Embarrassing mistakes made when speaking German

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I first arrived in July in Munich and it was bloody hot in the office.

 

So, i get introduced to the guys in the office and my first thought , being English, was that an icebreaker opening line should be about the weather.

 

" Ich bin warm " says i, not realising i had just declared myself to be gay. :o

 

Much shuffling around and staring at feet by my new co-workers until one of them realised i just wanted to say i was feeling hot due to the weather. :lol:

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In a restaurant I wanted hot chocolate and, you guessed it, asked for heiße kaka.

Well at least you didn't say "Kacke". Or did you? :lol:

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I know I said it before..

 

But I was once asked by a nice Girl in Baywa or OBI (I cant remember which) If she could help me...

 

I just looked at her and said" Du sclampe??..." ( I was actually looking for a light for my shower room)

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I first arrived in July in Munich and it was bloody hot in the office.

 

So, i get introduced to the guys in the office and my first thought , being English, was that an icebreaker opening line should be about the weather.

 

" Ich bin warm " says i, not realising i had just declared myself to be gay.

 

Much shuffling around and staring at feet by my new co-workers until one of them realised i just wanted to say i was feeling hot due to the weather.

And there is the story of the American Diplomat's wife who wanted to impress all the Germans at the party with her knowledge of the language by trying to tell them it was cold in the banquet room by saying "Ich bin kalt." Meaning she was frigid. :lol:

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My Ma went to the bank last week to cash her traveler checks. Her German is decent but sometimes a little off key, and true to form she said, "Ich möchte travelers checks erlösen" (instead of einlösen). Meaning "I want to bring salvation to travelers checks". The clerk tried to keep a straight face but Ma realized what she had said and smiled, then we all burst out laughing.

Bastards still charged 5%.

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I asked for "Leichewasser" instead of "Leitungswasser" the funny thing is i didn't know the word for corsp at the time so have no idea how i came out with that one, but the bartender stared at me with a look of horror on his face for ages until my friend next to me realised cracked up laughing and said you just asked for corsp water. woops :lol: . For a moment there I think he thought I was serious?

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I always thought "ich bin kalt" meant "I am dead". Which reminds me I once told my doctor "ich bin nicht kalt" and of course she laughed hysterically for ages which I always thought was because I told her "i am not dead" which is probably a good thing for a doctor to hear. but after reading the post above maybe i told her "i am not fridig" in which case i don't know i guess she would be equally happy for me too?

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Tried to explain to the coach and team what the outcome of a visit to the doctor was. Tried to tell them it was a female doctor but ended up telling them I had visited a 'Frauenartzt' After 10 minutes of laughing one of them explained to me the difference.

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I always thought "ich bin kalt" meant "I am dead". Which reminds me I once told my doctor "ich bin nicht kalt" and of course she laughed hysterically for ages which I always thought was because I told her "i am not dead" which is probably a good thing for a doctor to hear. but after reading the post above maybe i told her "i am not fridig" in which case i don't know i guess she would be equally happy for me too?

You probably know now that the correct way to say that is "Es ist mir kalt", or "Es ist mir warm", but I can see where that might have made for some comical times! :lol:

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We were having a discussion on clothes in our German class when one of the guys mentioned that he was wearing an Aufzug (lift/elevator). What he really meant was Anzug (suit).

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Not sure if it's true, but my Dad has a story about a colleague who arrived late to a meeting one day stating "geschlechtes Verkehr" as his excuse.

There were a few sniggers around the room as they tried to decide whether he meant bad traffic or sexual intercourse...

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We were having a discussion on clothes in our German class when one of the guys mentioned that he was wearing an Aufzug (lift/elevator). What he really meant was Anzug (suit).

Oh on the subject of lift I used to get Rollstuhl and Fahrstuhl mixed up :(

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Introducing the soup of the day to customers, I accidentily said Gestapo instead of Gazpacho. (Don't mention the war...)

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At a job interview, I was asked what I thought of the Germans and as I wasn't quite sure how to say "slightly reserved" or something along those lines, I improvised, applied that Lego-Logik, and replied with "ich finde dass die Deutschen etwas zurückgeblieben sind". Or words to that effect. It made sense at the time, but in retrospect, "zurückhaltend" would probably have gotten me the job. Oddly enough, my opinion on Germans has changed over the years.

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My problem at the beginning was with German words that sound exactly the same as an English word but have a totally different meaning. Giving my future Mother-in-law a "gift" proved to be highly amusing to everyone! :P

 

(She's a dear, sweet lady and we get along great!)

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I worked as a volunteer on ambulances in italy and I wanted to do the same here. I followed a course and then I spent some weekends at a first aid.

One sunday I had to give assistance to an old lady who needed to "wasser lassen" (go to the toilet). I didn't know the expression and I just gave her a glass of fresh water. She looked at me like I was braindead and went in real bavarian: "jung boy, i need to let wasser out, not in". The krankenpfleger there stopped laughing three days later and I quit.

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This side is great.. :) I really had a 'shit day' ,now I am feeling better with all the jokes here.. :) Thank you!

 

Jil

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I'm reminded of probably my most embarrassing moment when I had just first arrived and hadn't any German except for a few basic words. I was asked to spell my name, and couldn't understand why people kept thinking it was so unique and original. Then a few weeks later I learned the alphabet. I realized that I had been spelling it with English pronounciation: "vee ee ahr eh" which ends up being "Wire" in German. :blink:

 

You feel really stupid when you can't even spell your own name!

 

Cheers

Vera

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