Last week we shared a post from VOA intern Matthew Kopfer, who talked about common mistakes Russians make when learning English, and why some of them are very funny to Americans.
Since then, some of you have shared your own funny mistakes, or ones you’ve heard your friends make. Sure, no one likes to make a mistake, but being able to laugh at yourself when it happens makes learning way more fun!
Once a road in a rural township was under construction and it was supposed to be asphalted. While US military convoy crossing the area, the road was blocked. The American Soldier asked his interpretor that why the is blocked, the interpretor doesn’t understand how to tell the word asphalt, he translates the word “Pukhtan” from his native language which means cooking. He respond his U.S soldier that “A road company is cooking the road”.
Once in Germany, our friend wanted to invite us to a party, final party. and he used word finishing party
Yosra told a story about a receptionist who asked his American client where he should “bark” his car (meaning to say park). The client told him to bark anywhere he wanted, and the receptionist parked the car anywhere – where it was then picked up by the police:
whene the director of the hotel know the story from the client who complained ofcourse he fired the boy who cannot diffrenciate between park and bark
A similar discussion has been going on at ExchangesConnect (connect.state.gov), where people who have done exchanges in the US or from the US to another country have been sharing their embarrassing stories of cultural miscommunications. Here’s one of my favorites:
I still remember the time I was with one of my Czeck friends in American High School..where there was a trend of students asking others “whats up”… So, once someone asked us “whats up”..and my Czeck friend abruptly replied “CEILING”
If it happens to you, just remember this advice from blogger Jose Navarro:
Mispronouncing some words when you’re with friends is funny most of the times … Guess what? People like people that make them smile!
Here’s one that happened to me when I was abroad in France. I was taking a dance class that was supposed to last an hour. It ran long, and I couldn’t remember how to politely tell the teacher that I had to leave. So I ran over to my bag to pull out my French dictionary (a little electronic thing that looked a bit like a Gameboy) and figure it out. The teacher caught me and scolded me for taking out my cell phone during class. When I said that it was actually a dictionary, of course he asked what word I was looking up. I felt terrible and blushed really hard as I had to admit to him that the word was “se terminer” (to end, as in, when is this class going to end).