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a really embarrassing french mistake...

my grandma and grandpa own a bed and breakfast so i meet people from all around the world. this time in particular i met a french lady. now this wasn't anything new since i have met many french people before but now that i am learning the language i wanted to test out my skills. she greeted me by saying hello and telling me she was french. i started off by saying in french "i am new to french so please bare with me" the lady just looked at me in confusion then started laughing. i was confused as well and my cheeks rather pink. apparently i said "i am new to french so please get naked with me" in french. i was so embarrassed i am just glad she was super sweet about it and plus i made her smile.

kind of a random story i just thought it was super funny :)

August 4, 2019



That is funny! I'm glad you could both laugh about it :D

In English, bare is to get naked; the word you are looking for is "please BEAR with me". If you look that up in WordReference or Google Translate you'll have better luck the next time you see your French speaking guest.

Kudos for trying out your new skills! The more we stumble the more we learn.


Yep, numerous English jokes revolve around this common spelling mistake.
Homophones¹ are a common source of puns and funny misunderstandings.

¹ Homophones - One of two or more words, such as night and knight, that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, origin, and spelling.


I hope you won't let this discourage you from continuing to try your French.
We've all been there with more or less similar mistakes.
I've found that the more embarrassing the mistake, the more I learn from it and the less likely I am to forget how to say what I wanted.

Thanks for sharing your lovely story! :)


That's what I remembered,
but I felt I should give a dictionary definition
and did not feel comfortable to disagree with
The American Heritage Dictionary/homophones.
+ For the exact distinction.


Really nice pictures to remember the difference between these homophones ;)


how to share photos??


well it is true that it's 'bear' in english, but that's not the problem here....the problem is that you can't translate that english expression into french. like most expressions, it can't be translated into another language.


do you know how that expression is translate?


:Sois patient"/"Soyez patients" gets the meaning across, though it is perhaps not as idiomatic.


correct, hence the French translation would have been more useful in this case.


I think it is still 'bare' though...in the uk anyway )) Lovely funny story ))

Edit....sorry....checked and i'm wrong... bear with me ))

  • 133

I thought that was on purpose, to get across the mistake in French. Very impressive to make the same pun work in two languages!


I suspect what might have happened here is that she typed the sentence (with spelling mistake) into Google Translate (or similar), and learned the translation. Unfortunately, the translation of "bare" in French (nue) very unambiguously means "naked", and nothing else :p


That's right, she didn't even know she was making a pun in English... and it's not a pun in French, it's just the translation of what she wrote. Funny story!


First, a lingot.

Second, brava. You are reaching out!

I walked into the canteen of the theater I was working at in Berlin (on a temperate day) and confidently announced, "Ich bin sehr warm!!!" The entire population burst out laughing. Depending on who I asked, I either said, "I'm really horny" or "I'm very gay".

No trying, no speak-y. I would laugh more, were it not for all my personal stumbles. Know that we are laughing WITH you, not AT you.


I was an exchange student in Germany for a year and I didn't speak German when I got there. I made that mistake (in varying temperatures) many times over the first couple of months.

  • 133

It's the same in Hebrew. You don't say, "אני חמה/חם" - ani ham/a, literally I'm hot, as it has similar connotations, you say "חם לי" - ham li, literally heat is to me. Cold also. "קר לי" - kar li rather than "אני קר/ה".


You can easily make the same mistake in Polish too by saying "Jestem ciepły" instead of "Jest mi ciepło", although that would basically mean you are stating that you're gay in a slightly awkward manner.


The same situation in French - "J'ai chaud" is less likely to cause a reaction than "Je suis chaud" :-p


even better maybe:il fait froid, il fait chaud

  • 133

But that doesn't mean the same thing.


I thought warm meant warm?


It does, but if you want to say "I am warm" in German, it is better to say "Mir ist warm".


thanks for sharing, saves me from making the same mistake :-)


The first time I met my girlfriend, she mentioned that she was from Brazil, so I tried to show off for her and her friends by saying the (very few) things I could remember from the few Portuguese lessons I'd done on Duolingo. I tried to say "Eu como pão" ("I eat bread"), and instantly they all lost their minds laughing. Apparently I hadn't leaned hard enough on that nasal sound in "pão," so what I'd actually proudly announced was "Eu como pau," which is "I eat d*ck."


it's brilliant :'D


Many years ago, when I was 15, I stayed with a French family for a month as part of an exchange program. The meals they served were delicious and very big. One time the mom asked me if I wanted more, but I had had enough, so I tried to say, "No thank you, I am full" in French. Unfortunately, I said, "Non merci, je suis pleine," which resulted in uproarious laughter. They informed me that I had announced I was pregnant!! Oops!!


Well, that's another kind of a full stomach I guess...


That's odd, in Quebec that's exactly what we say. Must be some type of slang in France :P


Oh drat!!!! I'm trying so hard not to laugh i think my inie will turn into an outie. (my belly button will pop out) I think I may have once said my table was on my book instead of the other way around. Luckily I was talking to myself.(in spanish) ;D


Oh haha!! I had a similar(ish) thing happen to me.

So I was at Whole Foods and I was looking for rose water, and I was struggling to find it when a Hispanic employee walked up to me and said in broken English, "Can I help you find something" and I said yes, and then I wanted to try my skills at Spanish but then I decided against it because I thought I would mess up so I said, "Rose water" and he didn't seem to understand so I said in Spanish, what I thought was, "Can you help me find the rose water?" but actually meant, "Can you find how water my roses for you?" And the guy made this weird expression and then burst out laughing, and pointed to aisle 3. So yeah, ^-^

pretty funny! I'd better do my homework tho


Here is another language-related embarrassing situation. I’m an American and was on a business trip in Mexico. One of my hosts was a woman named Esperanza, but she told me that I could call her by her nickname, “Pera”. Whenever I said her name, I noticed that others were making funny faces. At the end of the day, I asked Pera if I had been mispronouncing her name. She told me that I shouldn’t roll the “r” in Pera. By rolling the “r” I had been calling this woman a female dog all day (the English equivalent is “b*tch”)! I was so embarrassed!!


Oh my ......... that really brightened up my day. I'm just glad she saw the funny side of your obvious mistake ..... rather than clobbering you around your head with her handbag!!!!


Same here! Although duo might be clobbering Ashlyn-Riley over the head for not paying attention to the French lessons! :0


thank heavens she didn't do that!


I love it! A few times in my native language, I have said things innocently that later I found out was pretty naughty sounding and at the time had no idea why the insulted look I got, then the bursts of laughter when all knew I meant something else entirely that WAS legit but because of so many euphemisms, I was clueless. I really livened the funeral up.


Funny story. A similar thing happened to me in Chinese. I was talking to my Chinese friend about what I do when I'm hungry, and I said “我吃哈密瓜得很快” (I eat a fast cantaloupe) instead of "我哈密瓜吃得很快“ (I eat cantaloupe quickly).


This is the best thing I've heard all day! This cracked me up!


aw that means a lot! thanks love!


That's funny. Mistakes like this, are laughable, (a little embarrassing,) and more importantly learnable. I'm glad you decided to try it out!


Google translate or pre-prepared from a dictionary? I'm struggling to see how such a phrase would be accidentally constructed in French otherwise...


Yeah, you would have to both get the English phrase "bear with me" incorrect by thinking it's "bare", and then for some reason try to translate it literally into French.


Omg! This made me smile! :) Thanks for sharing it!


The closest I have to this is when I said someone "was playing hard to get" because he was being too adamant in an argument in some relatively serious forum. I didn't know this expression in English only works when you are resisting flirting, in Brazilian Portuguese "se fazer de difícil" could be going out of your way to make things more difficult for another person regardless of context (we also have "fazer doce" or "fazer ♂♏ doce" which is "to be candy-♀♎", but I judged that as inappropriate for the situation).

[deactivated user]

    i wanted to speak Spanish to my classmate and instead of saying i couldn't sleep for the whole night i said i want to sleep with you and then we will get a baby.


    I had an embarrassing moment too. I met a French female language exchange partner for the first time at a Starbucks (I am a male) and we sat outside. As soon as we started talking, I wanted to tell her I was hot, but I accidentally said "I am horny". She was a little freaked out haha.

    So as a lesson, do not say "Je suis chaud" The proper way to say you are hot is "J'ai chaud" lol.


    oh my that is so funny!


    That is hilarious!


    How did you say it exactly in french?

    Maybe someday i can say it by "mistake" ;)


    i cant remember exactly cause it was a couple weeks ago but this is what i think i said: je suis nouveau en francais si nue avec moi


    Honest mistake. The saying is "bear with me" not "bare with me" so translating it into french would naturally come out wrong. Plus, "bear with me" is an idiom, a figure of speech, so even that won't make sense once translated. "Be patient with me" or just "please forgive my mistakes" would have been more accurately what you were trying to convey.


    I'll add a funny story, too, if I may... I make jewellery and was in the process of helping a French customer choose a necklace to buy, She wasn't sure what style she wanted so I asked whether she wanted a 'collier' (necklace) or whether she preferred a 'ras de cou' (choker). The trouble is that I didn't pronounce the latter very well and she understood 'ras de cul' - a low ass/butt. She wasn't amused!!


    Your story gives us an excuse to take a look at a French term
    that entered English use:

    Cul de sac = Dead-end street.
    But literally it means:
    "bottom of bag" \ "arse of bag".
    (I opted for the British spelling of ass\butt for the sake of clarity.)

    Another fun fact about Cul de sac is that Tolkien used a sort of translation of it
    for the home of Bilbo Baggins, "Bag end" (that was located at a dead-end),
    to poke fun at the British use of French terms.

    I find that the more connotations I have for a word,
    the more likely I am to remember it.


    VERY, VERY funny - made me laugh out loud! Here's a lingot!


    that made my day! :)


    Thank you for the laugh! But good on you for taking the plunge and using your new skills with strangers!


    This is hilarious! I'm glad it turned out okay and nobody was offended! :D


    This is so hilarious I'm giving you a lingot. When I was 18 and living in Paris for a year, I was trying to explain to my host mother that Americans try to avoid preservatives. You might have already guessed it... I used the false cognate "préservatif," which she explained (after rolling with laughter) that a préservatif is a condom.


    Hmm this is a mistake I may want to copy...


    Haha... that was a BEARY funny story. Reading this and all the other comments makes me know that I will probably have a situation like this one, and I look forward to it, because I would very much like to be a good Spanish speaker! Thanks for sharing!!

    [deactivated user]

      Lol. Just mbye work on your French just a little bit more:)


      I've had some wonderfully embarrassing times too, and this made me laugh (in public for no obvious reason!) Mistakes are a fun way to learn, plus now you have a great story.


      thats so funny omg, your grandparents business sounds like an awesome opportunity to practice new languages!


      I've made a few mistakes similar to this one @ashtyn-riley, it is embarrassing in the moment but helps you grow over time!


      yes i agree, and you get a great story to tell as well:)


      Yeah, you're making the classic mistake of translating mot par mot. You need to eventually translate phrases that mean the same thing. I'm guessing you said something along the lines of "je suis nouveau en français" for example, and while it isn't incorrect, it's not the way I'd expect actual French speakers to say it. I'd have probably said "je vien de commencer à apprendre le français, alors soyez patient s'il vous plait." As Archer taught me "Idioms don't translate!"


      This made my day: have a lingot! I have a terrible fear of speaking, so stories like this are not only comforting, but also proof that there really is nothing to be afraid of.

      Have a great day :)


      thank you! i hope you have a great day as well :)


      Lmao, that's super embarrassing. At least you tried though ¯_(ツ)_/¯


      in order to avoid any misunderstanding I would suggest: "please be patient with me" : merci de votre patience or "s'il vous plait soyez patient"


      Here is an example of a French Mistake, for those who know that Misha is a terrible hunter, and also wears horrible cardigans XD https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1627712/


      I think the French word "patience" is a good equivalent for the English phrase "bear with me".


      Hahaah oh no! But glad you both just had a laugh about it, learning new languages can be hard!


      lol pretty funny


      Omg :)) that was fun. Happy for happy ending


      Omg that is amazing


      also very embarrassing! :)


      hahaha. Those "mistakes" can be a good start. If you know what I mean... (winking eye emoticon)


      so funny! this totally made my day, but don't worry-- i've made tons of errors in my Spanish speaking skills :) :)


      I would have been sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo embarrassed


      that's really funny


      I don't have anyone to talk to in Spanish but I do mix things up sometimes. Like I just said i holia ! I meant i hola ! but I've been trying so hard to get the right accent on Australia in Spanish that I got them mixed up. What will i say next, hali instead of hi? ,'D


      No shame in that. I was lost in Salamanca, Castilla y Leon, Spain when I was trying to go to class. I have spent five minutes asking them if they knew where my school is. However, instead of saying Donde esta, I said Que es.


      Difficult to assess properly. What was the French phrase used by Ashlyn? That would be more helpful. I also studied French and English. Wait for reply. There is a phrase in English: please bare with me = you have to be patient with me.


      Correction: bear with me is correct (not bare with me). be patient with me, endure with me etc.


      thanks for sharing. keep up the good work.


      This is absolutely hillarious :p glad nothing bad happened though!


      yeah shut up you're a really embarrasing french mistake


      i'm still learning though :)

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