I told one friend that I was hungry, but my pronunciation wasn’t correct so my friend asked me “Why are you angry? What is the problem?” And I said to her “ There’s no problem here!, I used to eat everyday”.
Sometimes when we are in a foreign country, we can find situations where we can be in an embarrasing situation because we say something that in our native language is normal but not in the language that they speak in this foreign country.
Or maybe situations where you want to express something and you say one word that is correct, but your pronunciation is not totally correct and they might understand another thing.
I have had some experiences with misunderstandings since I arrived here.
My first week in San Francisco (to study ESL abroad at EC San Francisco)
Have you heard anything about baby cologne? Here it is not usual, but in my country it is totally normal and not only for babies, because some people like it and they use it, like me. I needed it so I went to the supermarket to buy it… I tried in four or five supermarkets, and then in different stores but nobody knows anything about baby cologne, actually people look at me like if I was totally crazy!! Baby cologne?? What is that! In one occasion one guy laughed at me.. I felt so bad, and then I could understand that here is not normal to use it.
These kind of things can be funny, but there are another situations where you might feel embarrassed, like for example, in English you can say “I like you mum” without any problems, because you think that my mum is nice, but in Spain, we only use “like” to talk about objects, so if you say “I like your mum” It means that you’re in love with her. So it can be a problem if you’re talking with a friend, because he might misunderstand you!
All my life I thought that in all countries, they use the same acronyms, but then I realized that it is not the case. In every country is different and of course they cannot understand you.
I want to give you some examples. First of them is that if you are talking about United Nations with people who speak English I cannot say ONU (Like we say in Spain) because of course they won’t understand me. The same with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) which in Spanish is called OTAN.
In conclusion, if you travel to another country, be careful with the things that you say, because some people can misunderstand you and it might make you live an embarrasing moment.