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(Guardian)   Share your stories of trying to get by in the local language the last time you went somewhere English wasn't spoken. Glasgow, anyplace in the American South also counts   (theguardian.com ) divider line
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216 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 08 Aug 2014 at 1:36 PM (1 year ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-08 11:12:58 AM  
I was stationed in South Korea in the early '90's and the only Korea I spoke was hello, goodbye, one beer, and where are the nice girls.  My friends and I took a train from down south to our sister base at Osan.  Being young and dumb, we all got very drunk on the train.  Well after midnight wound up outside of Seoul at a station with no English signs, no English speakers and no clue where we were.  We wandered the station trying to decide what to do when lo and behold comes a tall, blonde man bobbing above the wave of dark hair.  Almost in tears, we all ran toward him thinking he might give us direction.  Waving him down, we babbled at him and he replied "Ich spreche kein Englisch"

I think the worst part is I took two years of German in high school and still couldn't make myself understood to him.

We finally found our way out the next morning when the station opened for the day.
 
2014-08-08 11:57:35 AM  
MARLBORO! MARLBORO! CIGARETTES! SMOKEY SMOKEY!11!
 
2014-08-08 01:47:39 PM  
Someone just showed this to me last week about my home town
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SUcvh2TF8A
 
2014-08-08 02:11:49 PM  
Working at our sister plant in Virginia last fall, helping out in the shipping dep't. I heard "We need some more SKEE-idz." I said "Huh?" "SKEE-idz. We're gettin' low on SKEE-idz."

She was talking about skids. Pallets. Fu*kin' crazy.
 
2014-08-08 02:13:43 PM  
Spanish, I can kinda sorta hold stilted conversations in, so Mexico wasn't too difficult.

Quebec, I tried to get by on smiling and nodding a lot, and learning a few key words to be aware of when I had to buy things. When a clerk said something like "Booja booja veeja veeja sac?" I knew they were asking if I wanted a bag and I could answer "ouais" or "non".
 
2014-08-08 02:37:35 PM  
Darkest Quebec, where the assholes live.  Montrealers are friendly, bilingual people.  Out in the sticks they'll pretend not to understand you if they don't like your accent.

My M.Sc. supervisor took his group to his chalet for a yearly weekend getaway in the Laurentides.  One day on the skihill, I decided that I would try to shake the ignorant Westernern stigma (I'm from BC) and try and speak French.  We came in for lunch, and as I was standing in line I rehearsed what I was going to say.  When my turn came, I said "Je vous un cheeseburger et des frites" (I want a cheeseburger and fries).  The French half of the menu said "le cheeseburger" rather than "le burger de fromage", so I wasn't introducing any franglais on my own initiative.

Dude behind the counter looked at me and said "Quois?" in that nasal accent that gets compared to a duck quacking.  I repeated myself, with the same results.  The person behind me, another member of the group who grew up in Ottawa and was basically bilingual from birth, stepped forward and said the exact same goddamn thing.  Suddenly he could understand.  He then asked me a question which I completely didn't catch because it was gargled in a backwoods dialect of Joual that I'd never encountered learning French in BC.

fark that guy.  Every francophone I've told this story to has told me I said it perfectly.

As I was coming off the hill at the end of the day, I passed a little booth selling tire (A Quebec delicacy,, maple syrup rolled on snow).  I started dropping skis and poles and unzipped things to get to my money, which was three layers down.  I told the guy I might take a little while, and he said "Quoi?"  I just rolled my eyes and said "You don't understand a word I'm saying, do you?"

"Two dollar."

/for the record, every other Francophone I've ever met has been a warm, friendly person
 
2014-08-08 02:58:02 PM  
A few years ago, driving through Alabama, stopped at a little diner and was asked "howbiggasweeteehunny?". (typing doesn't do justice to how it was pronounced, it was mushy and truncated).  Anyway, I was very tired after 12 hours of straight driving and it wasn't making sense to my ears.  It took a couple of repetitions, and I figured it out.

The waitress was kind, friendly, and attentive, the food was out-farking-standing and really cheap.  Just overly tired and really thick southern accents aren't always friends.
 
2014-08-08 03:30:17 PM  

Satan's Bunny Slippers: It took a couple of repetitions, and I figured it out.


...fill the rest of us in?
 
2014-08-08 03:35:24 PM  

Bondith: Satan's Bunny Slippers: It took a couple of repetitions, and I figured it out.

...fill the rest of us in?


"How big a sweet tea [do you want] honey?"
 
2014-08-08 03:35:42 PM  

Bondith: Satan's Bunny Slippers: It took a couple of repetitions, and I figured it out.

...fill the rest of us in?


"How big a sweet tea, honey?"
 
2014-08-08 03:45:03 PM  
I observed an interesting exchange in New Orleans. We were riding the street car toward the Museum at the end of Canal. The car stops, a college-age girl gets on, and asks the driver where the street car is going, in her thick Eastern European accent. The driver answers only "We goin to the end of the line, baby". A very New Orleans exchange--totally honest, completely useless.

/love that town
 
2014-08-08 04:11:04 PM  
I have a hard time talking to southerners that thing yams are sweet potatoes.
 
2014-08-08 06:07:03 PM  

beezeltown: I observed an interesting exchange in New Orleans. We were riding the street car toward the Museum at the end of Canal. The car stops, a college-age girl gets on, and asks the driver where the street car is going, in her thick Eastern European accent. The driver answers only "We goin to the end of the line, baby". A very New Orleans exchange--totally honest, completely useless.

/love that town


"Does this bus go to Duluth?"

"No, it just goes "honk honk" like all the other busses."
 
2014-08-08 09:14:32 PM  
I had a friend newly stationed in Germany, who didn't want to be 'that American' and purchased beginner German audio tapes to be able to get around, ask simple questions, etc.

His first night off base, his friends took him to a Bierhaus. He pulled out his cigarettes and when the buxom waitress came by, he proudly (in German) asked her if she had an ashtray... She looked at him oddly, backed up and avoided him the rest of the night; his 'friends' at the table all but peed themselves in laughter.

Apparently he said "Arschloch" (asshole) instead of "Aschenbecher" (ashtray).

/kind of dampened his enthusiasm for practicing his German for a while....
 
2014-08-08 10:01:58 PM  
I was getting off the plane, and thanking the steward for excellent service and a pleasant flight.

He just kept saying "buhbie" and waving.
 
2014-08-09 03:40:39 AM  
When I was 16 I climbed aboard a puddle jumper with a Scots-Canadian pilot my seat was next to his. The guy was incomprehensible and he did punctuate his sentences with "eh?".

Spain was fun, but I only understand California barrio and migrant worker Spanish, and even then not too well. I had to repeat what they said, answer in English then translate as best I could into Spanish. I did this out loud, I must have sounded loony.
 
2014-08-09 04:57:31 AM  
Co-worker with French accent: "I love the movie Leetle Vaypun"
Took me a second...
 
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