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Language Goofs - Tell us your stories

98 posts / 0 new
Editor .
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 09.10.2018

Depends on the European French, I guess. Some people still pronounce them differently. Paris accent for instance.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

I'm intrigued. How old are you? (no offence intended, really) and what region are you from?

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

I'm lost. The person speaking in the linked video pronounces [pat]. (like patte). Is he from Paris?

Time for some scientific / linguistic studies:

https://francaisdenosregions.com/2018/07/05/une-histoire-da/

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

Parisians seem to be the perfect example of the contrary though. (cf. References linked)

Editor .
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 09.10.2018

I'm 50 and I was originally from the Southeast, then spent most of my time in Paris.
Southerners tend to pronounce all vowels very long and pretty much indistinctively (be it "a" and "â" or "é" and "ê").
Northerners tend to differentiate them a bit more.
The difference was quite noticeable to me when I moved to Paris.
It depends on people and social class, really. Posh people tend to be slightly more articulate Regular smile
Still it's not a huge difference, I suppose a non-native would have a hard time telling them apart.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

Ce n'est pas à toi que je demandais l'état civil, mais merci quand même de m'éclairer. Regular smile

Pour moi, la différence qu'on trouve en français canadien est une « vraie différence », comme celle entre tu/tout, alors qu'en France, ça tend plus vers des fluctuations un peu aléatoires et individuelles.

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

Oh nooo!

I was fortunate that someone warned me early on about coger.

I love Cuban music and hear it used often with an honorable meaning, but never use it.

Thanks for the explanation about the origin of how it became a vulgarity in certain parts of the world.

The evolution of language is fascinating.

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

Add as many as you like!

Senior Member Knight of sleep
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 23.09.2018

true story
I have moved with my parents in Portugal in 2013, so, thanks to my laziness, in 2015-16 I wasn't still able to speak the language even if I had portuguese lessons in school (it wasn't a portuguese school). So, it was winter and Christmas decorations were everywhere. With a friend of mine, I was walking in a shopping center to seek some presents, when suddenly a woman appeard... With her piercing eyes she quickly found the young lost teenagers we were and asked us with eagerness to make a photo with an old pot-bellied Santa Claus sitting not far from us. It was some quite silly advertising where we had to show on camera the happiness on our faces. We've found some other victims with a forced smile...
It happened very quickly: my friend made a stare look, grabbed my hand, and with a lot of courage and the same portuguese level as I she said:

Não, obrigada, nós somos atrasadas (No, thank you, we are late)

Head held high, we leaved under the disturbed woman's gaze.

Later, I had an Illumination and a small feeling of shame.
In portuguse there are two verbs to say "be": "estar" and "ser". As we didn't use the correct verb, we said more something like "No, sorry, we are (mentally) retarded" instead of "Não, obrigada, nós estamos atrasadas."(the correct form)...

That's all. (our teacher laughed).
Sorry for the poor english I have.

Moderator of Romance Languages
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.03.2012

I have nothing interesting to add, just that when I was a child I used to say "período" instead of "periódico" when asking for the newspaper. I was actually asking for a menstrual cycle instead of the newspaper and no one corrected me until I was 12.

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

This made me laugh out loud. Your English was fine.

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

No one corrected you until you were 12? I guess they thought it was funny.

Editor Absolute Amateur
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 27.03.2015

I actually don't know exactly in which latin-american country the use of "coger" is restricted in that meaning. Surely it happens in Argentina and Uruguay.

Editor in search of Anningan & Malina
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 10.05.2012

Add Venezuela too. My Venezuelan teacher was shocked when she went to Spain and heard people using "coger" all the time.

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

Compare Buena Vista Social Club's song 'De camino a la vereda': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2yAPq-91lw

To my American-English ears, it sounds like a wholesome, moral song. But I sing it by myself, not around others.

It kind of reminds me of the use of "bloody", which in Britain is rude language. In America, it is not at all inoffensive to hear while watching British television. We don't use the expression in this country, but if someone did use it, there would be no impact of rudeness. Also the word "shag" is very rude/vulgar in Britain, but has no impact on US ears.

Editor .
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 09.10.2018

We have this funny double meaning of "baiser" which can mean a kiss as a noun and f[beep]k as a verb.
To make it worse, Belgian French uses "une baise" for a peck on the cheek while in France it clearly means "a good f..." Regular smile

Moderator and guesslator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 25.02.2012

Only a few days after I had moved to Germany, we were gathered at my wife's parents' house for her father's birthday. His gift was a little kitchen gadget for making one poached egg. I said something along the lines of "Jezt kannst du privat-eier haben." Unfortunately, in Saxony at least, "private eggs" doesn't mean eggs. This is definitely the rudest thing I ever said accidentally in my entire life!!!

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 30.11.2016

Ouch that hurts

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

I'm over 50 and I'm from Eastern France, but I spent more than 35 years in Paris and its area (when I went there, people used to make fun of me because I would prononce "vinte" instead of "vin" (vingt) and "nôr" instead of "nar" (nord). Perhaps my pronunciation is influenced by the fact that I always read much, so when I say "patte" or "pâte", I visualize the (written) word in the same time and cannot mix them up. I've also been teached to make the "liaisons", so I say "vin-t-euros" and not "vin heuros" (20 euros), as 95% of the journalists say by now (it always makes me jump from my chair !)

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

It's the same in Russian :

"Птицеферма у нас есть,
"И другая строится.
"А колхозник яйца видит,
"Когда в бане моется.
(We got a poultry farm / And we're building still another one / But the poor "kolkhoz" worker / Eggs he sees, when he washes himself in public baths).

In Québec, they use the world "gosses" to name the same part of the body... but in France, "gosses" means "kids, children"... so you'd better be careful (Où sont tes gosses ? Bien au chaud !)

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.12.2017

My husband and I used to go to the same hair stylist / or barber, if you prefer
One day she tells me:”your husband is funny “ ? ‘He asked if he has a hole in his head....
It took both of us time to realize that he was worried that he is getting bald

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

I felt awkward one day in Portugal, I was sitting on the terrace of a café with a girl friend, and I had noticed that, in order to call the waiter, the Portuguese used to make a loud "Psshhhttt" ! So I left my right hand and, with dignity and rather proud of myself, I uttered a loud "Psshhhttt" too. My girl friend, who was from an educated family, laughed, and told be that this was a very common way to call the guy... and I'd better do it no more. But I forgot how one should say... (probably "empregado !" ?)

Moderator and Incorrigable
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 03.06.2016

One I heard long ago that caused quite a stir among English speakers was a Russian - English paradox introducing a group leader and their people:
What was said when being addressed was Смелый русский хор (Brave Russian Choir), but sounded to them like Smelly Russki Whore. Had to put those who did not understand what was said at ease about that.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.12.2017

So, he is under 50, because he still sees them?

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

I love your avatar and most succulent plants. Oh yeah, and the funny story too, one of the few stories that didn't involve a vulgarity.

Moderator of Romance Languages
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.03.2012
DarkJoshua wrote:

Add Venezuela too. My Venezuelan teacher was shocked when she went to Spain and heard people using "coger" all the time.

I was shocked when I heard others saying to 'coger' something for the first time, I was ready to smack my aunt for saying it (she picked up words from peoplw in her church, how ironic that I thought it meant 'f*ck' coming from a church group). We use it to say 'f*ck' and others use it to say 'pick up'.

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

Someone at the market keeps telling me about how much he loves the poetry and songs of Facundo Cabral, and it makes me nervous.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.12.2017

Fresh off the boat, we are in the store, asking a worker where can we find some chips. Of course, our Slavic “chips” sound like “cheaps” and the guy looks at us silly telling us they are everywhere

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

Sounds like the guy wasn't trying very hard. Maybe he was stressed and busy.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.12.2017

Oh, no, he just wasn’t brilliant Teeth smile
And by the way, we had finally found cheap chips along with queso and guacamole Regular smile

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

Cheap chips, i love it. Good thing you weren't in England. "Chips" in England are "French fries" in US.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.12.2017

Oh, dear, in England I would ask for “no fat on my fries, please” and in France for “a lot of cheese on my french bread, пожалуйста”. Regular smile

Editor (Resident Evil)
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 26.10.2015

No real funny stories to share, just ordinary ones.

Not my mistake but happened to a classmate during our class trip to Rome: We went to a restaurant and he wanted his steak and his soup served at the same time. Unfortunately, he had memorized the wrong word and said "dopo" ("after") instead of "insieme" ("together") and even repeated it vividly to get his point across (his exaggerated seriousness was the funny part, he was like an adult telling a child "don't do that" - "Dopo. Very important. Dopo!").
Later he started arguing with the waiter about "wrongly carrying out his order" until I reminded him that he had used the wrong word (had he told me before what he intended, I could've corrected him right away).

My most awkward own mistake was when a classmate asked me what the English word for "brav" ("decent") was and I replied "brave". Typical false friend combined with lack of attention.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

Reminds me that, at the time I was very unfamiliar with Russian language (I still am, but a little less...), I was trying to tell my driver about a turn on the road : I remembered the German word, "Kurwe" (and the French : courbe), so I said "после курвы" (after the whore). Success guaranteed.

Editor (Resident Evil)
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 26.10.2015
Jadis wrote:

I remembered the German word, "Kurwe"

"Kurve". Wink smile

I have friends from Northern Germany who keep believing their knowledge of Low German helps them in the Netherlands or Belgium. I usually cringe at their attempts to converse with locals. Another restaurant story from that context: We once ordered food in Brussels where they misread the handwritten menu, believing they were ordering "gezookte salm" (which they understood as "sugared salmon" and were like "oh that sounds interesting") but got "gerookte salm" (smoked salmon) instead. And they hate smoked food.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

You're right, it's "Kurve'. Anyway, it sounds rather alike ...

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

I like your stories. Thanks for sharing!

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

That link is cool!

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 19.07.2018

я перевела "Начало приговора" как "начало предложения"
In English, sentence is a phrase or judgement [as in court] - I confused them in my translation of Waltz for Paris...

Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.08.2018

Oops!

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 13.06.2016

Which department are you originally from?

Editor .
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 09.10.2018
Zarina01 wrote:

Which department are you originally from?

Precisely the Bouches du Rhône. That's where the famous city of Marseille is located.
I used to live in a small village near the posh town of Aix en Provence.
Incredibly enough it even has an English wiki page.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

If over 8,000 people live there, there is nothing strange about it... Regular smile

Editor .
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 09.10.2018

Now it's become a dorm town for posh people, but it was a lot less populated 40 years ago. I remember going to school on dirt trails. It's all been covered in tarmac since. Last time I went there I couldn't help but think of Orwell...

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

July 2018, Zagreb, Croatia: I was at the central square (Trg Bana Josipa Jelačića) for the welcoming event of the World Cup finalists, with my little sister. We were trying to reach a spot with a better view of the stage; before that, we had to reach a barrier and jump over it. It was fully crowded and people were pushing back, thus squeezing my sister between a person and me. There was a lot of music and noise, so I mustered up my strength and shouted "ŠTO RADITE??? OVDE JE MOJA ŠESTRA!!!" ("What are you doing??? Here is my sister!!!"). I was so desperate to speak in Serbian (see "ovde" vs "ovdje"), that I mistakenly pronounced "s" in "sestra" as "sh" (š), whereas in Croatian it is "sjestra". Because of the noise, it didn't matter; they obliged and left us some space...

Editor Absolute Amateur
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 27.03.2015

Something alike happened to a friend of mine telling to a Slovenian friend the way to reach somewhere...

Editor (Resident Evil)
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 26.10.2015

You forgot to include the explanation for us non-Serbians. Wink smile

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