Horrible communication mistake

We are currently hosting an Indonesian graduate student for 3 weeks, he is doing work experience with me and staying at our home. There is a group of 18 who are in Australia for the first time. We picked him up on Saturday after an orientation program and brought him home to get settled. His English is beautiful, however I have had a lesson in how to best communicate everyday things. I started by telling him how informal we are and to make himself at home.

Showing him his room, I showed him the wardrobe, and said that if he needed extra space to put his gear, I would make more room for him. Then he saw the bathroom - which has a shower and a basin. Fixing me with a steely look he asked where the closet was. I took him back into his room and gestered again to the wardrobe. “Here you are, this is your closet” I said. He looked confused, so I continued the tour, kitchen, lounge, toilet. “Here’s the toilet,” I said. “Aaaah,” he said smiling “Closet!”

My partner whispered to me “I think you told him he can pee in his closet, after all, we’re very informal.” :smack:

I see a misunderstanding, but no mistake. :confused:

It will become more horrible if he actually pees in the closet.

You realize he got this from the British “water closet,” and that you need to acquaint him with the different American usage, right?

Sometimes the “water closet” is also referred to as the W.C. I have a little sign on mine that identifies it as such and I’m an American.

You should be in for lots of fun!

I’ve heard a rumor that Madame de Gaulle had a little trouble understanding the difference in the pronunciation of “happiness” and “a penis.” There may not be a shred of truth to that, but I love the story!

That would be the different Australian usage, given the OP mentioned australia and has Australia in her location right up there.

One of my co-workers was hosting several Japanese businesspeople at an office in Germany. When he first toured them around, he explained that the bathrooms were marked “DAMEN” for da Men, and “HERREN” for her, the women. They knew enough English for this to make sense, unfortunately for them. For some reason, they each got a chance to learn the hard way before word got around that he was messing with them.

If he does indeed pee in his closet it would be unfortunate no? However, tonight he presented us with the most beautiful Balinese puppet, as his thanks. 3 weeks to go, and much hilarity I’m sure! Keep you posted Dopers!