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Old 27-10-2015, 06:02   #1
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Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

OK...

Seaworthy Lass requested a humor themed post the other day, and this idea just popped into my head...

Growing up in Southern California I had a favorite pastime.... In my youth, I pretty much spent every available free moment I could possibly pull off, traversing the the wonderful land of Baja Mexico... I simply felt at home and peace with the people and the land...

So this one time....

I have this mechanic friend who lived just outside of San Felipe... We had become good friends, as I rebuilt a few things like motorcycles and outboards at his place... (in between all of the beer and tequila) He, like most there lived and worked out of his house, and had a family with 2 darling little girls... I am fairly convinced our friendship was founded on his love for my American beer that I always brought for him (god bless 30 packs)

So this one time, I was driving my 931 (turbo Porsche) and the turbo started acting up like it was coking up or the waste gate was sticking... I had already been by earlier in the week with the requisite beer delivery, visit, and some new clothes for his girls... But I was in a hurry to get North as always, I 100% of the time over-enjoyed myself too long...

Having spent 20 minutes crouching in his "service pit" (I use this term loosely, as it more the size of a medium latrine) Sweating buckets from the heat ... I asked him for a rubber mallet to beat on the wastegate... The reply I got wasn't what I expected.... "Are you sure you want the rubber mallet?"

"Yes I'm sure!" (repeating the request) "OK I'll get one".... What seems like forever, and accompanied by some murmuring... I hear this...

"Gringo Eduardo... What was it you wanted again?" At this point I was seriously debating our friendship, as I miserably hot and dusty standing under the car....

"Javier... quit *&%#ing around and hand me the %@$#& MALLET!"

I immediately hear howls of laughter... and peeking my head out, blinking in the bright sunshine... I see that Javier has assembled his entire family to hear me insist that that "I needed a rubber nail"....

"No mas cerveza Americana para tu Javier!"
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Old 27-10-2015, 06:26   #2
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

I'm missing the joke. "Nail" in Spanish is "clavo".

A couple of times when my brain was trying to keep up with my mouth, I have used "puta" when attempting to say "punta". That either produces howls of laughter or an icy stare depending on the audience.

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Old 27-10-2015, 06:33   #3
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I'm missing the joke. "Nail" in Spanish is "clavo".

A couple of times when my brain was trying to keep up with my mouth, I have used "puta" when attempting to say "punta". That either produces howls of laughter or an icy stare depending on the audience.

Mark
Yea Mark... I was going for martillo, malleta, or mazo....

What came out was clavo...

Doesn't everybody want a puta nuevo???
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Old 28-10-2015, 00:52   #4
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

I have a handy little book...'Latin American Spanish in 15 minutes'..... what it doesn't say is '... a day for the rest of your life.'

However.... at anchor somewhere in the south... one crew with decent spanish.... we invited a couple of hairy-arsed centolla fishermen over for tea and scones.

Having done 'greetings' in my book I was all set to greet them with a handshake and 'encandada' but noticed before it was my turn that it was 'Mucho Gustos' all round so I went with that.


Asked my crew later what was what... she cracked up.... seems 'encantada' is 'enchanted'... in the feminine...



A close call.... me being a good looking young fellow and all.
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Old 28-10-2015, 03:19   #5
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Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

Many decades ago I moved to Florida from Venezuela to go to college. I spent one year at an English program as I didn't speak a word before I came. I began dating an American girl at the time and she taught me a few dating words. One time we were at the mall holding hands and she said "we are so corny" - corny was a new word for me. About a month later, we were at a large school dinner holding hands under the table and I decided to use the word I learned at the mall. So just when everyone got quiet I said loudly "We are soooo horny!"


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Old 28-10-2015, 04:21   #6
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

I haven't experienced this, but 2 friends have.

While in Barcelona, an old co worker was over dressed for the heat and said she was "caliente" in conservative business (suits) company.

They had a good laugh and corrected her.

While in Melbourne, out at a bar with a different friend, she was asked what team she likes for American football. Her answer was "I root for the New England Patriots" The laughter at the bar was uncontrollable! Then they asked her if she rooted for the whole team and she said yes!



After a good 5 minutes of laughter, they helped her out.
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Old 28-10-2015, 04:32   #7
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

I have had a few but the most egregious was not language but a social faux pas in Japan 50 years ago. My buddy and I were escorted to the train station by the brothers! Different time and different place than now!
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Old 28-10-2015, 06:13   #8
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
I have a handy little book...'Latin American Spanish in 15 minutes'..... what it doesn't say is '... a day for the rest of your life.'

However.... at anchor somewhere in the south... one crew with decent spanish.... we invited a couple of hairy-arsed centolla fishermen over for tea and scones.

Having done 'greetings' in my book I was all set to greet them with a handshake and 'encandada' but noticed before it was my turn that it was 'Mucho Gustos' all round so I went with that.


Asked my crew later what was what... she cracked up.... seems 'encantada' is 'enchanted'... in the feminine...

A close call.... me being a good looking young fellow and all.
Oh boy.. that coulda got awkward really fast!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueBuddha View Post
Many decades ago I moved to Florida from Venezuela to go to college. I spent one year at an English program as I didn't speak a word before I came. I began dating an American girl at the time and she taught me a few dating words. One time we were at the mall holding hands and she said "we are so corny" - corny was a new word for me. About a month later, we were at a large school dinner holding hands under the table and I decided to use the word I learned at the mall. So just when everyone got quiet I said loudly "We are soooo horny!"

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2hullvenus View Post
I haven't experienced this, but 2 friends have.

While in Barcelona, an old co worker was over dressed for the heat and said she was "caliente" in conservative business (suits) company.

They had a good laugh and corrected her.

While in Melbourne, out at a bar with a different friend, she was asked what team she likes for American football. Her answer was "I root for the New England Patriots" The laughter at the bar was uncontrollable! Then they asked her if she rooted for the whole team and she said yes!



After a good 5 minutes of laughter, they helped her out.
The combination of being caliente and rooting is my favorite so far...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bletso View Post
I have had a few but the most egregious was not language but a social faux pas in Japan 50 years ago. My buddy and I were escorted to the train station by the brothers! Different time and different place than now!
Oh man! That had to be something...
"you're going now... "
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Old 28-10-2015, 06:19   #9
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

My other favorite of mine was in a very expensive restaurant....

I asked the extremely caliente waitress for a "feminine product" when all I really wanted was another napkin....
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Old 28-10-2015, 06:38   #10
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

Probably the first time I met my future mother-in-law, and I was proud to show that I had learned a few words of French ...

Passing in front of a bakery she asked me what the smell reminded me of. I don't remember exactly what I said - probably wouldn't repeat it if I did - but it came out as a clear reference to sex.

Twenty-eight years later I'm not sure her opinion of "les anglais" in general has improved, but she seems to think I'm okay.
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Old 28-10-2015, 08:29   #11
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

My wife's Spanish is weak. She once asked a young Mexican kid "Quantos anos tiene?" He gave her a very puzzled look as he answered "Uno".

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Old 28-10-2015, 08:30   #12
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

I just had one last week in Guaymas, Mexico. I arranged for some repair work to be done on our teak deck grates and didn't know the price. Come delivery day we get our deck grates back and I asked the fellow, "how much" in my bad Spanish. He said, 250 in Spanish and left it at that. I went down below and grabbed him 250 pesos, bewildered at the super low price. (250 pesos is about 15 bucks US.) When I returned and gave him the pesos he emphatically said "Dollars!"

My bad, when I'm in a foreign country I work in the local currency.
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Old 28-10-2015, 08:44   #13
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

I live in a remote area of Panama, where no-one spoke English and I HAD to learn Spanish quickly in order to get anything done...my mistakes were endless and provided the locals with much humour.

I can remember saying that I was embarrassed about something and said, "Estoy embarasada".....it took me some while to realise that their constant laughter mixed with confusion was to the possibility of a male being pregnant!

Another one from memory was asking a young native woman if she was tired, and my saying "Eres casada" rather than "Eres Cansada"...I often wondered whether my asking whether she was married put her in mind of my marrying her.

There were others...and I am still learning from my mistakes.
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Old 28-10-2015, 09:10   #14
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

Oh man. This could get vulgar, but you asked:

I lived in Italy a decade or so ago and spent quite a bit of time learning the language. I managed to make a good group of italian friends and we went to parties and things.

So once we went to this party put on by a Swedish friend. It was a great party. Full of beautiful Scandinavians, a bunch of Italians, other foreigners, and us. Well, my Italian friends brought some small squirt guns, and they were covertly squirting people. It was s funny little prank.

Anyway - one of the shot me with a squirt gun. So I tried to say, in Italian, "You SHOT me, man!" which would be "Mi hai sparato!". But instead, I yelled out, "Mi hai sborrato!" Very different. It was nearly the proverbial 'record scratch. stop. everyone looks at you.'. At least, it felt that way. Because what I actually said was, "You just ejaculated on me!", real loud at a party.

Good old days.
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Old 28-10-2015, 09:10   #15
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Re: Oooops! I said that??? What's your biggest foreign language Faux Pas?

I'm from S. Calif. also, decades ago I answered the phone at my Uncle's ranch in North Florida. I couldn't understand a single word the woman said, and asked her to repeat several times. Had to call my uncle in from the barn, he listened, said OK, and hung up.
The lady was saying "This is Sears mail order and your bicycles have arrived", it was a form of English spoken locally that was beyond my comprehension.
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