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Language mistakes... share your best!

Have you started typing in the wrong language? Saying "und" instead of "and" or spelling house with an "a" (German!). Do you write half a sentence in one language and the other half in another? If you've started to slip up your words I want to hear about it! Post your funny stories below so we can all share a good laugh!

January 9, 2018



I start to write german where it says to write in english


It's not really a funny story, but back when I was in high school, I had to do recorded conversations in Spanish class for a grade. We were told to speak as much as we could and that having too much silence on the tape would hurt our grades, so it was okay to use filler words and phrases like "pues," "ósea," "es decir," "es que," and even "eh/em" because those helped us keep our train of thought while we were trying to put together sentences. Meanwhile, in English class, we were taught to never use filler words because they distract from the message and make us look unfocused. So I had "like" and "uh/um" trained out of my spontaneous speech, but whenever I'm at a loss for words in English, I have to fight the urge to use Spanish filler words.

A little more of a funny story, I just started bullet journaling at the start of this year. The beauty of it is that it's helping me stay organized in an aesthetically pleasing way without being confined to the design of a ready-made planner/agenda. I've found that it's much more satisfying to finish the tasks that I write down on my to-do list if instead of just crossing them off, I write a short message saying that I've finished. Sometimes that message is sarcastic or humorous, sometimes I'm "yelling" in all caps. I caught myself writing those in Spanish a few times, even though I didn't realize it as I was writing. So I have little purple pen scribbles in my planner that say things like "fue pan comido" or "HE ARREGLADO TODO."


I have done this, for sure. And then when Duo says I got the answer wrong, I am yelling at my phone saying I typed it right.

Oh it was right, it was just half in the target language and half English. I will look at it several times, mystified as to why Duo says it is wrong, when I can plainly see it is right....... If you are speaking 2 languages at once. LOL

And sometimes after practicing Hebrew on Duo online, then I go to Facebook and I am typing in Hebrew characters. I do not notice it until I have hit post and then look and see that it is all in Hebrew characters because I forgot to change my computer's language back to English..

Friends just laugh, they know I am studying foreign languages.


ha! Sounds like me on email!


That happened to me at least 2 times with Greek and several in Japanese.


I ragequit while working on the Norwegian course because it was for English speakers, and I kept accidentally writing the English answers in Spanish. All of the courses I've done in the past year (French, Italian, German, etc.) have been for Spanish speakers so having to use English kept catching me off guard.

[deactivated user]

    Yes, actually. In my History exam(finals) I caught myself writing the answer to a short answer question in Dutch! Imagine I had turned that in......


    i had an accident about 9 years ago and when i came to after fainting the first sentence i spoke was czech. It naturally corrected in the next sentence to english like i hadnt missed a beat. my sister caught it but otherwise no one thought anything of it.


    I have done all of the above, but the worst is probably when franglais or irishy spellings leak into my english. I had to repeat the same sentence five times because I kept mispelling colour as coleur (which is not correct in either language) in an english sentence.


    Not anything specifically, but I've noticed that I do have a harder time spelling words in English, even words I know...I have to take a few seconds to think real quick and it's kind of annoying me because I am a writer. Italian is a very phonetic language, unlike English, so sometimes when I'm spelling out a word in English I have to readjust my brain real quickly because your spelling brain from Italian to English is very different. Also, I have to make sure I'm not thinking with the Italian vowels in mind.


    Some of my lecture notes from the semester I started Russian randomly incorporated Cyrillic letters in the middle of English words. For instance, a cursive "д" (which looks a cursive English "g") showed up where a "d" (which is the obvious sound correspondence for "д") should have been, so what ought to have looked like, say, "chide" came out looking like "chige."


    I often confuse "stesso" and "sesso" in Italian :'v Changes the conversation entirely


    I always mix up lampone and lumaca, which are two VERY DIFFERENT taste sensations.


    Well, being native Polish but fluent in English I went few years ago to Austria with my wife. At one of the major attractions, the Schonbrunn castle we were asked in what language do we want audioguides so I've answered (in English): "Polish or English". The lady then asked in Polish: "So Polish then?" and I've answered in English not really noticing she changed the language "Yes, Polish will be great". So she said again in Polish "Ok, then Polish" and I thanked, still using English. Only then my wife told me (in Polish): "The lady speaks to you in Polish!".

    Another story, we were on our way to Italy, passing Austria (again ;-) ). Well, my German knowledge is very limited (at the very best) but I always try to use the opportunity to use the language. As we were nearing the Italian border it there was a part of a road that was said to be paid. But we were already having the road vignette so I was wondering if we really have to pay. While waiting in a queue I was building the sentence so I already came up with something like "Wir habben ein ..., solten wir noch einmal zahlen" (We have a ..., should we pay again?)., but I had no idea how to actually say "vignette". We were almost at the pay point when my look finally fell on the vignette itself and it was clearly written there "Vignette".

    Once I was translating a mathematical text from Russian (where my knowledge was pretty much limited to ability to read letters only) for my wife. It was needed on her studies. I did the full translation of the theorem and the proof, then helped her explaining all the gaps. Everything was fitting. The next day she went on the studies to show the theorem. When she came back she said the translation was pretty good with just one problem. I haven't noticed a contradiction in theorem so the theorem we've proven was actually... opposite to the correct one...

    Once I was on a Baltic sea coast in a quite remote place. Near us there was a German family camping. Their son was speaking English but only a bit. On Sunday I thought they might be willing to go to the church (well, not the same religion, but close so...). The trouble was there was no "proper" church. The cross was set on the hills in the woods and every Sunday a priest was coming, setting a temporary altar from a folded table. So I've decided to explain that in German (or rather to try). I was able to say that I'm talking about church, but there is no church. That they have to look in the woods and on the hills. But I had no idea how to say "a mass". They've asked me if I'm talking about church ruins but I solely denied. On Monday they told that they have decided to try finding the place I was referring to and went some 10 kilometers on their bikes but found nothing... (the location was like 300 m from the camp)

    Last story is not a mistake actually. I was in Italy (the trip mentioned above). As we were driving for a full day we wanted to have a bath but there was no place to do so. Yet on one of the fuel stations we've asked a lady at the toilet if we could clean ourselves there at least a bit. Somehow I've managed to explain but there was a problem when we came to a price. As the normal toilet usage was one euro per person I was trying to ask if the price is going to be the same. I'd aske "One euro for one person?" but the lady couldn't get the idea what I am actually talking about. I know literally nothing about Italian. Finally I looked at our Fiat Uno and Eureka! I've asked "Uno euro pro una persona?" and the lady apparently finally understood me, answering "Si, Si!"


    I like the Irish word eilifint so much that when translating into English I keep spelling it elefant... Imagine the nasty surprise each time my answer is not accepted! :D

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