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  #141  
Old 23.07.2011, 22:31
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

Once I asked (in English) if I could "get a bread" (maybe it was "buy me some breads"). This English people then went totally nuts, jumped around, shouted something like "LOAF" and vanished in a cloud of smoke.

Still don't get it. Can a native English speaker please explain? Thank you
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  #142  
Old 23.07.2011, 23:56
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

German speakers don't appreciate the use of the English word for female fox;
and young French speaking ladies don't remember this song, and it can result in a slap in the face, if it comes up in conversation (and I thought the use of the vous form was a sign of respect).
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  #143  
Old 24.07.2011, 00:20
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

Since two months I am in the process of learning spanish & catalan. The first time I went to the grocery store, I didn't bring a dictionary with me (I'm never good with that).

Looking at the meat selection, I tried to understand which animal it was but couldn't figure it out. So I made a woman out of myself and asked the lady behind the counter:

-Hola! (I point at the meat) this pork?
-No no, no pork, (she said the word, I didn't get it and she is now looking around hoping to find something that will tell me)
-Hum.... (me thinking) is this cow? Cow.... Mouuuuuuuuuuh!

Yes, a grown up woman did the Mouuuuuuuuh! sound in a grocery store.

That lady laughed so much! She will remember me for ever. I am surprise that I don't have enough shame and still go there to buy food. And she always gives me a big smile.

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  #144  
Old 24.07.2011, 01:05
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

Reminds me of my mis-spent youth, when I was working down in Tenerife, I had occasion to visit a pharmacy to purchase a specific lotion, in order to clear up a particular skin disorder .... ish.

Having just a few words of Spanish for essentials relating to eating and drinking, I was forced to go into mime to try to describe my symptoms to the bewildered assistant behind the counter, so she might acquire an inkling as to my requirements.

After much gesturing and a bit of side-stepping, on my part, the penny seemed to drop, and the unfortunate woman quickly retreated to the back of the counter, and then pointed to the fishmongers across the street, where there was a bountiful and prominent display of fresh shellfish.
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  #145  
Old 24.07.2011, 11:52
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

A year or so ago when I was new to the country the missus sent me down to Denner to get a few things, one of which was some Zurisacks. I had been practicing my german and I thought that I was getting ok at doing usual sort of things. However, everyone at work always laughed at my pronunciation of particular words (especially with my strong Australian accent). Anyway, my wife told me everything to say and so there I go happy as larry down to the shops.

I get to the counter, the lady at the counter starts putting the items through and I look at her and nodd my head by saying "Zurisacs? funf und dreizig!". The woman sort of looks at me weird and had no idea what i was saying. I said it again and again, this time while giving a thumbs up and winking my eye. She then realised what I wanted, then smiles, laughs and with really slow high german nodds her head while giving me the Zurisacs and says "Ja, Ja, genau....Zurisacs". I told this to the guys from work who all thought it was the funniest thing they've ever heard. They recon she thought I wanted to by some sex (as in ZuriSex) for 35CHF
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  #146  
Old 24.07.2011, 19:11
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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Once I asked (in English) if I could "get a bread" (maybe it was "buy me some breads"). This English people then went totally nuts, jumped around, shouted something like "LOAF" and vanished in a cloud of smoke.

Still don't get it. Can a native English speaker please explain? Thank you
'Loaf' is the English word for the whole bread, a loaf or a loaf of bread. Does that make sense? Not sure why they went nuts and went up in smoke though.
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  #147  
Old 24.07.2011, 19:42
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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'Loaf' is the English word for the whole bread, a loaf or a loaf of bread. Does that make sense? Not sure why they went nuts and went up in smoke though.
Thank you very much. I guess it was this guy.
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  #148  
Old 24.07.2011, 20:45
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

Describing the snow conditions as mushy, my dictionary provided "weichlich". My (female) boss started laughing and wouldn't tell me what I'd said wrong. When she'd left the room, my colleagues informed me that it described how a woman's bits get when she's aroused. (In local slang/dialect).

I never use the words Schwul or Schwül...
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  #149  
Old 24.07.2011, 21:05
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I was in German class and attempted to ask our rather pretty instructor about the surprisingly hard to translate word Lebenskünstler. Unfortunately, I managed to confuse Leben and Lieben.
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  #150  
Old 25.07.2011, 13:27
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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Since two months I am in the process of learning spanish & catalan. The first time I went to the grocery store, I didn't bring a dictionary with me (I'm never good with that).

Looking at the meat selection, I tried to understand which animal it was but couldn't figure it out. So I made a woman out of myself and asked the lady behind the counter:

-Hola! (I point at the meat) this pork?
-No no, no pork, (she said the word, I didn't get it and she is now looking around hoping to find something that will tell me)
-Hum.... (me thinking) is this cow? Cow.... Mouuuuuuuuuuh!

Yes, a grown up woman did the Mouuuuuuuuh! sound in a grocery store.

That lady laughed so much! She will remember me for ever. I am surprise that I don't have enough shame and still go there to buy food. And she always gives me a big smile.


===>>
from time 0:35...


i wonder if anyone mixed up the word 'aussehen' for 'ausziehen', and tried to say 'you look good' ;-)
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  #151  
Old 25.07.2011, 15:04
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

Getting people calling me arrogant because I said "Ich bin heiss". I meant hot in sweating terms, not sexy...

And having the guy in IKEA Dresden laughing till he cried because I asked "Wo sind die Poufs?"

I found out that day that a puff is not a German word for furniture...
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  #152  
Old 28.07.2011, 12:42
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

German : (to my flatmate, while looking for my grocery bag)
"Weisst du, wo meine Töte ist?"
(first she got really concerned, then she couldn't stop laughing).

English: I don't really consider it a mistake, but even though English has become my second-first language, I still pronounce "flour" as either "floor" or "flower".
Native speaking friends still find it amusing, when we run out of pavement.
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  #153  
Old 28.07.2011, 13:26
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I went with my then boss to Japan for a meeting and decided to venture out of the safe touristy areas and went inside a sort of hidden Japanese restaurants, with only locals. The menus were in Japanese and no pictures... we asked for food by looking at what everyone else was eating and then I wanted something with shrimp...they did not get it so my boss decided to draw it...it caused the guys to laugh so much they decided to frame it
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  #154  
Old 29.07.2011, 06:29
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

When I started learning French, I would always pronounce all the letters of the plural third person, when usually you don't and native french speakers would cringe their faces. :P
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  #155  
Old 15.08.2011, 12:05
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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Okay, we've had the thread where we have commented on things the Swiss get wrong in English. But it's only fair that we parade our own mistakes as well. But only if you want to....

Mine was confusing auf and mit during a set of private lessons. I said "Ich tanze auf meine Frau". After my german teacher stopped laughing and managed to regain some sort of composure, he said: "Yes, I suppose there are situations where you could dance ON your wife".

Now, three years later, I can see the humor in this mistake....
ROFL
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  #156  
Old 15.08.2011, 12:37
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

When I was very new over here; I was kind of surprised when I walk down to the street seeing strangers smiling at me and passing by saying something what I heard that time was like(chee, morg..). *back in our country there is not a tradition of greeting strangers on street*
Anyway, I realized what it was when I spoke with some of my other friends what I encountered on my first day in Switzerland.

Another thing, I knew what "danke" means but had no idea how to reply.
My common sense merged english and German and made something like engo-german

(thank you- you are welcome, mention not)

Danke- No, manke
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  #157  
Old 13.10.2012, 18:44
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

And since I was talking about how you have to know the local language in this other thread, this is what happened today at migros at the check out counter: I say to MG's SIL "we need garbage bags" He says to the cashier : "Gerichtssag, bitte" and she gives him an irritated look, my mind goes blank and suddenly I blurt out "Güselsack". She understands. So MG's SIL wants to know what I said. "Güselsack", ah no, he thinks that's not right. I say well, I think the correct word would be "Abfallsack" and they certainly wouldn't understand "Müllsack", so we look and it says "Kehrrichtsack".
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  #158  
Old 14.10.2012, 00:23
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I know the word has been mentioned in this thread, but without question for me it was misspelling the word "fuzzi" (or however it is spelled, as in "han em mechanikerfuzzi aaglüütä - I have called the mechanic). as you might have guessed, I used "fotze" instead.

have some friends who still laugh about that one.
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  #159  
Old 14.10.2012, 01:52
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I have a Swiss neighbour who joined an engish languge "deep immersion course".

First question was "what is your name?"

His reply "ich nehmne ein Bier"
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Old 14.10.2012, 10:27
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

In my first few months of living here, the mother in law asked me to bring up a study desk from the basement and assemble it in the lounge room.

Upon completion I announced to her, 'Fick Dich' instead of 'Fertig'.

Luckily she's a tad bad of hearing and the brother in law rushed over and prevented me from repeating my self in an elevated tone.

Yes pronunciation is worth concentrating on...
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