5
   

Embarazado while learning a new language.

 
 
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 04:55 pm
For those who don't know, "Embarazado" doesn't mean "embarrased". It means pregnant as I (and many other students of Spanish) learned the hard way--

I was with a group of friends dancing in a circle at a party. Each couple would take a turn dancing in the center of the circle. One of my female friends tried to drag me in the center to dance with her and I announced that "No quiero bailar porque estoy embarazado" (i.e. I don't want to dance...). The laughter was even more embarassing (which I still didn't know how to express.

But this isn't my best story.

I spent a summer studying Spanish in Xela, a small city in Guatemala. The advantage of this was it is not a tourist city.... if you leave the small student center, most of the businesses don't speak English (which is a benefit if you are trying to learn).

But somehow I had missplaced the comb I had packed and felt confident enough to go to a local pharmacy to purchase a new one. What I wanted to say to the man behind the counter was "Tiene un peine? (do you have a comb)".

What I ended up saying was "Tiene un pene? (do you have a penis). This got a very strange reaction that I didn't understand until I returned to the language school. The college students who worked as tutors in the school thought this was quite funny.

Does anyone else have funny stories about learning a new language?
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 05:09 pm
My Spanish is really nothing to write home about, but when I started
out learning, I always mistook "cansado" (being tired) for "casado"
(being married). I would say "estoy casada" (I am married) and one
time added "because I didn't get enough sleep last night" which
made everyone grin quite a bit.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 06:41 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
What I wanted to say to the man behind the counter was "Tiene un peine? (do you have a comb)".

What I ended up saying was "Tiene un pene? (do you have a penis). This got a very strange reaction that I didn't understand until I returned to the language school. The college students who worked as tutors in the school thought this was quite funny.

Does anyone else have funny stories about learning a new language?


A guy I know in Nicaragua was once trying to purchase something for which he lacked one cent. He kept on saying he didn't have a "penny" but they took it to say he didn't have a penis off the same false cognate.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  3  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 07:00 pm
A Mexican friend in Italy went to a bar and asked for coffee and do-nuts.
"Un caffè e una dona", he said.
"I can give you the caffè, but you'll have to find the donna (woman) by yourself", answered the barman.
---
My parents recalled an American friend of theirs, who in New Years Eve toasted: "Feliz ano nuevo" (Happy new annus).
---
And a Mexican friend of mine, trying to learn Serbo-Croatian, once asked, instead of a "chocolate cake", a "pussy cake".
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 07:00 pm
@ebrown p,
Laughing at the thread title.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  3  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 08:04 pm
While my sister was doing the obligatory post graduate backpack across Europe, my mom decided to visit her (mom always invited herself anywhere she thought might be interesting). Anyway; while trying to negotiate a place to stay for the night they had a language problem that went something like this:
Sis: How much to stay the night?
Proprietor: Ich verstehe Sie nicht (Don't understand)
Sis: Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Proprietor: Nein... Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
Sis: Nein... Sprechen Sie Italiano?
Proprietor: Nein...Parlez vous francais?
Sis: (Getting frustrated)Nein sprechen Deutsch!
Mom: (Who only speaks Wisconsin English interupts "Honey..." Sis dismisses Mom with a frustrated gesture.
Sis: Habla Espanol?
Proprietor: (Getting frustrated) No. Parlez vous francais?
Sis: Nein! Nein sprechen Duetch!
Mom: You do too you ass! YOU SPEAK FRENCH!!
It went smooth after that, because my sister does indeed speak French. She was apparently trying too hard to translate German.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 04:24 am
@fbaezer,
When I was a high school science teacher, I looked at the worksheet my friend, a basic-level Spanish teacher, was giving to his students.

The first question was "Cuantos anos tienes?" (how many anuses do you have). Of course ¨Cuantos años tienes¨ (how many years do you have) is the standard way of asking your age.

I joked with him about this he muttered he could figure out how to make the ´ñ´ character and that the kids wouldn´t know the difference anyway.

I made him promise that anyone who gave the correct answer, ¨uno", would get full credit.
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 04:32 am
@ebrown p,
Also from my time at the language school in Guatemala...

A young lady came as a new student, and had apparently been studying a Spanish dictionary on the plane.

When she walked in the room she proclaimed ¨Estoy caliente!¨ These are the words that you will find in the dictionary for ¨I am¨ and ¨hot¨. Unfortunately this phrase will be interpreted by Spanish speakers in the Paris Hilton sense. She turned out to have a very ¨proper¨ personality, but it took her a little while to live down that introduction.

(The idiomatic way to complain about the temperature of the room is ¨tengo calor¨. So much for dictionaries.)
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:23 am
@ebrown p,
In ASL, the sign for "coffee" and "masturbate" are rather similar.

I know SEVERAL people who have messed them up. More or less entertaining according to context. (The ones where young male students ask dignified elderly deaf ladies for, er, coffee, are especially fun.)
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:29 am
@ebrown p,
I once asked at an Italian market for a "fica" instead of a "fico". Fica is apparently slang for girl parts.

My Spanish teacher told me once of her husband asking for a "caballero" instead of a "caballo" at a ranch.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:30 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

In ASL, the sign for "coffee" and "masturbate" are rather similar.

I know SEVERAL people who have messed them up. More or less entertaining according to context. (The ones where young male students ask dignified elderly deaf ladies for, er, coffee, are especially fun.)


Laughing I can see it now... when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is... have a cup of coffee.
0 Replies
 
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Dec, 2014 04:17 pm
Many years ago in an episode of "My Three Sons," Uncle Charlie tries to impress a Spanish-speaking visitor with his language skills by complimenting her hair.
"Que bonito caballo!" he says, instead of "Que bonito cabello." She leaves in disgust after he had said in Spanish "What a pretty horse!"
0 Replies
 
 

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