a language barrier harassment....

An exchange student of mine(not speaking English) went to an eatery want to order a dish of Chinese noodle, and her didn’t like any ingredient of something such as capsicum or hot pepper or chili and the like. But in her mind only the general word ‘hot’ can be recalled. Then the waiter couldn’t exactly grasp at it, so she gestured a piece of something(I think that may be like a banana, haha…) stiffly.
At the end, she still encountered with a dish with plenty of spice of capsicum and chili(that is common but I cannot how to put it appropriately in English)…

[bleating]How to put it then… :confused: …?[/bleating] :confused:

Along with the word “hot” teach her the word “no.”

I’m guessing the message you want to get across is ‘not spicy’.

Er…where does the harassment come in?

ask: is ‘not spicy’ right when addition with salt or curries etc. but not with any of chili or pepper?

Not spicy ('round here) wouldn’t have anything to do with ‘herbs and spices’ but would mean nothing that would make the dish hot. The problem is ‘not spicy’ might mean the that cook just tones it down a bit. I think the phrase you’re looking for is “I don’t want anything spicy in it at all”

Based on the obvious lack of familiarity of English, I think the OP means harrassment as “difficulty.” Just my WAG, though.

As to the OP, “not spicy” can mean bland, so it would be appropriate for not too much salt, curry, chilis, capsicum, nutmeg or any other spice. You can teach your friend the word “bland” as well, if she just doesn’t like a lot of spices in general.

She can say any of the following things:

“I would like Chinese Noodles, but please don’t make it spicy.”
“Can you serve Chinese Noodles, only mild please? I don’t like hot spices.”
“Spicy food irritates me, but I would like to try your Chinese Noodles. Can you prepare it without hot spices?”

And of course she can substitute any food she likes for the words “Chinese Noodles.” She should know that some dishes are always spicy, though. If it says “Chili” or “BBQ”, the spiciness is part of the enjoyment of the dish. Asking for mild spices with dishes like that may cause some confusion and embarrassment.

Semperdcy … welcome! You are doing great with your English – it’s not easy to write in another language. Keep at it.

If I may: what is your native language? And the exchange student’s? Finally, what nation are you all in?

Trying to think of some ways to help communicate. There are a lot of people on this board from all over the world, so some specific advice can usually be gotten here on such matters.

Ah, that makes sense. The references to the banana and its stiffness through me off, I think. Now I realize it was probably just a ref to the little chili pepper they draw next to the spicier items on menus.

This does make me think of that other thread we had a while back about Chinese food and spiciness. I guess it really can be too spicy for some.

Find a picture of chili pepper on the menu, point to and say “no,” or shake head “no.”

Say “no pepper.”

Make gestures:
-Put hand to mouth, like eating
-Stick out tongue, wave hand above it like tongue is on fire
-Shake head “no”

I think, she didn’t want anything made from pepper or chili, in other words, she just not like something chili-tasted, and like the things taste strong.

In Chinese, we say it '不要辣的‘(meaning just don’t want the things chili-tasted but can be spicy).

Since you’re in a restaurant, borrow the waiter’s pen and use it to draw some pictures on a piece of paper or your napkin. One thing you could try is a picture of a chili pepper. Another you could try is a face sticking out a tongue, which is on fire. Then cross out the pictures and shake your head.

Ok, I understand. Your friend needs to learn the phrase “no peppers.” If she doesn’t mind other spices and only capsicum bothers her, then she should ask for no peppers.

I wish you and your friend luck in learning English. It is a very difficult language. By the way, I was not trying to be insulting with my observation of your lack of familiarity with the language – I understood you just fine :slight_smile:

‘Mild please’ is also a good phrase for it. There is often an option for hot or mild(or hot, medium, or mild), and simply saying mild will usually get the point across.

Also, I’m guessing capsicum is coming from you, not her, but just in case; capsicum isn’t a commonly used name for it in America, and if she’s in America it would likely confuse them.

[hijack]Back when I drank tea more often in restaurants, I could never find a precise way to ask the waitstaff if they had a dairy-based creamer: I didn’t want to drink tea with Coffee-Mate or other artificial creamer, but would order tea if they had 4% milk, real half and half, or real cream. If I just asked if they had half and half, they always said yes, and at least half the time they’d give me articifical whitening agent in those tiny liquid packets. And waitstaff don’t understand the phrase “real dairy-based creamer”, and the phrase “milk, real half and half, or cream” is too long.

Thank you all for your answers!
Different cultures have different ways of thinking, Surely the most efficient method to learn a great language and with its life style is to live in that true life genuinely.