I live in Jaipur, a large city in northern India. One of my best friends here is a native speaker of Hindi/Urdu but also speaks his own distinct brand of broken English. One day we were hanging out with some Italian girls, one of whom he was dating.
Sitting at the table, he cast a loving gaze at her face and said in the sweetest voice imaginable, "Darling, I want to come in your eyes."
My father walked into a Nissan garage in Germany and asked for two headaches (zwei Kopfschmerzen) instead of two headrests (zwei Kopflehne). Lucky for him they did not comply with his wishes.
When I was studying Spanish in Ecuador, I attempted to explain what a peacock was to my professor. I wanted to say "They open their tails", or "cola". Instead, I had a sweet Freudian slip and said "culo", or "ass".
I hate when you slip up like that and you can hear yourself saying it, but you can't take the words back while they're falling out of your mouth. I knew it came out all wrong, but I couldn't really stop myself.
When I was in London with my class (German students), something hilarious happened at the airport. We where standing in a queue and some Brits came around and started to cut in line. A friend of mine yelled: "You can't come here! There's a snake here!", which not only baffled the British couple, but made everyone else, including our teacher, laugh out loud.
The German word "Schlange" is used both for snake and queue, and he used the direct translation.
My dad and I were in a convenience store, Monoprix, when I was about twelve. It was summer and I was wearing a Chicago White Sox baseball cap. The White Sox happens to be my father's lifelong favorite team. Lo and behold, as we rounded a corner we saw another man and his daughter--and she was wearing a Sox cap too! Excitedly my dad exclaimed in French, "Our daughters are both wearing White Sox shrimp!" (He said "crevette" instead of "casquette").
Transgressive author Chuck Palahniuk is here to help with tips and tricks to hacking your life.
Not what I had in mind when I ordered an Italian gondolier. This is literally just a tiny toy. Needless to say, the Italian businessmen were not impressed and I looked like a damn fool. We lost the pizza pie account and will have to lay off half our factory.
Time to applaud the man who applauds in a loop until the end of time.
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