Have you ever been traveling internationally and said something in that country’s language that might not have been what you thought it was? Maybe you said something to a waiter and got a weird look? Well you’re not the only one. According to a recent article in the Telegraph, it’s common place for travelers to make mistakes when trying to speak another language.
Like a scene from the movies, it’s a regular occurrence for travelers to butcher a country’s language. The Telegraph article revealed some of the most common gaffes that people make. These aren’t necessarily obvious mistakes, but subtle differences in phrases and words that result in the mistake. In France and Portugal, the word for jam is often mistakenly mixed up with another word that you wouldn’t want to use at the breakfast table– that word being condom. Another French word, “pleine”, which means full, when mispronounced can mean “pregnant”.
Despite these mistakes by travelers, the study of Britons revealed that at least travelers were making attempts to learn and speak the language. As any local will tell you, one of the biggest frustrations of tourists can be that they don’t try to speak the language. However, in this study, it showed that 95% of travelers were actually making attempts to communicate in the language of the country they were visiting.
[Photo courtesy of Ed Yourdon]