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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 is a slight pronunciation difference so guess what I ordered every day. 

Nancy 

I once asked a lady how MUCH her baby was instead of how OLD it was! All while I was holding her baby...

Amanda

In Mandarin (a tonal language) in response to the question, “What’s wrong?” I answered, “I f*cked a cat” instead of “I’ve got a cold.” Fortunately, nearly every learner of Mandarin before and after me has likely made this very mistake.

Matthew

Not my story, but my father in law is a deacon at a Catholic Church, and he was talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Spanish mass. He kept on saying “Los Testiculos de Jehová” instead of “Los Testigos de Jehová”. I bet you can guess what the first one translates to.

Anna 

Saying I was "embarazada' by my Spanish. In Spanish embarazada does not mean embarrassed. It means "pregnant". So, tread carefully when you want to say "embarrassed" or you might get pregnant.
                     


Tim

In Spanish I always said I was excitado, which literally translates to I am horny. 

Angela

I was translating at work and went to tell the patient that dry skin gets worse in winter (invierno) instead I said infierno which is hell. So I told her Dry skin is worse in hell 😂 

Barbara

New to the language, and my waitressing job, when one young woman ordered a ‘tafrit’, I wrote it on my pad. Her partner said ‘gam ani’, ‘me too’, so I wrote a 2 in front of tafrit. What’s a tafrit? A menu!

Rodrigo

Went to the movies and asked for a bucket of “cock porn” and a large drink to help wash it down...

Edyta

I confused numbers in Italian and I argued that in my country people are allowed to drive when they are eighty...

Christian

I told my boyfriend’s mom that I had a knife in my testicles and we could use it to eat Nutella 😂

Lydia

I was starting a student internship in France and asked my new colleagues if the previous incumbent had enjoyed his time in France... except I used the verb "jouir" which can mean to enjoy but also means to come (sexually). So I basically asked "Did he come a lot while he was here?" I think I made their night...

Rachel 

In French, instead of ordering the warm goats' cheese salad, the Chevre Chaud, I ordered the Chevre Chauve, the bald goats' salad.

Monis 

I used to say "when I was a boy", instead of "if I were a boy."

Dani

telling someone "F* You" in ASL instead of thank you. I have made plenty of ASL mistakes but man that one took the cake.

Jocelyn 

Pronouncing the name of a wine as Lacrima Ano instead of Lacrima Arno.(Tears of the anus instead of Tears of the Arno (a river)) 
                    

I know all those words, but that sentence makes no sense to me
_Matt Groening 

Comments

  1. Pushkin is arguably one of Russia's all-time greatest poets and when translating "long cannon barrel" I instead said "Pushkin has a long barrel". I mean - it may have been true, he was known to be a ladies man.....

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  2. For the New Year s Eve dinner at my boss s place his father who owns a hotel asked me what types of meat we eat in my country. Among others I wanted to say - se come pavo - we eat turkey - but I said - se come puta- intead (we eat prostitutes or we have sex with prostitutes, you can use come for both). They laught a lot and told me that here as well. They re just a bit more expensive than turkey.

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  3. That kind of problem also happens to native speakers in a different country (speaking the same language). For example, in Uruguay and Argentina the verb 'correr(se)' means 'to move'. So, if a person asks you to move because you're in their way, you say: te podrías correr? But in Spain, 'correr(se) means to come (sexually).

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    Replies
    1. The variations of the same language in different countries are interesting! We have to take care haha. And a curiosity: in Portuguese the verb "correr" (without the "se") is "to run" o/

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. I've made several faux pas in German. I confused 'schwul' with 'Schwül." So the humid summer was very homosexual. I told my ex-father-in-law that he had a heart of 'Geld' (money) instead of 'Gold', to which he agreed. And I advocated eating the poor, (den Armen verspeisen) instead of feeding them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hmmm... A few come to mind... First English language class with a group of adult students in Italy. I chose to introduce myself, and the topic, in Italian, before switching back to English. "Oggi, andiamo a parlare della polluzione." Turns out 'polluzione' means 'wet dreams', rather than 'pollution' (= inquinamento)... That rapidly cracked the ice!! Then, there was the post-argument-with-boyfriend rage, whilst squeezed into the centre of the back seat, amongst four Italian and English friends in a Fiat Uno. I said, "Sono talmente arrapata!", shaking with rage, intending to express that I was sooo angry... Instead, I actually said that I was really horny... No sympathy there, then!! After a night on the town in Spain, my host parents asked me how I was feeling. I had a blinding headache, after making the most of the tapas and cerveza on offer the night before... I said, "Me duele la cerveza!", which was actually a hugely Freudian slip, as I was telling them the beer hurt me, rather than my head (=cabeza)! ;) Oh, and a couple in France... Showing off to my pen friend's dad, whilst lunching en plein air in the midday heat of the Massif Central, I observed, "Voilà un mouchoir!", proudly pointing out a fly (=une mouche) buzzing past, rather than the 'tissue' that I had mentioned!! And, finally, seated at the dinner table, in Vichy, with three lovely French ladies that were hosting me, when asked, "Vous voulez encore?", I replied, with a broad smile, "Non, merci! Je suis pleine!". Only I meant 'pleine' FULL, rather than 'pleine' PREGNANT!!! :D

    ReplyDelete

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