Sunday, November 15, 2009

Aura's Unintentional Abuse of the Spanish Language

Ahhh...if only some of you bilingual people could have heard the things I've managed to say this month without meaning to. I think it's time for some comic relief. Here are some of the funniest slipups I've had with Spanish in the past month:

Aura (to Mosco): Me quieres hacer algo en el compost?
Literally, 'do you want to do something to me in the compost?' What I meant to ask was, do you want me to do something in the compost. Mosco almost lost it when I asked him this one day after lunch. It became a running joke from then on out...

Aura (to Noe): Que significa chino? Entonces, por que ellos dijieron que querian comprar un chino?
Literally, 'what does chino mean?' Noe tells me that chino means a chinese person. I then proceed to ask her why her friends said they wanted to buy a chinese person. Everyone laughs hysterically, even me, although I have no idea what we're laughing at. Turns out, I overheard the argentinas and another guy talking, and I thought they said they wanted to buy a chino (chinese person). What they really said was they wanted to buy something in a chinese store, like food.

I'm working and Jerry and Lolo walk up. Jerry looks at Lolo and says, 'Ovejas?'
Lolo: Si, si. Las tengo.
Jerry: Se vende? Are they for sale? Aura, can you translate for us?
Me: Sure, sure, but I'm confused. You really want to buy ovejas from Lolo? (I'm laughing)
Jerry: Yes. (He's not laughing).
Aura: Are you sure?
Jerry: YES!
Aura: Okay, okay. What do you want to know?

I proceed to translate for about 10 minutes. Lolo describes his ovejas, signalling with his hands how big they are and how old they are. We discuss when they can meet so Jerry can see them. I'm completely incredulous - Jerry is the volunteer coordinator, and he works with bees. I can't figure out for the life of me why he wants to buy a sheep from Lolo, but I play along, trying not to giggle. They agree on the details. They leave. I shrug and continue working. The next day, I hear Jerry talking again about this issue, and well, basically I figure out in front of about 10 people that they were talking about 'abejas,' which are bees, pronounced suspiciously like 'ovejas,' especially since Jerry doesn't really speak Spanish. Hilarity ensues :)


Sara said...

Haha -- this is hilarious! Hope you're still having fun at a beach somewhere, thanks for calling this weekend to wish me a happy birthday. We had fun at home, but missed you!

Carrie said...

this cracked me up!