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The most embarrassing mistakes people have made while speaking a second language.

One of the moments that stick with us as language learners are the mistakes we make while we try to speak a second language. It's undeniable that you can't speak a language without making mistakes here and there, and that's how we learn after all. But, sometimes we make some really embarrassing mistakes that haunt us for the rest of our lives. It is for this reason that you are reading this article. Because we've asked our followers at The Language Nerds about the embarrassing mistakes they have made while speaking a second language and they provided responses that will make your day. Have a great read 😋! Tom I was speaking Spanish on the phone. I asked the caller how things were going. He said, ''Muy Bien, gracias a Dios.'' I thought it was strange and said ''Adios,'' back and hung up.  Martijn  I'm currently living in Brazil. they speak Portuguese here. In Portuguese pâu means "bread' and pau means "dick". This…

The one word that exists in all human languages, according to research.

Our languages are incredibly diverse and it is highly unlikely to find a word or a handful of words that sound the same in all languages. Except that there is a word that is shared by all human languages,  according to research. Surprise, surprise the word is 'huh'.  Weird, huh! Well, it turns out that this is probably a universal word. 
Let's explain first how this word works in more detail. Consider the following made-up conversation:
A: We decided to move to New York. B: Where? A: To New York.
Speaker A makes a statement, and Speaker B follows up on that by asking the question “Where?” which targets only a portion of the original statement, i.e., it is possible to infer that Speaker B had no trouble comprehending the message that they decided to move somewhere, but s/he presumably missed the final word. So, s/he requested a repetition of this information by asking “where?” and Speaker A supplied this information in his/her next turn. And this is what is termed by conversati…

5 Words that sound the same in almost every language.

Words really don't have any logic to them. You can't just work out the meaning of words based on the sounds that make them up. That's because words are arbitrary.  So if you don't speak Chinese, you can't possibly figure out the words for, say, "breakfast" or "fridge". Different people agree to give different combinations of sounds different meanings. Considering that people are scattered around the globe and speak different mutually unintelligible languages, it is unlikely that they would all have the same words for the same thing. However, there are some select words that sound pretty much the same across so many languages. They flit across language barriers either through trade, the internet or because people just like the sound of them. Here are some of them: CoffeeAfrikaans: koffie | Albanian: kafe | Arabic: قهوة (qahua) | French: Café | Azerbaijani: qəhvə | Basque: kafea | Belarussian: кава (kava) | Bengali: কফি (kaphi) | Bosnian: kafa | B…

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages (infographic).

The number of concepts and feelings you can express with language is infinite. But languages express them differently. There are languages that have specific words for very specific concepts. Other languages, though, need whole sentences to express the same concepts, and English is no exception. While the expressive power of English is breathtaking, it still lacks a lot of the words that exist in other languages but can't find their place in any English dictionary.  Maptia put some of these words in an infographic which we brought to you to enjoy. Don't forget to share your favorite. Have a good read :) 


From Visually.

Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.- Friedrich Nietzsche

What deaf people say about the language they think in.

What language do deaf people think in? This is a tough question to answer. Aside from the science behind what language deaf people think in and whether this question can be answered or not,  there is a better way we can gain a clear insight into this. Why not ask deaf people themselves? Michele Westfall is our best candidate. Michele was born deaf, had deaf parents, and has deaf children. When she was asked what language do deaf people think in, she beautifully replied:
I was born Deaf and have been Deaf my whole life. I do not wear hearing aids or cochlear implants (and have no desire to wear either). I speak American sign language (ASL) and it is my primary language. I am a mother of two born-Deaf children, so our being Deaf is genetic for us.I have a voice in my head, but it is not sound-based. I am a visual being, so in my head, I either see ASL signs, or pictures, or sometimes printed words. My inner voice does have words, concepts, and thoughts. My mind is not blank, nor is it s…

Why do we say flip-flop, tick-tock, and King-Kong, but not flop-flip, tock-tick, and Kong-King?

Have you ever wondered why we say tick-tock, King-Kong, flip-flop? And why do kong-king and tock-tick sound so awkward to our ears? Why is it fiddle-faddle and pitter-patter rather than faddle-fiddle and patter-pitter?  Why?...well 'cause! It turns out that this is one of the unwritten rules that English native speakers know, but don't know they know. I will unravel this amazing rule here for you. Please bear with me. 
This uncanny phenomenon actually has a name in linguistics: Ablaut Reduplication. When you say tick-tock and King-Kong, you are unwittingly following an old grammar rule without actually realizing it, the rule of albaut reduplication. This is one among many rules that you've been following your entire life without realizing it. It is this rule that triggers all the wrong buzzers inside your head when someone says 'hop-hip' and 'pong ping' instead of 'hip hop' and 'ping pong'. 
This rule was first spotted by Mark Forsyth. Mark…

Major differences between American and British English.

Americans and their British neighbors may share a language, but that does not mean they speak exactly the same version of it. There are many unsubtle differences between British and American English that make each one unique, from small spelling changes to entirely different words for common concepts. GrammarCheck ingeniously illustrated these differences in a beautiful infographic which we brought to your fingertips.  Check it out and share with us any other differences you think the infographic left out. Enjoy! 


Thank you for stopping by. Please share the infographic if you think it deserves. Have a good day.