When I first moved to Madrid, I didn’t really know Spanish. I thought I knew Spanish, but I really didn’t. And even when I did know the language, I still didn’t always use the right words. I’ve seen hubby go through the same exact thing as he’s learned English. Making mistakes are part of learning. And learning to laugh makes it easier to keep from getting frustrated. Here’s a few of our innocent, yet fun mistakes:
English -> Spanish
1. I was leading a class at church, and I told them that “I want to bless you.” One of the boys in our class stared at me and asked if I was allowed to do that. I meant to say “I want to welcome you.”
2. On a picnic with a bunch of friends, one of the girls asked if I had ‘vasos’ (cups) and I handed her ‘pasas’ (prunes)
3. When I was teaching children a song for church, there was a phrase: Cayen los grillos. I knew grillos to be a cricket, so I taught them that it was about falling crickets. Turns out grillos can also be shackles, which makes a lot more sense to the song.
4. I also taught the children that the foolish man from the Bible built his house on oatmeal instead of sand.
Spanish -> English
1. We were talking to a friend who was going home after an extended time away, and he said that he was excited to go, but sad to leave. Hubby placed a hand on his shoulder and said “it’s sour cream, isn’t it.” He meant to say bittersweet.
2. Whenever someone does something impressive, hubby’s first response is “Excuse you!” it’s a phrase they use in Spanish, to show that you’re impressed. Now, it’s kind of our family’s catch phrase whenever we want to congratulate someone.
When we were teaching Sunday School to a bunch of four year olds, hubby was supposed to give directions, and since he has a thick Spanish accent, he tends to put an ‘e’ in front of words that start with ‘s.’ He was trying to get one little boy to go forward, and started yelling “Go e-straight, go e-straight!” and of course, the poor kids, who didn’t understand his accent, yelled “go e-straight” right along with him.
How about the rest of you? Any fun stories about learning another language and making mistakes along the way?