Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grapes that have been saved from their Fishes. Lunacy in Language)

There are certain words I avoid while trying to learn Spanish. I might avoid them even after I finish learning the language (which will be never). Frankly, I can’t believe that native speakers don’t make these slip ups. But they don’t. Oh, no, they sure don’t. I base that on the fact that I have actually made someone have to use a wall to hold herself up from laughing so hard.

So, without, further ado... here they are.

1. La pareja/ el pajaro: I need this word all the time. It means couple. As in married couples. We have a married couples group at our church.

So, I say to Vivi, “¿Es el grupo de pajaros este noche? (Is the group of birds tonight?)

It’s easiest just to avoid it.

2. Pescado/ pecado: Yep, these two words are best to be avoided at all costs. Have I mixed them up? Yep! And my kids really love to laugh about the time I told my Sunday School class how Jesus died for all our fishes.

3. Hombre/ Hambre: I don’t suggest you ever walk into a kitchen, feeling very hungry, and wanting to express that hunger to a group of women and then announce “Tengo hombre!” You will NEVER be able to live it down. Apparently, saying that you “have a man” will be enough to tickle their funny bones for months to come.

4. Libro/ Libre/ Libra: One Year in, I still ask the market seller to give me three books worth of grapes. Only sometimes, because I am just running through them all, I ask her to give me free grapes. Not as in grapes that cost me nothing, but grapes that are not bound by slavery. Perhaps they have been saved from their fishes?

Now that you know what NOT to use, let me give you some guidance on how to make yourself understand with this lack of vocabulary. (Of course, I use spanish, but since all my readers speak English, I translated it for you.)

Couple: Instead use the spanish for “Two people”

Bird: That animal that flies. (I also gesture with my fingers by my mouth to indicate a tiny beak. Because this is sooooo much less humiliating that the language mistake)

Fish: (This one is easy because pescado is actually cooked fish. Fish still living is “pez” Just use pez. Everyone will forgive you. You will be able to live it down far easier than asking for a plate of sins.

Sin: You can either use “bad things” or “making wrong choices”.

Man: Adult boy. Haha.

Hunger: I have no work-around for this one. You will just have to be stuck making a fool of yourself.

Book: The thing for reading

Free: opposite of a slave (I use “opposite of...” a lot)

Pound: No work around. I just say it under my breath so they can’t hear me, and they ALWAYS repeat with the correct word used.

Me: I want 4 mumble mumble mumble of grapes.

Them: you want four POUNDS of grapes?

Me: YES! 4 pounds of grapes.


lucasgavinaiden said...

Oh how your stories make me laugh!!
I can not imagine how many hilarious mistakes I would make if I were in your shoes. My highschool spanish teacher once told us a stry of a friend of hers who was taking a very crowded bus in mexico and fell into a gentlemans lap.instead of saying pardon me or excuse me she said "con permiso" essentially asking permission to sit in the mans lap.

Gwen said...

I bet many native Spanish speakers who've learned English could come up with some doozies for English too. You make me giggle though. The image of you announcing loudly that you have a man is making me giggle even minutes after reading it, lol. It will sustain me for a long time.

Kimmie said...

Wow, there are a lot of tricky spots in language acquisition. I am proud of you for keeping at it an actually speaking in another is amazing!

For several weeks our daughter (13 from Ethiopia) kept saying *hose on* throughout the day. We had know idea what she was saying...actually for quite awhile. Finally we realized that she meant...hold on and boy did we all laugh (including Simenesh).

Praying for you...for rest and peace...but I shouldn't say, "rest in peace." ;-) God has got you covered and a fresh dose of His refreshing is going to fall upon you and yours. enjoy it.

mama to 8
one homemade and 7 adopted