https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ycleptKyara

Funny Mistakes You've Made

Recently I was asked to translate 'I eat vegetables'. Without much thought, I wrote 'yo como vegetarianos' (I eat vegetarians). Have you encountered any funny mistakes while trying to learn a new language?

(By the way, I don't remember eating any vegetarians lately...)

May 1, 2014

104 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/queendeeny

Yes in high school we had a new student, a boy from Mexico who spoke no English. I was trying to have a conversation with him but was embarrassed over my poor Spanish. I tried to tell him I was embarrassed but actually told him I was pregnant! (embarasada)

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marian80

"embarazada"

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Felinagrace

Embarazada is what is called a false friend, "un amigo falso." Diario (newspaper), ropa (clothing) and sopa (soup) are also "amigos falsos." The word for embarrassed in Spanish is "avergonzado/a."

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/queendeeny

This is a good resource. I learned that "sin preservativo" does not mean "no artificial preservatives" but "without a condom." One could get oneself in a whole lot of trouble with that mix-up and end up truly embarazada (as well as avergonzada.)

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

+1

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smashingx

Funny how when I visited the US for the first time and I was learning English I thought the same when I reached that word in my course. I was thinking "Why someone would be pregnant just because is talking in front of the class?"

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/queendeeny

You must have really been bewildered!

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CattleRustler

I have done stuff like that, though I can't recall any exact examples. Something I do, that I hate, is I think the correct word, and type the wrong word, and its usually in english translating from spanish. I am at the end of my tree with some really complex verb tense sentences, it's really painful to type out a 14 word sentence and get all the complexities right, only to be wrong because I typed the first word The instead of They, even though I thought They when I started typing. The ultimate facepalm.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BaconAddict

I am so happy to see I am not the only one to do this. lol

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ioanna.s97

ALL THE FREAKING TIME. It annoys me so much. But at least most typos are caught, and only those that change the meaning of the word are not.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/betterannamac

YES! That's the worst! I'll do this on the iPhone and dictate to Siri want to translate to English and not notice that the first word got dropped, or that it was she instead of he or something and that and there goes my heart. :(

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zaqsert

Yes, many times. What? I got one letter wrong? But I used the right words and put them in the right order, so yay me, anyway.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PopTartTastic

I'm still in the first third of my tree, and I do that ALL THE TIMEEEEEEEE.

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mrben83

I left my bike in a block of flats in spain for a few minutes in the corridor(you're not supposed to... but it wasn't for long), and an older lady came out telling me this, I meant to say it was only for a short while... "es por un rato" Instead made the mistake of saying "es por un raton" and couldn't understand why she looked so confused, eventually she gave up and left me alone... It wasn't until after I left that I realised my mistake! Alas I do believe the bike is too big for a mouse to ride!

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kgkoon

I've typed in the English translation when asked to type in the Spanish I hear . . .

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CattleRustler

luckily dl stops you with "This doesnt appear to be spanish" and you can correct it. It does for me anyway

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/colen35

I often do the same. Glad they don't mark it incorrect.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rachvx

I've actually said the Spanish sentence - like there's a microphone to speak into or something - only to realize I'm supposed to translate it...

May 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arismartin

Sometime DL doesn't need help to place us In a fun situation and we don't have to go far away... The same sentence that you comment.

DL translate it to Spanish as "yo como vegetales". The truth is that translate vegetables as vegetales, is indeed fun. The vegetables that are eaten by humans are called "verdura" (some times 'hortalizas' but not often). If you say "yo como vegetales" is equivalent to say "I eat animals" when you want to say "I eat meat"... If you say that in Spain it will seem you are a cow...

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexisLinguist

I took a previous course that used verduras only, and another one (current one) that uses vegetales...never knew they were "different", like saying I eat pigs vs. I eat pork. Thanks for that.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/toomath

I asked a shopkeeper in Chile if they had any whales. I meant cookies...

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arismartin

Jajaja... Ballenas... Galletas ... These things happen.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thigg4

I was in Peru visiting with my wife's family. After a week, I was feeling pretty good about my Spanish skills. The phone rang, and everyone was talking, and not answering the phone. I picked it up and spoke to my brother in law. What I heard was "I'll pick you guys up for the party in 10 minutes". What he said was "I'm leaving for the party in 10 minutes. See you there." I told everyone that he'd pick us up in a little bit. Being Peru, when he didn't show up for 30 minutes, nobody was too concerned. When he didn't show up for an hour, my wife called him back and discovered my mistake. It will be a while before I answer the phone in Peru :-).

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ross_Kennedy

A friend of mine recently said "My name is Mexico" rather than "I love Mexico".

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/betterannamac

My husband has his own made up Spanish. He will add o and ito to English words. When he wants someone to move over, in English he would say "scootch over" so he says "e-scootchen" which sounds like "escuchen" which, of course, means "listen." Drives me crazy! As well as my puertorican mother!

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/auldahl

I was talking to a Spanish guy, who told me it was his birthday. So I quickly wanted to congratulate him in Spanish - and said "Feliz navidad!" (Merry Christmas) instead of "feliz cumpleaños" - I realized my mistake right away and we both had a good laugh.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dreamer71

A friend of mine had an e-mail signature "Soy humano, y tengo fallos", but I misread it at first as "Soy humano, y tengo faldas"

EDIT:
I just found this collection of silly beginner mistakes:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/yoursay/lost_for_words.shtml#spanish

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/colen35

Thanks for that link. I got a lot of good laughs!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

Pues, ¡tenemos fallos!

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamohtSMA

I have ordered grilled dust and complained about the octopus blowing in through the window. Two easily confused words.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeredithNa

What were you trying to say?

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamohtSMA

I wanted grilled octopus for dinner not dust and I was complaining about the dust on the table. Pulpo vs pulvo

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hepzibah77

I work in a restaurant and practice my Spanish skills (or lack of) on some of my very patient, and sometimes amused, coworkers. While talking to the woman stocking the salad bar I was trying to says huevos (eggs). Instead I said ojos, lol.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CattleRustler

omg Sopa de ojos! Yuck!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lrtward

ojos revueltos, yuck!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

This is one reason why learning etymology can be helpful. "huevo" is just a more Spanishy-sounding version of "ovum".

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arismartin

In english, to write is the less difficult (intentionality I don't have said 'more easy'). To talk is the problem. This I told it already some days ago.

I was with a friend in front of the computer working in Excel (you know, a Microsoft application). As everyone knows, the Excel has books and sheets... As my friend is an English expert, I started to talk in English as a professional... ... "Open a new sheet, please"... Ehhhhhhh... Open a ❤❤❤❤??? What is that about open a ❤❤❤❤!! I was surprised when he told me that I had pronounced ❤❤❤❤ instead sheet... Ah... And now? Well... You must place your mouth as if you were smiling ... Shhhhhhhhhhttt... Well, I put my best simile and I said ... Shhiiiiiit... "Well, well, (answered me) you have said ❤❤❤❤ smiling..." "That is an advance... indeed"

I hope that there are not too many seemed situations as this one in English... I hope.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sakasiru

There was this very funny live stream night at CERN, where academics from many countries work. They did a skit on how they converse with each other, all speaking English with their accents. I sadly can't find a record, but it was basically "did you just swear?" the whole time...

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeredithNa

Just be careful of the word can't...

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robin_H

hahahah Oh boy!!! You made me laugh!!!! <3 At my language school I asked my teacher (Who else??) how can I say "Beach" without saying "❤❤❤❤❤"! at the end he thought I called him ❤❤❤❤❤ "Are you calling me ❤❤❤❤❤??"!! I actually had to spell the word orally to make him understand!! The accent KILLS me sometimes!! haha :)

May 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

I once asked a library patron if she wanted "una receta" (a recipe) when I meant to ask if she wanted "un recibo" (a receipt). Confusion ensued.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicoespanol

When translating "how old are you ?", forgetting the tilde : ¿Cuántos anos tienes?

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carolind

Oh, I have one that is not in Spanish. I was learning Dutch and was at a ball in Brussels with lots of Dutch speakers. At the end of a particularly fast and jumpy dance I tell my dance partner: "Ik ben mooi". He looks at me and says a slow yeeeees?!... And I realize I said: "I am pretty", instead of "I am tired" (Ik ben moe). Soooo embarrassing...

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

The "oe" digraph is not very helpful! XD

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mgruver

My daughter moved to Chile 3 years ago, and I made my first visit last year knowing only a very little Spanish. After a lovely meal at the home of her Chilean boyfriend's parents, I asked what to do with the bones left on my plate. Unfortunately, I guessed at the word based on the Latin root and called them the "osos" on my plate. Well, it certainly broke the ice! When we all stopped laughing, I figured I better open a duolingo account.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maura_Kelly

Just back from trip to Chile to meet my granddaughter and family. I was very glad of my level 13 Duo Lingo Spanish. After Pisco sour my Spanish improved even more!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emuliae

"Le petit-déjeuner: du pain et du lait" I started fine but... "Breakfast: brain and milk" Changing the language in the middle of the word, oh well. Maybe I won't be able to tell the difference because I'm so tired anyway.... :D

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wynrich

A few years ago my husband and I traveled in Italy so I spent some time learning a bit of Italian beforehand. At the beginning of the trip, I told my husband with dead certainty that "husband" in Italian is "figlio" and "wife" is "figlia". So, we called each other figlio/figlia and frequently referred to each other that way to others. E.g., to the hotel clerk: "Mi figlio has the hotel key upstairs." For some reason, about 2 weeks into the trip, I decided to double check this in a dictionary. Well, of course, "figlio" means "son" and "figlia" means "daughter". We had been referring to each other the whole time as "son" and "daughter"!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

Iirc, the word is more like Spouse :P

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Terrapod

My dad was helping me study for a Spanish exam (he's fluent) and I was saying that "My dad is sleeping because his elbow hurts." Well I screwed up saying elbow and ended up saying "My dad is sleeping because his ❤❤❤❤❤ hurts"

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mercutio

HAHAH I love random mistakes in language learning. I have had some really funny ones....here are a few.......

  1. a woman introduced her husband to me, said in spanish, this is my husband, he's from spain. I went to shake his hand and proudly said "lo siento" which means "I'm sorry" instead of "encantado" (pleased to meet you)

  2. saying really offensive slang someones taught me or I've heard and I haven't realised its really rude because the words don't have the same power in a foreign language to me because I am obviously as I'm not used to them, so I have quite a few times had some people burst out laughing about that.

3.telling a spanish speaker "i see my bed" instead of "i am going to bed"

4.when I meet spanish speakers they generally find me funny as I am english trying to speak spanish, but they all think I have a strange accent because I sound a little bit south american and a little bit english according to them as I find pronouncing the C and Z sound easier than the TH sound of spain.

5...not realising that "muchos besos" i.e many kisses, can be a friendly way to say bye bye and being quite shocked that a girl said it to me in a message even though we had only met once, and I wrote back in english saying "lots of kisses for you too" and then realising basically she was just saying "bye" in a friendly way.......that was quite embarrassing actually but it turned out ok in the end! she became my girlfriend!

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JackedTortoise

Instead of writing ''Are you making the food?'', I wrote ''Are you the food?'' :)

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robin_H

hahahah I like the way you write!!!

Yes! I have made a lot of mistakes but I can not think of one right now.... But most of them are spelling or stupid stuff that i do! and think to myself "Robin STOP being so Stuuupid!!! Please!!" haha seriously! I sometimes lose my whole hearts by being clumsy!!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ronanlyne

Una vez cuando estaba en las vacaciones en España, hubo una heladeria enfrente de la playa....la vi y tuve calor y hambre...le dije al chico: "un coño grande, por favor" (en vez de "un cono grande"). Después, cuando me di cuenta de lo que había dicho, estuve TAN avergonzado!

(One time I was on holiday in Spain, and there was an ice-cream shop by the beach I was on. Hungry and hot, I saw it and walked over. I said to the guy behind the counter "un coño grande, por favor" (one big ❤❤❤❤❤, please) instead of "a big cone". Afterwards, when I realised what I had said, I was SO embarrassed.)

May 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaxyLady

Sometime last year when I was really new to Italian I saw a facebook post about a book by Erri De Luca called "Il torto del soldato." I thought it meant "The Soldier's Cake." :O That would've been "la torta." XD

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

haha torto and torta are very different things

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anisamar

Just a moment ago, I had to listen and write down a random sentence in English. I misheard “I have not forced you to eat” as “I have nuts for you to eat”. Boy, was that awkward.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thepie28027

I have a done that a lot, but I can't remember any exact times. Though when I tried to say 'The house will need a new carpet.'(It was something like that). It changed carpet to a cuss word .-.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/psicote

and what about DL mistakes? like "el pato lee el diario" in the beginning skills! correct form but impossible situation!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/revdolphin

You've obviously never watched Saturday morning cartoons.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/revdolphin

El pato lee el diario

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CattleRustler

wait, there's way more than that, lol...

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mixiekins

I've been disabling the audio when practicing around my boyfriend's family here in Argentina. They really get a kick out of hearing gems like "el pato bebe la leche" and "el pato come huevos"

Of course, Darkwing Duck still is the exception. http://youtu.be/vMemdsPfI80?t=22s Can't forget the milk. Never forget the milk.

June 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jwal172

For some reason, 95% of my typos are in English and not German. For example, I meant to write "The public toilets are upstairs," but instead wrote "The PUBIC toilets are upstairs." You'd never believe I have a postgrad degree in English! Damn it Duolingo, you make me look like a fool :)

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annaannaannaan

I knew only a few words of Spanish, & no grammar, but was trying to speak it anyway. Many days I told a Spanish friend, "soy caliente". He used to smile. It was a long time before he told me that caliente means hot in the sense of sexy! (& even longer before i learned estar/ser)

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MiguelJorg1

I started learning some spanish years ago as a kid in San Diego. Now i am 40 and have had a few occasions to use the little bit of spanish I knew. When trying to tell someone I was hot, (as in sweaty, its a hot day, can I have some water), I said, "Yo Soy muy caliente", although the word for word translation was correct the meaning was not. I should have been saying "Yo soy calor". Now I know why so many giggled at me everytime I said it. When I found out and told my wife she laughed herself silly thinking of all the waitress I said that to at our resort in riviera maya. I learned my mistake by watching http://youtu.be/prFaX69m-wo imagine the look on my face when I got to 3:18 in the video. :-|

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/duolinguo

Yes, sometimes I do make silly mistaeks...

May 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hixonbraden1

I've done it a lot some times Spanish is hard.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arismartin

Spanish is always hard, even for Spanish speakers.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenga_Jane

I wonder - is there an equivalent to "I forgot how to English" in Spanish?

I say that all the time when I fumble over words or forget what I'm saying. "Sorry, I just can't english right now", etc. do native Spanish speakers have similar, experiences and/or expressions?

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arismartin

Well, when we make a mistake we say "he metido la pata" as if one will put his leg in a hole by accident (put one's foot in it)... Pata is equivalent to leg but for animals. Person has "piernas" animals have "patas". Pata is a colloquial way to say pierna as well.

If someone has lost the line of thought he says "se me ha ido el santo al cielo" more o less "the saint is gone to heaven" ... Ja... It's as if the idea might have flied far away ... Uf... It's very difficult to explain the meaning of idioms.

Really, we say a lot worse things... But they can not be written here.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robin_H

Spanish are not so hard :/ Of course I have a bad memory but they are not so difficult! My memory is the worst!! haha that's the difficulty that I face generally! On the other hand I believe the fact that my mother tongue is Greek is very helpful I guess.... What's your mother tongue? :)

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

I'm beginning to slowly learn Greek. The verbs, conveniently, are similar to English.

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robin_H

Oh really? I don't know... If you know English Spanish are somehow easy and If you know Greek it's becoming easier!! What do you thing about the Greek language?? How do you like it? Do you learn some for your vacations?? :)

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

Yea, and it's fun! Most Greek words are new to me, but the syntax of the verbs is like English, because the future is expressed with an extra word (θα), kinda like English "will".

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/InfinitiJAK16

i once put in el libros instead f los libros

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peremptor

In an English test I tried to remember the word "tired" but only came to the French one "fatigué". I don't know anymore if my teacher had any humor for this.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zaqsert

Actually, in English "fatigued" means the same thing as "tired".

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peremptor

Nice to know (only with a "d" at the end and without the accent) :)

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wonderboy6

there's a slippery cognate a spanish amigo told me where if you ever go to spain and are going clubbing,, i think it was 'club con/de ambiente' is actually a gay bar...

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mana2014

We need to be careful when we speak Spanish. Some words have can have a different meaning in different countries. "coger" means "to take" in Spain, but it means "to have sex" in Argentine.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/psicote

rigth, an aregntine friend of mine told me that, so funny!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hardingr

mana,not just in Spanish.The verb "to lay"has sexual connotations in the United States (probably why Duolingo insists on setting rather than laying the table) and the phrase "He was my fag at Eton" has raised many an American eyebrow.My latest Spanish slip-up involved getting my dondes mixed up with my cuandos and asking a pregnant lady where the baby was due.

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wynrich

Ha ha. I hadn't thought about it, but I think "laying the table" is the British way of saying it and "setting the table" is how we say it in America. If you said "laying the table" here people would think it was a little strange, but not because of the other meaning of "lay".

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeredithNa

I asked someone "quieres coger conmigo esta noche para una leccion?" They asked "a lesson in what...??"

May 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adina_atl

I wanted to tell someone I was a computer programmer, so I said "Soy computadora." Which means that I was calling myself a computer.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MystyrNile

Arguably, that's even more impressive

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gottesanbeterin

I'm a native English speaker and I had a mistake in English today! I was eating a cracker when I said "This tastes similar to me" I then realized my mistake, in my native language!

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bayann12

No, I don't think I've done that quite yet but that's really funny. XD

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hixonbraden1

Some times is easy love Spanish it's fun

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnesimusUnbound

I hate "yo". Reading "yo" makes me think that it's "you". Thankfully, pronouns in Spanish can be removed if they can be inferred by context.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/psicote

yeah man, it's the same in my case, i'm italian so i had to sign in with an english profile to study spanish here in DL; i use to translate from english costantly so i switch "you" with "yo" so often even when i do exactly know wthat to write and how to translate it!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CattleRustler

but change it in your mind to be JO, and the confusion of the english You will disappear

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IanCorey

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha yeah!

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Domo_boss

yes and then i died on the last question too

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Domo_boss

i felt so mad i was starting to rage quit

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NurseLisa53

My ex husband once asked someone for a "Llave para areglar mi chancleta". In the Dominican Republic that means "a wrench to fix my sandal". He meant "cadena", which is chain. La cadena del motó era flojo.

May 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/curlyeric

"I can not wait to go!" I miss spoke as «Je ne peux pas attendre d'y aller !» which actually means "I don't have the ability to wait". What I actually need to say is «Je hâte d'y aller à Paris !».

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/missa178

haha! that is so funny! since i just started i dont have any really funny moments yet.... :)

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davey477

lol

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smashingx

Don't worry because even people with the same language we make mistakes and sometimes we understand the meanings in a different way. My girlfriend is from El Salvador and I am from Mexico, she sometimes tells me things that make me put my "what?" face.

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobWE

Mi amigo estaba hablando sobre el tema "la pene de muerte" y el dijo que "tengo el pene de muerte" a la professora y ella rie .

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hixonbraden1

Hola

May 8, 2014
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