You can’t say that!

Posted: 7th January 2010 by admin in Uncategorized

Being a TCK can have it’s moments. Probably one of the more difficult areas to deal with are the taboo words and gestures used in various countries. The word thongs can mean flip flops, or ladies underwear depending where you are from. Pointing an outstretched hand at someone can be a curse, shaking a fist can say that someone is strong or that you are angry with them. You may even know what would be considered to be rude or swearwords in a number of languages… I know I do. Case in point is the youtube clip of 12 months being spoken in Ukranian. Just saying something in one language can sound like something else in another. I remember a French girl laughing constantly at the thought that the french word “pain” did not mean bread in English.

Just speaking with a foreign accent can get you into trouble. I have been laughed at so many times over the years either for asking what something meant or not knowing what people are talking about.
If you are going to reply to this post. Please be consider others in what you put down. If you relate, keep it clean.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m american, having grown up predominately around the British as an MK in Nepal.
    I have to make a conscious effort to say vacation instead of holiday, if I’m taking a holiday off school, and to keep in mind that holidays in the US refer to such things as national holidays like Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, etc.
    I also say motorbike instead of motorcyle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is one of those things that create awkward moments, but in the end you have to just laugh at yourself. I can’t tell you how many moments I’ve had like that as a freshman in an American highschool having spent my childhood in Africa and an English mom!

    One funny experience my poor dad had was when we were living in Portugal for 10 months while he and my mom were in language school. We hadn’t been there long when one day he ran round to the butcher shop to pick up some hamburger meat. He asked for ‘carne pecado’ and had a funny reaction from the people working there. He didn’t think too much of it, obviously they knew he was a foreigner. Well, after a couple weeks of this, he finally decided something strange was up and asked his language teacher. He explained what happened and she just laughed and laughed. Turns out he should have been saying ‘carne picada’ for hamburger. ‘Carne pecado’ is ‘sinful flesh’!! Oops!! ;o)