We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?


  The Chatter Box : Travel
Messages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 

Language Barriers by kazzzz on 26 January 2006 4:51pm
Anyone got any funny stories regarding language barriers causing confusion?

I was in a supermarket in Tasmania (actually IN my home country and not even abroad!) and I asked for "batteries". I was taken directly to the dairy department and shown "blue cheese"!

In Germany I was looking for breakfast cereal..I tried every action and gesture I could think of to indicate breakfast and was met with blank looks. I eventually muttered the word CornFlakes and was suddenly there was much nodding..ahhh the international language of Kellogs :)

Oh and never ask for "panty hose" in the UK..they definately don't direct you to the tights and stocking section!
Re: Language Barriers by suzulu on 26 January 2006 4:57pm
I was in the hotel bar at a French ski resort some years ago. I went up to the bar and asked for a "vin blanc" and the barman came back with a packet of Gauloise cigarettes. Although my French accent is not that great, I didn't think it was as bad as that!!
Re: Language Barriers by Spursfan on 26 January 2006 5:06pm
Kazzzz I am in UK and as far as I am aware, pantyhose is just another name for tights??? Am I missing something here?
Re: Language Barriers by kazzzz on 26 January 2006 5:47pm
OK well in the past noone in the UK ever knew what panty hose were!!
Re: Language Barriers by peripatetically on 26 January 2006 7:38pm
Pantyhose and tights are slightly different in the USA.
1. Tights are more opaque and heavier.
2.Pantyhose are tinted skin-tones or colors but much lighter in weight and more sheer.
3.Then you have leggings which are very heavy in weight and are not sheer at all.

My experience in Scotland found every salesperson looking at me like I was from outer space!!!!! When I asked to see vests they all had looks of total confusion. I wanted something very Scottish, something with perhaps a well-made (embroidered or brocade type) pheasant or thistle on the pocket. SOmething very tradtional and rich looking. Something really good looking and rather expensive to wear as a dressy piece of attire. Sporty but real nice. Perhpas a loden green or gray. Well, nobody had any idea of what I was talking about . I had seen one I liked in Glasgow but not the right size. I decided to continue looking throughout my trip (another 2 weeks) and I figured surely Edinburgh, where all the traditional things one could think of would be found!!!!!!!
Later, I discover, the last day I was in Scotland, that a vest is an undergarment. HAHAHAHHAHAHHA Imagine the look on those women's faces when I was saying a nice pheasant or thistle on a pocket. HAHHAHAHAHA Something I can wear with a nice pair of slacks! HAHAHAHAHA Oh Lord, I roared with laughter when Phyll told me.

Also, a sweater in the USA is a jumper in Scotland!!!!!!!!!
In the USA, a jumper is a woman's dress, more or less, without sleeves and often has a lower neckline with a blouse or sweater underneath!
A sweater here is a sweater (knitted of wool ,synthetic or cotton yarn) and is a slipover or cardigan style. Not sure what they are called in Scotland. (Phyll, want to help here, my dearest one? or anybody else?)
Re: Language Barriers by JF on 26 January 2006 7:38pm
They don't know what deodorant is in Shanghai.

In one of the huge super-duper-markets in Shanghai's financial district one of the girls I travelled with decided that she didn't want to smear one of those car deodorisers that hang from the rear-view mirror under her arms.

And we'll gloss over the time when I was young, stupid and smoked and asked for a fag in the US.
Re: Language Barriers by peripatetically on 26 January 2006 7:41pm
A plaster in Yugoslavia is a bandaid. A bandaid to the USA is a small strip of adhesive to cover a cut or sore. SOmething for blisters or a wound.

Bandaids are actually a brand name but used universally in the States to cover all brands.
Re: Language Barriers by Spursfan on 26 January 2006 8:56pm
I think 'pantyhose' was the name when they first became popular in the '60s. People tend to call them tights now.

In the UK we call'sweaters' jumpers or sweaters.

We usually say 'plaster' but like you say Bandaid is a brand name. We actually correctly asked for bandaids in the US!!!

In Turkey if you say 'peach' in English, you are saying that the person 'has no father', shall we say. Also the Turkish for fish is pronounced 'b-ll--k' (I'll leave it up to your imagination - and it is not a young bull!!).

My name (Anne but pronounced an-ay) means Mother. Very nice but before I learnt all this I wore a sunhat in Turkey with my name on. Of course, I realise now that I was going round with a hat on saying 'Mother'. Even though I was, it was still a bit pathetic!!

Re: Language Barriers by perfectbitch on 26 January 2006 9:15pm
I had a young Anglo/Spanish friend staying with me while she looked for a job. She went through the evening paper, circling the jobs she was interested in and was asking me where some of these places were.
"Where is Upper Islington?"
I told her.
"Where is Lower Edmonton?"
I tlod her.
"And do you know the way to Higher Earnings?"
I collapsed in hysterics.

Also, a friend was doing a translation course (Spanish-English) and was stuck on a cliche. She said, "I know that 'Life is not a bowl of cherries' is the same in Spanish as "Not all the mountains are covered in oregano."

Re: Language Barriers by peripatetically on 27 January 2006 12:02am
Actually, 'pantyhose' is still printed on the packages here in the USA.
Messages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 

  Reply to this post:
  Register here


Select a discussion theme.
Register (or log in if you have not yet done so).

To start a new discussion topic:

Write the name of the topic in the 'Subject' box.
Type your message in the larger box to contribute.
Click 'Submit'.

To join a discussion topic:

Click on the discussion topic of your choice.
Type your message in the larger box to contribute.
Click 'Submit'.

To edit your message:

You can edit a message at any time after posting it as long as you're signed in.
Click on the 'Edit your message' link above the message.
Make your desired changes.
Click 'Submit'.

If you find you don't want to change the message after all, click on 'Return without changes'.

To set a chatmark:

Register (or log in if you have not yet done so).
Click on the "Set chatmark" link on the Chatter Box pages. This will set the time at which you have logged in.
Click on the "Go to chatmark" link to see all messages posted since you set your chatmark.

You can set your chatmark at any time and as often as you like.