Times you've made a complete berk of yourself because your foreign language skills are shite

Clunky thread title granted but hope my explanation clarifies things. Went to Malaga for a wedding a couple of years ago and when the Spanish lady at customs handed me back my passport I completely forgot what the Spanish word for thank you was so just inhaled deeply, my mouth slightly open as if the words would come and then nodded slowly before slinking through the gate.

What about you? Ever told a waiter he had a face like a donkey because you pronounced a couple of words wrong?



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When I went on holiday to Italy, and me and my dad thought we could get away with speaking in Spanish, but with added “flair”.

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Should’ve just said ‘thank you’ in English ffs.

Did you just add ‘a’ to the ends of words?

yeah, pretty much. I mean, we’re both massive Godfather fans, so we’d picked up a little from that.

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I phoned my French hotel last week and, even though I know what ‘do you speak English’ is in French, when the dude answered the phone I drew a blank. So it went

“Bonjour j’hôtel Premier France Cognac?”

  • a good 6-7 seconds of silence -
    “Bonjour. Parlez-vous Anglais?”
    “Haha, yes”



there’s no way that’s a real hotel in France.

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Yeah, just looked and it was the Hotel Francois Premier Cognac.


edit: link

Told my landlady in a guesthouse in rural Austria that I’d nearly fallen into some open graves on the mountain rather than ditches and she was initially horrified like “what open graves? oh god are you ok” until she realised I meant ditch. Das Grab- Die Gräber. Der Graben- Die Gräben . So similar.


I’ve told this story before, but I informed my bereaved cousin that I’d already forgotten about his dad who’d recently died, rather than ‘i’m sorry for your loss’.



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French O-Level oral exam.
I was really shite.
Got a C
C’est la vie

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I used to go over to Paraguay a fair bit when I was a kid but I didn’t speak Spanish. The Spanish word for dog (“perro”) is difficult to pronounce if you can’t roll your "r"s, and the Spanish word for fart is “pedo”. My aunts thought it was hilarious to get my to use my very limited Spanish to talk about dogs.


They were right, tbhtbf.

my aunt is called ‘Paca’ and I used to misprounce as ‘vaca’ as a kid.


Started a bit of Spanish chit-chat with a waiter in Mexico. Went well for a whole 10 seconds or so until I drew a complete blank on something basic “… er… yeah”. Wife just turned to me and called me an idiot, much to the waiters entertainment.


This probably doesn’t count because it’s accent rather than language, but I was once stopped near London Bridge station by a Japanese tourist who wanted directions to Todmorden. I was a bit taken aback, but managed to outline the necessary route (take the Northern line from London Bridge up to Euston, then a train to Manchester, then some sort of cross-Pennine service that must stop at Todmorden, though that last bit was a best guess), before it occurred to me that they were actually trying to find the Tate Modern.


My mum does this deliberately, she calls my grandma (her mum) “bella” as a nickname but pronounces it like “velha” in Portuguese, which means “old woman”

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bold move, that.