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Old 21.08.2007, 13:30
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Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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Anyways, people are going to make mistakes, a few will be funny, a few won't be. I've made a few mistakes in German that have had even my teachers just about rolling on the floor, and my mistakes were actually really funny. But in studying our mistakes we always learn.

I don't think that the real meaning of this thread is to mock anyone. I don't see much in the way of bad intents in these posts.
You also remember those damned mistakes and I remember my biggest as if it was yesterday... I had just learnt the word Dingsbums as meaning thingamajig and during a presentation was proud as punch that I could bring in this word and in the plural to boot. Only the 50 or so listening were either not amused or rolling on the floor. I did not have a clue why till the apero afterwards...
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Old 21.08.2007, 13:51
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Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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....
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Old 21.08.2007, 14:15
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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You also remember those damned mistakes and I remember my biggest as if it was yesterday... I had just learnt the word Dingsbums as meaning thingamajig and during a presentation was proud as punch that I could bring in this word and in the plural to boot. Only the 50 or so listening were either not amused or rolling on the floor. I did not have a clue why till the apero afterwards...
so what did you actuallly say without meaning to??
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Old 21.08.2007, 14:21
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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You also remember those damned mistakes and I remember my biggest as if it was yesterday... I had just learnt the word Dingsbums as meaning thingamajig and during a presentation was proud as punch that I could bring in this word and in the plural to boot. Only the 50 or so listening were either not amused or rolling on the floor. I did not have a clue why till the apero afterwards...
Don't worry Rich, I told the Swiss guys at work and they found it very funny indeed
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Old 21.08.2007, 14:22
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

When I first came to Switzerland I made a very bad mistake.

I had only learnt a few words and we (me and my girlfriend) were at a friends place also with their parents.

Everything was going fine until the cat came in struttin its stuff. I looked down and said "oh hello little murza" (not sure the right spelling) needless to say everyone broke out in laughter and i felt quite stupid .

p.s. for those who do not know, it means pussy but cannot be used like pussy cat.
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Old 21.08.2007, 14:39
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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so what did you actuallly say without meaning to??
I can't say that its not right. How do you make many things in German plural. So do that and then break the word up before putting it together again and check out the broken down words in Leo ;-) "Alles Klar"!
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Old 21.08.2007, 14:47
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I think there is room for another thread about funny mistakes English-speakers make when trying to write English.

I through the ball to my kid. He threw the ball back to me.

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Old 21.08.2007, 15:23
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I once called a local lady künstlich instead of künstlerisch.

(artificial instead of artistic)

Let's just say it was the last date with her.
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Old 21.08.2007, 15:39
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

In my early days, I had a neighbour with a dog that was very happy and wagging its tail. Super Schwanz, I said....

It was a male dog, but I did mean tail.....
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Old 21.08.2007, 15:43
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I was on a language holiday in Spain and told my Spanish friend that today I was "muy embarrassada" about something that I now can't remember. My friend nearly fainted and then explained that "embarrassada" is not quite the right translation for embarrassed as it means pregnant...
swisskat
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Old 21.08.2007, 15:45
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

That's funny. I read little kids stories to learn german and in one particular story a guy found a "Maus. . . aber die maus hatte nicht ein Schwanze." And I'm thinking "WTF, why is this in a little kids story?"

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In my early days, I had a neighbour with a dog that was very happy and wagging its tail. Super Schwanz, I said....

It was a male dog, but I did mean tail.....
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Old 21.08.2007, 16:15
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I have made sooo many mistakes its hard to recall but my favourite was probably when my husband and I were on a diet so I asked the lady at the supermarket for the cheese with 'la moindre matiere grise'. She told everybody else behind the cheese counter before she finally composed herself enough to serve me...
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Old 21.08.2007, 16:17
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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That's funny. I read little kids stories to learn german and in one particular story a guy found a "Maus. . . aber die maus hatte nicht ein Schwanze." And I'm thinking "WTF, why is this in a little kids story?"
that's just your sick mind, lady!
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Old 21.08.2007, 16:37
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I am not naming any names here, but you know who you are.

The unamed woman used to leave her office full of swiss lads saying she was heading out to get some muschi.

What she meant was www.mosi.ch.


I cried tears when I heard that.
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Old 21.08.2007, 16:41
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I was tuckered out after spending the day working with a friend in the garden. Referring to it later, I said "er hat mich flachgelegt," meaning he'd really knocked me out with work.
Turns out, "flachgelegt" means gettin' horizontal with someone
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Old 21.08.2007, 16:48
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

Mine was in German to my future mother-in-law. I was learning the difference between "haben" and "sein" as well as past tense. She said something to my husband like "oh, my boy- you are growing up" (in jest, as he was actually cleaning the kitchen, much to her surprise!).

So I said something like "Ja, er HAT jenden tag GEWIXT" I meant to say that he is growing a bit every day - which should have been something like "Ja, er IST jenden tag GEWACHSEN".

What I ended up telling her was something like "Yes, he j*cks-off every day" Jeez.

His mom quickly found a sponge and started cleaning the counters with extraordinary force and in complete silence. I'm of course relentlessly asking my red-faced husband "WHAT? What did I say??"

I'll have to think about French...nothing yet so downright embarrassing!!
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Old 21.08.2007, 17:21
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I was chatting with an english friend of mine about plurals like fish, sheep etc. and that you don't (often) say fishes or sheeps.

We were trying to think of other examples when a spanish friend of mine leaned in to the conversation in her nice broad catalan accent and said:

"Honestly you Eeengleeesh guys, all you talk about is fish and sheeps... (fish and chips)"


Superb.
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Old 21.08.2007, 17:22
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

I think the best was when, in answer to my boyfriend's father's question about how long i'd lived in chester (in french!) i answered "10 minutes" much to the amusement of everyone at the table! (bit of a misunderstanding of the questions there!)

And then on my second visit I wanted to thank my boyfriend's mum for washing my clothes so asked my boyfriend how to say it, practiced it in my head then said "Merci d'avoir laver mes amis"!! Not my fault 'habis' and 'amis' sound so similar!!
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Old 21.08.2007, 18:03
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

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That's funny. I read little kids stories to learn german and in one particular story a guy found a "Maus. . . aber die maus hatte nicht ein Schwanze." And I'm thinking "WTF, why is this in a little kids story?"
Eunuch Mouse could be a new superhero critter.


The second time I visited my German ma-in-law, she wanted to give us a (not very attractive) glass platter.
I wanted to say we already had many plates, but it came out: "Wir haben viele Messer."
"Teller, teller!" my other half prompted me. I thought he said, "Tell her, tell her!" because perhaps he didn't like the platter either.
So I kept saying "Wir haben viele Messer," like I was threatening her with the idea of knives as in "don't give try to give me an ugly plate; we have knives!"

What a dork of a DIL, my MIL must have thought she had.

Last edited by argus; 21.08.2007 at 18:13. Reason: forgot to add silly anecdote
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Old 21.08.2007, 18:15
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Re: Funniest mistake YOU have made when learning another language?

Well, since you're so interested in what happened in the rest of my story, it turns out the "maus mit kein schwanze" was actually a bat, that was cold and close to death in the winter on the guys porch. Hence, the comment about the lack of tail. But seriously, why wouldn't you say the "maus hatte flügel"

I also 100% can not make the words "höre" and "hure" sound differently.



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