Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cris Makes an Idiot of Herself Part 36

Ok, maybe 36 is a bit of an exaggeration, but this was the big one.

Any of you who have learned, or attempted to learn, a new language know that due to accents and intonations and which leg you shift your weight to during the pronunciation of a word all can affect, sometimes dramatically, the difference between what you intend to say and what actually comes out. We've all done it, we've all made these mistakes. Just some are worse than others.

When I first arrived in Natal, I once confused the word for pregnant with the word for maid and told a friend that my shirt made me look like a maid. I only wish my most recent blunder had been so simple.

I'll start with the least embarrassing one, because it happened in front of friends. Tonight I had a few people over to have a going away party for one of my readers. We were sitting around and I picked up a little book of Portuguese expressions that I won as a gag gift at Christmas from one of the church members. I opened up the book and just started saying some of the expressions out loud. Harmless enough. However, I knew I had made a mistake when I read one and, immediately, Andressa gasped, Sergio hit me, someone yelped from the other room, and Catherine burst out laughing. Someone said "Cris! DON'T EVER SAY THAT. EVER." Apparently, the expression I chose to repeat out of this little book not only implemented a curse word but was also extremely vulgar. We all nervously laughed for a bit, and then I just sat there feeling awkward. Needless to say, I put a pen in Andressa's hand and had her go through the book and cross out every expression I shouldn't bother learning or repeating. Lesson learned.

The second is the more embarrassing of the two, because it happened with a complete stranger. It's a bit gross, but hilarious because of the innocence with which I made my mistake. Lucky for me, Andressa was around to witness this one as well. I had gone into my cell phone service provider's store at the mall to add more minutes to my plan. The word I needed to use is a word I've never completely mastered, and is similar to others that are also related to cell phone usage. I thought I had finally gotten it down, and I even spoke extra slowly to make sure I said it right. I told the guy that I needed to "recargar" (what I thought meant something along the lines of recharge) and he smiled. I thought he liked my accent. He asked how much, I said twenty-five. When I turned around Andressa was smiling, avoiding eye contact with me. "What did I say, Andressa?" I asked. "Nothing, nothing," she said, looking at the ceiling, her smile getting bigger and bigger. "Andressa. What did I say? Tell me."

"Cris, you just told him that you need to poop. Again. Twenty five times."

Apparently it's important to place the accent on the correct syllable.

The end.

4 comments:

Deanna said...

I love it!!! Too funny! Thanks so much for sharing your poop story. Ha!

lacy hefley said...

that's a good one. has bob told you about the time i said "let's get married" instead of "let's go home"? yeah. that was awkward.

Mark and Kelly said...

HAHA! Or, in Portuguese, kkkkkkkk. You could make one of your English-speaking friends tell you how to say in English "dia de pagamento" and ask surprised when they answer:)

Anonymous said...

Sergio:
Yeah Mark and Kelly, dia do pagamento in English is not s good pronunciation to Potuguese defenetely! Every semester in my English class, this is the first question of the students: Hod do you say dia do pagamento in English? It is really weird!kkkkkk!