me with as if he had a question mark in the forehead and shaked the fingers above the head, as simulating a bath... then, I realised that I said a bull****... and quickly replied: "Nein, nein, Entschuldigung! Die Toilette, die Toilette!".

In German as in every other language it's excusable to confuse the genders of the words, the declensions (as both Portuguese and English lack them)... but using a word instead of another makes sometimes people laugh...
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:03 PM
 
3,908 posts, read 2,230,956 times
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I haven't done anything too embarrassing except to me. One day in Mexico the wind (viente) blew my door shut and I had to go ask for a master key. I told them the window (ventana) came and blew my door shut. By the end of my visit he was asking me to just speak English.


I did get scolded once in a college class though when I told a Castilian speaking professor, "no importa" to mean "it doesn't matter." He said it was a very rude way to address him. My previous instructor was a doctor who had learned his Spanish from the natives in Ecuador.


My mother took the prize when she came home from a summer school class and told me that her dance partner was Hispanic and that he had trouble following directions because of the language barrier. "Then" she said, "he gets upset with me and says, 'Wrong feets, wrong feets!'" But she said she stayed polite with him and just said, "Escusado."


I thought we'd both die laughing when I told her she had called him a toilet.
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:06 PM
 
3,308 posts, read 2,159,987 times
Reputation: 2835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
I haven't done anything too embarrassing except to me. One day in Mexico the wind (viente) blew my door shut and I had to go ask for a master key. I told them the window (ventana) came and blew my door shut. By the end of my visit he was asking me to just speak English.


I did get scolded once in a college class though when I told a Castilian speaking professor, "no importa" to mean "it doesn't matter." He said it was a very rude way to address him. My previous instructor was a doctor who had learned his Spanish from the natives in Ecuador.


My mother took the prize when she came home from a summer school class and told me that her dance partner was Hispanic and that he had trouble following directions because of the language barrier. "Then" she said, "he gets upset with me and says, 'Wrong feets, wrong feets!'" But she said she stayed polite with him and just said, "Escusado."



I thought we'd both die laughing when I told her she had called him a toilet.
Your mom wins for funniest story.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:18 PM
 
Location: USA
536 posts, read 752,734 times
Reputation: 378
Quote:
Originally Posted by deneb78 View Post
I remember trying to speak Spanish to someone once and said to them "estoy embarazado" to mean I am embarrassed... lets just say they got a good laugh because I am a dude
LOL!

Where I was born (Ecuador), "estoy avergonzado", is of common use.

Carry on.

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Old 01-11-2017, 01:21 PM
 
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
1,407 posts, read 1,413,726 times
Reputation: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by deneb78 View Post
I remember trying to speak Spanish to someone once and said to them "estoy embarazado" to mean I am embarrassed... lets just say they got a good laugh because I am a dude
This is also a common mistake for native portuguese speakers. In Portuguese, "embaraçado" really means "embarassed".
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Hamburg, Deutschland
1,218 posts, read 453,329 times
Reputation: 1699
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabio SBA View Post
The word "Toilette", I replaced it with "Badezimmer"... the concierge of the hotel even looked to me with as if he had a question mark in the forehead and shaked the fingers above the head, as simulating a bath... then, I realised that I said a bull****... and quickly replied: "Nein, nein, Entschuldigung! Die Toilette, die Toilette!".
One can simply say "WC", a short for "water closet". Just remember to pronounce it the German way, as ve-tze, not the English way.

One blunder I can think of now, is talking to someone in German about going roller skating and saying "Nur vergiss nicht, Verhütung mitzubringen". I meant "don't forget to bring protection" of course, but "Verhütung" usually refers to means of birth control.
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