Although learning another language can be an arduous task requiring hours and hours of strenuous study, there is humour to be found whilst undertaking your studies. The Telegraph has compiled a top 10 list of foreign language faux pas. English is particularly prone to these faux pas as it is composed of many different languages. Many words that English acquired were applied to different words in English than that of its native origin. Add to that the evolution of languages as well as a few coincidences and you get some humourous examples of being lost in translation. Below are some of my favourite examples from The Telegraph’s list.
Swedish – kissa means to urinate, and lustig means humorous, not lusty. Just don’t be surprised if the conversation ends with the word slut – it means “end” in Swedish.
Turkish – Though Turkish people are famously friendly, be careful with a casual hiya, as it sounds the same as the Turkish word for testicles. For a night out, remember that you can’t gamble in a gazino; the word means café in Turkish. You may wind up at a nightspot that features a şarkı, which is a singer, not a shark.
German – If you’re celebrating a birthday there, don’t accept a gift. As a noun, it means poison, not a present. If asked what you’ve bekommen, folks want to know what you received, not what you’ve become. And don’t worry if your friends want to meet you by the Rathaus. In German, Rat means council, and often serves as a prefix for words describing municipal jobs or places.
Hot news for all Scrabble lovers: the makers have announced they are changing the rules to include proper nouns.
Proper nouns include place names, brand names and people’s names, all of which will count under the new rules. The game with the new rules will be available from July, and the makers hope the change will encourage more younger players.
A spokeswoman for the company said the use of proper nouns would “add a new dimension” to Scrabble and “introduce an element of popular culture into the game”.
She said: “This is one of a number of twists and challenges included that we believe existing fans will enjoy and will also enable younger fans and families to get involved.” (Source: BBC News)
Scrabble is a great way of increasing and practicing your vocabulary when learning a new language. It’s available in 29 different language versions including English, Spanish and Swedish. The use of proper nouns may encourage players to soak up some culture along with their language.
What do you think about the Scrabble rule changes? Are you a purist, determined to stick to the original rules? Or will you embrace the use of proper nouns when going for the maximum word score?
Created in 1995, Talk Like A Pirate Day (TLAPD) started between two friends, and went nationwide in America (and then international) after being promoted by syndicated humour columnist Dave Barry, in 2002. From an idea between friends, the day has grown into a huge ‘holiday’, celebrated by pirate (and fun) loving people all over the world.
So why celebrate? Well, first and foremost, it’s very amusing to try and talk in pirate all day! Not only will you be learning a new language (albeit of limited use), you can raise money for charity by doing so. Check out some of the events here and here. As a truly international day, you can also learn how to talk like a pirate in Swedish, German, French, and Mandarin Chinese.
Aarrr! Want to celebrate but got a problem with your pirate-speak? Check out the video below of the founders of TLAPD to learn some of the basics of pirate lingo. And if you need a bit of a hand translating more difficult phrases, set your Google to Pirate and search away! You can also try out the Facebook English (Pirate) option, but sadly you can’t do the same on Twitter yet.
A-pirating we go!
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