Mohnferkel

Thursday April 9th, 2015

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Hello redpoll!

Here is a set of projects that will come from time to time on the blog; the plays of language.

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Being in touch with people who didn’t perfectly master a foreign language yet or being required to speak a language that you yourself didn’t totally master yet, sometimes leads to embarrassing, funny, awkward, in any case, interesting situations I think.

Did this already happened to you? To me, a lot of times! During my first journey to Austria I didn’t speak German and I communicated in English. Although my level of English is good, I had difficulty understanding certain people. Therefore, I developed two tricks! My favourite one (and the one I still use sometimes!) consisted in agreeing even when I did not understand something… which could lead to strange situations! For example:

-Person: “…incomprehensible language…, isn’t it?”

-Me: “Yes!”

-Person: “What? Yes?”

-Me: “Hem not, no…”

My other option was asking them to repeat three, four times until I would understand, which did not always happen. In that case, I applied the first trick again!

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Not so long ago a funny situation happened to me (funnier for the others than for me…!). Let me tell you the story.

In the bakery, I sometimes ask for poppy seed bread. As I did not know the German word to name this type of bread, I pointed to it to indicate it to the salesgirl. And then one day I saw its name written in the showcase of a bakery. The next time I would know how to ask for it. So the day comes and I can finally ask proudly “Ein Mohnferkel, bitte” (“a poppy seed bread, please”). And then the next days I do the same. One day, at lunch my Austrian colleague, with whom I often exchange on linguistic peculiarities, wonder if I know what the name of this bread is. “Yes, ein Mohnferkel”. From the following laughter of my colleagues, I could tell that something was wrong. They told me that since a few days, I asked the salesgirl: “A small pig covered with poppy seeds, please”.

I confused Ferkel and Weckerl. Small pig and bread. Mohn = poppy. Mohnferkel ≠ Mohnweckerl

Since then, every time I ask the salesgirl for a Mohnweckerl it makes me smile!

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Did this kind of funny situations regarding a language already happen to you? Tell me!

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