I should start this post with a disclaimer: I have nothing but respect for people that move to a new country and make every attempt to learn the language. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to cope. I’ve made several attempts to learn French, German, and Italian, but soon gave up and said “Meh, everyone speaks English anyway.” So I really shouldn’t make fun of those who have tried and succeeded, because they’ve done what I can’t.
But honest to Og, the mistakes they make are sometimes very amusing. Case in point:
My Chinese coworker is going on vacation next week. To London. And she’s taking a few days in Paris. And she’ll spend a little time in Brazil. London, Paris, Brazil, then back to London, then back to Boston. Several of us remarked that that was going to be a huge amount of flying.
I warned her to wear a hat in Brazil, as well as a lot of sunblock. After all, the sun in that region is very intense. She asked why Brazil is so sunny. I explained that it’s near the equator and gets more direct sunlight, etc.
We then got into a discussion about how to pronounce Brazil. You know, the one in Belgium.
Ah. It’s pronounced Brussels.
When I told this to my GF, she related the tale of a conversation she had with a Hispanic guy working at a tollbooth. He proudly announced that he got something, but he couldn’t pronounce it. “Subowania? Subpunmonania?”
“Um, could you spell it?”