Getting things wrong in a foreign language.

This week I wish to begin by offering condolences to Delirious from Life on a Limb, who was bereaved by the death of her father, on Monday. We in her LBC family, reach out with virtual hugs.


I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list
~ Susan Sontag

One does not need to leave home  to make a faux pas with our own language never mind any other.

My own father had great difficulty with words beginning with ‘vio

It took both wile and cajolery to talk him into saying:

Viola wore violet violets while playing the violin violently.

I wonder if he had been Indian in a previous life?

No body does it better than Russell Peters

Paul had chosen this topic for us before he went on Sabbatical, I do hope our other active members do more justice to the subject than I have today. I may be slow to read or comment, as I have an infection in both eyes at the moment, so why not dally along to enjoy the offerings from: Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, Padmum, Ramana, Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, Will Knott.

15 thoughts on “Getting things wrong in a foreign language.

  1. Nick

    There are some very confusing Italian words. Casino, with the accent on the o, is a casino, but casino with an accent on the si means a brothel. Easy to get it wrong….

  2. Barbara

    Sasha used to mix up W and V sounds, he used to make Vancouver sound very rude and Victoria sound like a place to buy candles. I think in many languages their sounds are reversed from the English

    See Russian; Vodka pronounced Wodka

  3. mayo

    Trying to learn Zulu while living in Swaziland for 3 years. I had to be carefull not to use umpipi (penis) intead of using ipipi when referring to a smoking pipe.

  4. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – My father seemed to curl his tongue and sounded like he would vomit when saying something like that tongue twister above.

    shackman – 😀

    Nick – I hope you didn’t make that mistake! 😉

  5. Grannymar Post author

    Barbara – Jack always teased me about turty tree. Mind you, we giggled at his efforts to count in Irish – ‘cacker’ had me rolling about the place!
    A ceathair /ah cah-hir/ = Four

    GFB – She sure did!

    mayo – Mixing those two could be dangerous.

  6. wisewebwoman

    My favourite language has always been Italian, it is music on the tongue and makes everything sound like an opera. Zupa. Salada.

    My mother’s mispronounciation of words still makes me giggle.


  7. Grannymar Post author

    WWW – Your comment reminded of the perfect Italian story for this topic. Easy to see I was under the weather, to have forgotten it! It will have to wait until my eyes improve sufficiently to sit at at the laptop and write a proper piece. 🙁

    Maria SF – I stayed off- line for most of the day & gave in early last evening. I went to bed, lay in the dark and listened to a play.

    Delores – Confession time! I made up that tongue twister to cover some of the words I remember daddy having difficulty with.

  8. Cathy in NZ

    okay 2 words that cause huge problems when overseas…In the 1960s I was domiciled in London and worked in an office where I had to order the stationery. I didn’t know I was going to cause the other dept hysterics every time I called!

    Pens and Pins

    Six and Sex

    I remember ordering a box of pens and we received a box pins!

    Then one day I wanted 6 of something and the guy got the first dose of hysterics! In the end, I wised up – also said “half a dozen”


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