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not_HarryS
12-02-2009, 05:23 AM
So I work with this really adorable Southern Italian girl, and her English is absolutely amazing. Every once and a while, though, she makes a hilarious mistake while speaking, and her way of brushing over the mistakes is even funnier than the mistake itself.

I just wanted to share the one she made on the shuttle bus home from the office last night because it was especially awesome.

We were talking about cooking.

Chiara: I was making a deener for my friends last night, and I start making the braaaw-koh-lot, right, with all the spices and the butter and --

Me: Wait, you were making the what?

Chiara: I was making the deener for my friends.

Me: Nonono. The other word. With the spices and whatnot.

Chiara: Oh, you mean the braaaw-koh-lot?

Me: Yes! That's the one. What's braaaw-koh-lot?

Chiara: You know braaaw-koh-lot. Eet's thee vegetable that looks like a little tree and the cheeldren, they hate to eat eet.

Me: Oh, oh! Broccoli! You mean broccoli.

Chiara: Ah, yes. Braaaw-koh-lee, thees is the word. You see, braaaw-koh-lot, thees is my word for one of the braaaw-koh-lee.

.....

Hahah. I don't know why, but that seriously set me off in a fit of giggles for like, twenty minutes.

Anyone else have any friends/coworkers that have hilariously cute English? :)

Silver King
12-02-2009, 05:49 AM
My mom is French and didn't learn to speak English until she was in her early twenties.

The funniest to me, and most embarrassing when I was a kid, was when she'd say, "moose-key-doos." She'd complain about them a great deal, slapping herself and fanning the air around her while most people didn't know what the heck she was talking about.

Finally, I'd say, "Mom! They're called 'mosquitoes,' not 'moose-key-doos,' for crying out loud."

And it never failed: She'd say, "That's what I said. Don't you understand English?"

bettielee
12-02-2009, 05:55 AM
I once had a customer who spoke very broken English, ask me if I needed a translator after I repeatedly had to ask him what he was saying. :) He made me laugh. He was very cute. Over the phone, he was impossible to understand. In person, we had no problem communicating.

Medievalist
12-02-2009, 05:56 AM
I don't have funny English mistakes, but I've got loads of funny French mistakes, all made by me.

For instance, literally translating "hot dog" when you're in a Quebe bar/diner and asking for a chien chaud means that you're asking for a dog in heat.

And "embracer" in French doesn't really mean exactly what embrace has come to mean in English. The ah, sexual connotations are sort of dominant in French. Just sayin' in case, you know, someone else maybe used "embracer" to mean "wrap around," or "surround."

Priene
12-02-2009, 09:42 AM
I was once talking football with my father-in-law. Instead of using schießen, to shoot, I used scheißen.


Which means 'to shit'. Sigh.

JoNightshade
12-02-2009, 10:02 AM
The one that always cracked me up with my Chinese students was their confusion of the words "kitchen" and "chicken." (Basically just a phonetic transposition.) I would often hear things like "I'm going to cook kitchen in the chicken."

Oh, but my all-time favorite was when I went out to eat with a student... towards the end of the meal I finally got up the courage to ask what this one dish I had been eating was. My student got this very concentrated look, then finally nodded and pronounced, "Bloody tubes."

Yes, I was eating veins.

Maryn
12-02-2009, 08:30 PM
I taught English as a Second Language to Mexican adults once upon a time. My favorite student loved to tell stories about her 'adventures' in practicing her English, as I encouraged them to do.

She wanted to buy a set of sheets in a jumbled liquidator's discount store, but knew her pronunciation of the long E was often weak and that she was prone to forgetting it. Fearful of saying "shits," she would ask for directions to white cotton blankets, only very thin. And yellow.

Maryn, pretty sure she mastered enough English eventually

Perks
12-02-2009, 09:30 PM
The one that always cracked me up with my Chinese students was their confusion of the words "kitchen" and "chicken." (Basically just a phonetic transposition.) I would often hear things like "I'm going to cook kitchen in the chicken."

Ha! That's very funny. When my girls were little, I'd play word games with them to clear up their enunciation and one that always spurred the giggles was -


Kickin' a chicken in the kitchen


which invariably dissolved into "chichen chichen chichen'. They were very small. They don't do that now.

Perks
12-02-2009, 09:34 PM
I worked with a girl from Bulgaria and her English was very, very good. She's gotten off the plane speaking no English at all and progressed to working in customer service in a bank in three years - and she was mostly self taught. Very smart lady. But she did get things wrong every now and again.

We were in the breakroom, a group of women, talking about personal grooming - shaving and plucking to be exact - and Daniella said, "I don't shave. I have an epilepsy machine."

'Epilady' was new-ish on the market then. But I still can't see it on the shelf without picturing its alternate use of inducing fits instead of removing hair.

backslashbaby
12-02-2009, 09:40 PM
I adore stuff like this!! :D

I did an internship at Motorola de Centroamerica, and my coworker Marsela was so happy to have someone tell her whether her business letters were perfect. Not just understandable. She had examples at least 5-6 times a day.

But she'd come up and say, with adorable big brown eyes, "How do you say thees?" And wait for me to answer :D

"I need the English, Marsela" :D :D

I don't know how she got that my English skills made me psychic, too, but that's how it always went. So cute!