I have a lot of embarrassing things happen to me when I’m trying to speak in other languages. Thankfully, I haven’t yet had any permanent damage (like accidentally asking for the wrong haircut), and I find that sharing these stories with other learners can help ease the embarrassment a little bit.
So, let me tell you a story. I was in a cafe one day, and wanted to know what the wifi password was. I knew the word for password, and I had just learned the word for wireless internet from a podcast I was listening to. I was all set. I called the waitress over and asked her what the password was. Success. Until she said something so quickly that I had no clue what she was talking about. I asked her to repeat it. She said something that sounded longer, and was slightly slower. I still had no idea. So I offered her my pen and asked her to write it down. The password was, wait for it… 0123456789. I had thought I was progressing fairly well by that point, so to realise that I couldn’t understand basic numbers was somewhat humbling. In my defence, she initially used a short form (like 0 to 9 instead of the full list), but I still couldn’t look her in the eye afterwards.
That’s far from my most embarrassing story, but it’s the first one that springs to mind. Do you have any embarrassing language stories?
Image: partie traumatic.