Embarrassing mistakes made when speaking German

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I know them, I just think they are not that offensive

That's normal for any non-native speaker. I knew a man from Australia who sweared a lot in Polish but if you say the word "fuck" in his presence his face immediately turned red. Because for him "kurwa" was not offensive, but "fuck" was very offensive. For a native speaker of Polish it's vice versa, so you can't be objective in judging which words are offensive and which aren't.

 

I would say that Polish and Russian have the most offensive words, but it's me.

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So I've just finished a month of only speaking German. And, despite being frustrating and rewarding, I also said a lot of stupid things. Here are my top six:

  • “Right now my dick is very sensible” – ‘Sensible’ in German means sensitive. And by using that fact to remember the right word, I accidentally translated the English sensible and not the German one to describe my genital health.
  • “Does anybody have a spare handbag I can use?” – I tried to ask a changing room full of players if they had a spare towel (Handtuch) and instead asked for a handbag (Handtache)
  • “There is a kiss in the window that I’d like to know the price of” – While trying to find the price of a pillow (Kissen) in a shop.
  • “My dad once asked me to kill him with a kiss if he got dementia” – Again, trying to say pillow and saying kiss instead.
  • Have you read the Migrant’s face in the newspaper today?” – by managing to transpose “Geschichte” (guh-shish-tuh) meaning story and “Gesicht” (guh-sish-t) meaning face.
  • “It wasn’t with the trash” – Trying to explain I didn’t so something on purpose as not with ‘Abfall‘ meaning trash and not ‘absicht‘ meaning intent.

I also wrote about the entire month here as well, if anyone is interested :)

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22 minutes ago, Deutschified said:

‘Sensible’ in German means sensitive.

Uhm, not exactly. Actually it means "reasonable".

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When a stranger pulled me aside and quietly informed me that the plural for bird (vogel) is said WITHOUT the N in the ending. Oops.

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39 minutes ago, jeba said:

Uhm, not exactly. Actually it means "reasonable".

Deutschified wanted to convey that the German adjective "sensibel" translates to the English "sensitive". Affirmative, sir.

 

The English adjective "reasonable" (as in reasonable timeframe, reasonable price) is quite hard to translate, depends on the context, a good "Schuss in die Mitte" would be "vernünftig" (as in "vernünftiger Zeitrahmen", "vernünftiger Preis"). 

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Just after moving here I went to the Butchers and asked for 4 slices of ham only I said" Ich möchte bitte vier scheiden Schinken". Got home and told my wife who  said "well done you've asked for 4 Vaginas."

 

Now I make sure I say scheiben not Scheiden.

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22 minutes ago, French bean said:

Just after moving here I went to the Butchers and asked for 4 slices of ham only I said" Ich möchte bitte vier scheiden Schinken". Got home and told my wife who  said "well done you've asked for 4 Vaginas."

To be fair, they do call it the "ham wallet".

 

For me personally, I've noticed a pattern when I'm making small talk with someone at the bakery or newsstand and I'm all ready to say "Tschüß" on my way out - if they preempt me by saying "ciao", my brain short-circuits and I end up mumbling something like "Tschauß".

 

I really have to work on that one.

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1 hour ago, franklan said:

Deutschified wanted to convey that the German adjective "sensibel" translates to the English "sensitive". Affirmative, sir.

 

The English adjective "reasonable" (as in reasonable timeframe, reasonable price) is quite hard to translate, depends on the context, a good "Schuss in die Mitte" would be "vernünftig" (as in "vernünftiger Zeitrahmen", "vernünftiger Preis"). 

 

Yep, that's exactly it, Franklan! :) 

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1 hour ago, French bean said:

Just after moving here I went to the Butchers and asked for 4 slices of ham only I said" Ich möchte bitte vier scheiden Schinken". Got home and told my wife who  said "well done you've asked for 4 Vaginas."

 

Now I make sure I say scheiben not Scheiden.

That is hands down the best mistake I have ever heard.

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