Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Que Hora Es?" Video

For all the people out there who never got very far in Spanish and/or who have a sense of humor:

(Thanks to Elizabeth Pinborough for making us aware of this video.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Design Mom Story

Vintage family photos in France.
Design Mom, who is currently living in France, asked her kids for a Blabbergasting story and Ralph reported this one:

I was in French class (which is basically language arts). We were reading a story out loud, and it was my turn to read. Everything was going fine until I pronounced "baiser" like "baisser." This wouldn't have been too big a deal, except the fact that "baiser" can be the F-bomb in French. Oops!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hot Diggety Dog

Hot dog.
When my husband was posted in Germany, I was walking down the street one day when I decided to buy a bratwurst from a street vendor. Approaching the stand, I asked for a "heißen Hund." The smile on the vendor's face told me that the American term "hot dog" doesn't mean the same thing in German.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Set the Table with Bananas
Which do you want: plate or banana?
My sister and I were visiting family in Peru for the first time a few years ago and we both could practice some Spanish. My sister wanted to ask our aunt for an extra plate ("plato") as we were having dinner, but instead she asked for bananas ("platano"). I started to laugh and really didn't want to correct her.

Monday, February 20, 2012

There's Only One Way Out of Salidas

PhotobucketDuring a layover in Madrid, I decided to take my suitcase with me on a quick walking tour of the city. I successfully boarded the right train going in the direction of the city center, but when I got off the train, I couldn't find an exit anywhere. The only signs I could see had an arrow and "Salidas." Muttering to myself, I said, "I don't want to go to Salidas! I want to get out of here!" Only after quite a bit of wandering did I realize that "Salidas" means "exits."

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Party Pooper and a Happy Clam Walk Into a Bar

A German expounds on the confusion that is English.

(Thanks to Heather for the heads up on these YouTube videos.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dangerously Gross

While serving as a missionary, another missionary was telling a story about a guy in a speedo. She was trying to say he was really gross (asqueroso). In Spanish she said, "el fue muy peligroso," which sounds similar to gross but what she really said was, "he was really dangerous"

-Heidi Broadbent

Monday, February 13, 2012

Republished: Mistaken in Peru

Still hiding from the sexy woman.
A few years back, some friends and I found cheap tickets to Peru and booked a night at Loki Hostel, a hostel with a wild reputation that isn’t unfounded. For four bucks a night, we were willing to put up with quite a bit. On the way to Loki, our cab driver asked us what we were going to be doing. We told him about the hike and the three unplanned days before it. “You want to see sexy woman?” he asked in his stilted English. Obviously he knew about Loki’s reputation and assumed we shared the promiscuous disposition of its usual boarders. Over our vigorous protests, he told us he’d get us tickets. “You see sexy woman. You see sexy woman," he said. A knot formed in my stomach. As it turned out, Sacsayhuamán—not “sexy woman”—is the ruin of a massive Incan temple just outside Cusco. The complex was the site of the last stand between Incan warriors and their European invaders in the 15th century. Guess we didn’t seem that wild after all.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Horsey Hair

Quite the horsey hair.
My mission president's wife, who did not usually pretend to speak French, took me souvenir-shopping on the last day of my mission in Geneva, Switzerland. I understood the parking lot attendant's confusion, but I didn't want to get involved when Sister President kept trying to tell the attendant that her hair ("cheveux") was nice.

She was actually using the word "chevaux": "Your horses--your horses--so pretty, your horses!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cute Little What?

Didn't think teddy bears would embarrass you.
Teaching your kids proper pronunciation can be more important than you think. We were at the store and my daughter yelled: "Dad, check out these titties!"
Me: "What?"
My daughter: "These little titties! Aren't they cute?"
Me (I notice she's pointing at little teddy bears): "Oh . . . those teddies? [Pronouncing it loud and slow as I try to shuffle her away]. Yeah, they're cute."
My daughter (walking away and SUPER loud): "Yeah Dad, those titties are way cute."
  -Sita Ripley

Monday, February 6, 2012

Little Shirts (Be Forewarned)

Little shirt.
While a missionary in Brazil, a new American missionary got tricked into telling members that we all need to go buy "camisinhas" (camisa=shirt, inha=little) to give to kids at church. Little did he know that "camisinha" is slang for condom. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Learning Spanish from Dora the Explorer

Dora: Expanding your children's vocabulary since 2000.
My three-year-old daughter Patcy was spending the afternoon over at my family's house when Patcy said what they thought was, "a butt hole." At the time, she had been talking about being in a car, so we assumed that what she really meant to say was "a pot hole." Patcy typically has great enunciation, so we were all confused when she refused to say "a pot hole" and continued to say "a butt hole." After a few hours of this, Patcy finally cried out "arriba!" which is Spanish for "up!" All of a sudden I understood what she had been saying the whole time . . . "abajo," the Spanish word for "down." I then explained to my family that Patcy is learning Spanish from "Dora the Explorer" and she likes to say "arriba" and "abajo" when we are going up and down hills in the car.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Long Tongue
Was his tongue this long?
When I made my first visit to the U.K., I wanted to tell one of my colleagues that he had a big mouth after he told others a secret I had confided in him. Unfortunately, I literally translated a Polish expression--"masz długi język" became "you've got a long tongue." He looked at me weird and I had no idea of the mistake I had made for quite some time.