Tuesday, 27 August 2013

That Darned Language Barrier...

So, it turns out I still have many things to learn when it comes to the foreign languages. This week's lessons:

No. 1 - Speaking English sometimes doesn't help. In French, 'footing'  = jogging. Yes, the quite standard English concept of jogging has been dragged through the language barrier and somehow came out as the French noun 'footing'. This is almost up to the standard of the Germans and their 'Wellness Weekend' (Spa Trip), or 'Talkmaster' (TV show host). The creativity of non-native English speakers never ceases to amaze.

Cocktails in Chaponnay - without onions, this time (see 5).
No. 2 - Sounding like a native is difficult. I still can't get my mouth round the difference in pronunciation between 'rue' (road), and 'roue' (wheel). There's not much in it. You give it a try!

No. 3 - Even if you completely understand the words someone is using, it's still entirely possible not to comprehend what they are trying to say. When someone started talking to me about moving the 'poubelle', I (naturally) assumed they were talking about what the word normally equates to, which is the English word 'bin'. But alas, to no success. In fact, the item they were referring to was the knackered family car parked in the driveway. Who was to know?

No. 4 - Colours are not the same in France! I have discovered that a goldfish is actually red (un poisson rouge), and a bluebottle is, in truth, green (une mouche verte). Interesting...

No. 5 - OK, so not technically from this week but I forgot to mention this one in my InterRail report. You know when you order drinks, it's best to know what's in them? Well, I decided to ignore this advice and order a drink in Florence, where I wasn't entirely sure what the last ingredient was. It was a cocktail, name of Gibson, and comprised of gin and vermouth plus said mystery ingredient, so I thought it probably quite safe in betting it would be a mixer of some description, albeit unknown. I also quite liked the idea of a bit of risk-taking when ordering drinks. It's good to try new things, right? Well, this time, no! It transpires that the unknown quantity was, in fact, a baby onion on a cocktail stick!!! I should have recognised the 'cipollina' on the menu due to it's similarity to the Spanish 'cebolla', but unfortunately the resemblance wasn't quite clear enough, and I ended up nursing this super-strong onion drink for pretty much the entire night. Even the Italians didn't like it! A fail of epic proportions.

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