My MOST Embarrassing Mistakes Learning Languages
They say that you shouldn't be afraid of making mistakes, and they're right! But that doesn't mean they're not incredibly embarrassing… Hopefully you can get a kick out of laughing at my biggest mistakes! Try not to make them yourself!
One night after work, I went out for dinner with my boss and her friend. When it came time to pay the bill, we both reached for our purses but my boss had already passed her card to a member of staff. I gratefully said thank you (감사합니다) and she replied, ‘천만에요.’ My jaw dropped. I knew we had ordered good sake and far more beer than we said we were going to, but I didn't think it would turn out to be that expensive! ‘좀 비싸네요,’ I said. It was then that even the chefs in the open kitchen turned to laugh at me. I'm sure they were wondering if I was drunk or if I was just a beginner.
천만 (ten million)
천만에요 (don’t mention it, my pleasure)
If you've read my post on how I'm learning Spanish, you would know that I worked in a Spanish restaurant for a while. There was a dish called ‘Cordero con calabaza’ (lamb with pumpkin)…does calabaza not look incredibly similar to cabeza or was it just me…
La calabaza (pumpkin)
La cabeza (head)
This was a few years into my Japanese language-learning journey and I had hit a wall. You know, those days when instead of seeing how far you've come, you focus on how much further you have to go? Yeah, it was one of those days. My friend was trying to console me as we did our food shop. ‘そんなことないよ！本当に日本語うまいよ！(Don't think that way! Your Japanese is really good!). She then pointed at some carrots in the produce isle, trying to make me feel better by asking me a super easy question. ‘Look, what are those?’ I looked at the carrots. ‘人形…’ I replied.
人形 • にんぎょう • doll
人参 • にんじん • carrots
I don't think I'm the only one to have made the ‘je suis chaud(e)’ mistake… While we're at it, I bet you've also accidently said that you're ‘excité(e)’, too! False friends are the worst…
Il fait chaud - It's hot
J'ai chaud(e) - I'm hot
Je suis chaud(e) - I'm hot (for you) i.e. horny
At the time, I was mortified that I had made such silly mistakes, but guess what? If I was a fluent speaker, I wouldn't have made these mistakes and I wouldn't have some funny stories to tell now! Cringe for a second and then laugh with everyone.