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Funny phrase mix-ups that foreigners say Login/Join 
Yeah, that M14 video guy...
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posted
All this talk about phrases you like or annoy got me to thinking about funny things that foreigners say. My wife is Brazilian and over the past 11 years I've hears some real whoppers.

"Are you drinking bananas?" Translation: Are you kidding me? Probably a mix-up of "What are you drinking?" and "You're going bananas."

"Whatever rocks your boat." Mix- up of "Whatever floats your boat." and "Don't rock the boat."

"Pearl Harbor." She meant safe harbor.

"I'm not as close as monkey." This one took me a while to figure out. We were talking about her OCD tendencies and she meant to say "I'm not as bad as Monk."

"I tried on some shorts but I didn't like the semen." Uh, what exactly were you doing in the dressing room?

Her: "Maybe while we're here, we can get some hookers." (We were in Target and the strip club was across the street)
Me: "Um, excuse me? We're Christians, you know..."
Her: "You know, hookers, to hang our robes on the bathroom door..."
Me: "Oh, you mean hooks!"
Her: "Yeah, hookers! Isn't that what they're called?"

And for the grand finale-
She had nose surgery once to clear a blockage. I told her that in American slang she had a "nose job." She had stints in her nose that were causing her head to hurt really bad. Given this new found information about nose jobs, she assumed that since she wished she could get her whole head fixed, she said "My head hurts so bad. I really need a head job!"

Tony.


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Posts: 2425 | Location: USA | Registered: February 13, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alienator
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Chinese people will say "eat medicine" instead of take medicine because that's the way it is in Chinese.


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Do No Harm,
Do Know Harm
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Spanish speakers: "Toe fingers" instead of toes. It's the literal translation for them, but it gets me every time I hear it! Big Grin


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I believe in the
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I think I have gotten my French wife to avoid the use of a certain synonym for a cat.

We have 13 of them at present.




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When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

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Meeting a family from the UK while camping we found it amusing that when getting ready to swim in the lake, they were going to put on their swimming costumes.
 
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Yeah, that M14 video guy...
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quote:
Originally posted by JALLEN:
I think I have gotten my French wife to avoid the use of a certain synonym for a cat.

We have 13 of them at present.


Man, that's a lotta......(French synonym for cat).


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No good deed
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A friend's Japanese mother says "towel papers" instead of paper towels. Smile
 
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Another one that is especially fun in Charlotte with a high population of 黑人 is their pause word. It varies depending on accent, but sounds like nayga or naga. It can also sound like nigga. So you see people get offended when Chinese speaking exchange students are talking.


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Back, and
to the left
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I heard two separate Russian people in the late eighties/early 90's say:

'The Lincoln Town Car. I had that one. It was sorry piece of vehicle.'

and

'I am so angry, I am standing here beside myself!'



I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. -Ecclesiastes 9:11
 
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25 years ago I was dating a Persian woman who would later be my wife. One day, out of the blue, she called me her "apple plumbing" when she was meaning to say "apple dumpling".

I still give her shit about that to this day! Big Grin

JP



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Friend: Time to get back on the whores

This took me a minute as the context was my friend was ready to start dating again after a long-term relationship ended. My friend doesn't date whores (amateur or professional).

Me: I think you meant horse

Friend: <<strange facial expression>> Horse doesn't make any sense

Me: You got bucked off the proverbial horse, you've dusted yourself off, and you're ready to get back on.

Friend: <<light bulb goes on>>



Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity

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Get my pies
outta the oven!

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I was working in a German Gasthaus in Germany on an Army cooks exchange program and the chef/owner was trying to explain some recipe that called for "Megnut" Big Grin she was trying to say "Nutmeg" which in German is called "Muscatnuss"


 
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We were in Prague a few years ago and had a really early flight out the day we left. We were setting up an early taxi with the front desk girl. As we were confirming everything her words af assurance that our 4:30 am taxi would be there were "Don't perspirate it" Meaning "don't sweat it".

I waited until I got to the elevator to chuckle about that one.
 
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One of the germans here was upset and asked the guy "do you want me to put your ass on my foot?"


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I had a colleague of Indian extraction who sometimes mixed up or combined American expressions with humorous results.

By far, the funniest was when he described a crafty female manager. He said "She always has an ace up the hole."



... stirred anti-clockwise.
 
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While in Croatia I had someone ask me if I "rape my potato", turns out she meant "wrap my potato" before cooking it. The Brit expression that always makes me chuckle is when they say, "Will you knock me up the next time you visit". Of course they mean knock on my office door the next time you visit, not,er, ah the other thing.
 
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This Italian guy I used to work with would ask me to "remember me to do.." such and such but he meant "remind me to"...


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Vagabond Dreamer
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quote:
Originally posted by cheesegrits:
A friend's Japanese mother says "towel papers" instead of paper towels. Smile


My wife, who is not Japanese, says the same thing.

When I work with offshore developers of Indian descent, the phrase "Please do the needful" comes up regularly when they are asking me to do something for them like give them access to a projects source code.




 
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In grad school, a French rugby fan came running out of the building after watching a World Cup match saying, "We beat the Blacks! We beat the Blacks!"

The "Blacks" in this case being the New Zealand All Blacks, the country's international rugby team.

I had to explain why shouting "We beat the Blacks" might not be the best thing to say in Cincinnati....

And, while not necessarily a mixed up phrase, the most hilarious miscommunication I've ever seen came in grad school. There was a Welsh visiting scholar named Siriol. One of the Greek grad students sent around an email asking something about giving Cereal a ride. There was much perplexity.


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A Vietnamese coworker wanted to go to Rusty Scraper (Scupper) for lunch. When our software was not working, he said it was hosted (hosed). We used his terms from then on.
 
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