While on an expat assignment in Brazil, I asked all my staff to speak with me in Portuguese so I could learn the language. I was making steady progress toward fluency and in preparation for my first public presentation amongst all my employees, I asked my parents who were coming to visit me to bring a bag of 100 Grand chocolates. I was going to give them out at the end of my presentation with a challenge to all employees to bring in an additional $100K in new business.
Well, my dad couldn't find 100 Grand bars so he brought me PayDays. I was annoyed but tried to work them into my speech in Portuguese. I gave my presentation and at the end, started passing out the candy by telling the employees how valued they were and for their value, they received a PayDay or a paycheck. I then went on to say that every Friday, their American counterparts got their PayDay and that everyone just loves payday. In fact, I love payday too!
The crowd roared with delight and I thought, “I'm killing it! I'm really getting my message across.” Yet, at the end of my presentation, one of my managers came running up to me and said, “Suz, I have to tell you that in Portuguese, “payday” (spelled correctly as 'pedei' but pronounced as 'payday') means “I farted.” You just told everyone you love to fart!”
I may not have gotten my message across but I can guarantee you that no one forgot that presentation. And, needless to say, I added a new word to my vocabulary that day!
I was at an Indian-Japanese wedding where the Japanese wife tried to give a speech in Hindi. She promised to be a garam (hot) patni (wife) instead of a dharam (dutiful) one! Needless to say, neither the husband nor the audience minded.
Me llamo Cat Gaa, and I'm an American who has been living in Spain for nearly eight years. Despite having a good grasp of the language, I found myself a bit flustered at a military wedding with my partner's coworkers a few years ago. Having only good intentions, the other guests began to ask about my family back home in Chicago. I mentioned that my mother was obsessed with “caballo,” wanting to say that she loved riding horses. Forks hit plates. Jaws dropped. My partner couldn't keep a straight face.
I had just said that my mother was a junkie. It turns out the word for horse is the same as the word for a sort of illegal substance!
Who is Tutor Robert:
Robert can help you improve your English skills. You can also ask him questions about anything in the English language and he will try his best to help you. Robert is TESOL/TEFL certified, a state qualified teacher and has 10 years experience teaching English in Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, and online. If you are ready to take your English skills to the next level, don't be shy to send me a message