If you've ever eaten gummy bears, gummy just means rubber in German. They use the same word for elastic used in clothing, for example elastic waistband pants.
In my teens, me, my mother and a friend of the family went shopping together to pick up sewing supplies. The family friend walked through the store loudly asking "Where are the rubbers?" because she needed elastic for a sewing project of hers. My mother made herself very busy elsewhere in the store and did her best to pretend she didn't know the woman.
A different family friend had a vaginal yeast infection. Her doctor recommended a vinegar and water douche. Confused, she asked "How will that help? And how do I get the vinegar in the showerhead?" because it sounds like the German word for shower.
My high school French teacher was a tiny lady who spent a year of college abroad in Paris. At a fancy meal where they passed one course of food after another, she soon was too full to eat another bite. So she turned down the next course telling them "I'm full" in French (Je suis pleine.)
You could hear a pin drop and everyone was mortified because it roughly translated as "I'm knocked up!" Then they realized it was some weird Americanism and got on with dinner conversation.
A friend who lived in Spain or something for some years and was fluent in Spanish told me that the written word for year is the same as the written word for ass in Spanish, except year has a tilde over it. Since most English language keyboards don't let you put a tilde over a letter, "Happy New Year" fairly often becomes "Happy New Ass" on the internet, especially from people who aren't really fluent.
This sort of thing is incredibly common.
I got this as a 14 year old non-native speaker, who of course expected the lyrics to be proper English.
Did all you native speakers find it to be about masochism and domestic violence?
Hit is slang for a dose of illicit drugs.
I think that framing -- or something akin to it -- was a fairly common interpretation. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been a hit song.
Part of the problem is that American English mostly doesn't use such marks, so they are alien. We tend to think they don't really matter. It doesn't readily register on a lot of Americans as a misspelled word.
"Oh, yeah, it's supposed to have a thing over it. Ack! My keyboard won't do that! Meh. Doesn't really matter. I spelled it correctly. They will know what I mean."
Also, people are frequently very, very reluctant to explain to foreigners what the "dirty" words are and what they mean. So people tend to not correct you and tell you "Do you realize you are saying Happy New Ass to everyone?"
Even if you'd never typed that character before, your first guess would be Compose-Tilde-N and you'd be right.
How we got stuck with "just remember the ASCII or Unicode codepoint for every character your keyboard doesn't have" is beyond me.
Me: Oh, so it's like a cross between the end of "fridge" and the beginning of the French "dieu"?
Her: No! You're making this too complicated...it's just "gy". It's a Hungarian sound. You guys don't have it.
(I still do a better job at remembering vowel sounds or those combo letters if I have a more familiar analogue. It's almost like a pnemonic for me.)
Funny it does translate (hey with translate.google.com) to 'I am full'.
Here is the thing though. If you have someone that you know isn't a native don't you cut some slack in terms of what comes out of their mouth? Not if you want it to be a big put down to elevate yourself you don't.
Plus I read somewhere that the French in particular are big snobs with respect to people who are not 'native' born and in on the way things are. It's like that in many areas both geographic and cultural even computers. You hear something and want to perhaps think you are superior because what someone says is the mark of a newbie (and hence the reaction is over exagerated on purpose).
Think of it this way. If you were at a table with friends and it was obvious someone had just finished and they said 'I am knocked up' you would think that is funny. You wouldn't think they meant (in context) something sexual or related to pregnancy. Right?
The literal meaning might be the same across languages, but it’s understood meaning is something else.
Then after being told her mistake: “¡Estoy embarazada!”
For those who know no Spanish, the second translates as "I'm pregnant!" not "I'm embarrassed!"
I'm not sure I remember exactly correctly, but you can't say "I'm hot" (Ich bin heise) in German because it will be taken to mean "I'm aroused." You have to say something more like "It's too warm in here." (schoen warm -- though that's usually spelled in German with an umlaut over the o, not an e after it, I'm just on a "dumb" American keyboard)
I'm hot = I'm aroused
Mich. Mir. Same thing, right???? 0_o
The foreign family was a little ... perplexed (or maybe just amused) because in German “Gift Pack” translates to “Poison Pack.”
So they spent their first few years together speaking half in German, half in English. One day he comes home and tells her "I have a gift for you" where the entire sentence is in German except the world gift (Ich habe ein gift fur dir).
My mother was all "Why the hell would you want to poison me? What the hell have I done to you?"
The correct French sentence would be "Je n'ai plus faim" (I'm not hungry anymore)
Though I'm sure this was more than forty years ago considering I'm in my fifties and my teacher was older than me. Times have changed and all kinds of things that were horrifyingly rude in, say, the 1960s are no big deal today.
When my father was in the military, he was promised at some point that he would not be sent back to Vietnam for a second tour. Then he got orders for Vietnam. He fought it and went up through the ranks with his appeal until a General denied it.
The General told him "You are going to Vietnam." and my father replied to that with "The hell I am." and dropped his retirement papers.
This was utterly shocking behavior. It was an anecdote told to emphasize what a huge deal this was to him that he would use such harsh language.
My father never swore at work. This was simply not done by any sane person anywhere in the US at that time.
These days, the F word gets used by some people like the word very (me, for instance). The word hell doesn't even raise any eyebrows in most circles, sometimes even if children are present.
If you look at synonyms of repu, for example in the Dictionnaire Electronique des Synonymes from Centre de recherches inter-langues sur la signification en contexte (CRISCO), you will find among others things, (avoir) le ventre plein, plein and remplir (to to fulfil).
So its unlikely that in according situation, a French native wouldn't understand what the woman means, even it wasn't already in the phraseological customary of its hitherto acquaintances.
And of course, as you might expect, French will provide you a myriad of possible constructions if you want to turn your expression into dirty vulgar utterances. ;)
(edit: now playing "Kraftwerk - Showroom Dummies")
A few good ideas in "English as she is spoke":
I guess the novelty of unfettered access to people around the world hadn't worn off …
a friend also started a similar project to translate goethe's observation that "Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own." but i don't think they ever put it online.
For those who don't speak Swedish, the pun is in that "glass" is the Swedish word for ice cream.
edit: I can't resist pointing out that for the Swedish word "it" I'd rather say "det", hence referring to the action of eating ice cream rather than "den", referring to the ice cream itself.
I feel the urge to speculate that Swedish "glas" comes down from proto-Germanic, while "glass" is a loan from French "glace".
To an Aussie bogan like me I'd pronounce the two the same usually, I have to think of the difference as how an American says glass vs how an Englishman/Aussie might say glass
I haven't had the balls to try speaking Swedish yet so haven't asked to eat some glass yet
Edit: Oooh I should've looked around more on that archived page for the actual list (https://web.archive.org/web/20040204003447/http://hcs.harvar...), there are two Czech ones there! "Můžu jíst sklo; to mi neškodí" (I can eat glass, it doesn't harm me - TIL the verb "škodit") and "Můžu jíst sklo, to mi nic neudelá" (I can eat glass, it does nothing to me).
I’ve lately found in my Spanish learning that I can “see” idioms without knowing their meaning by using subtitles in Spanish with Spanish audio. They usually come up as sequences of words that make no sense to me.
Now on Tatoeba, enjoy expanding it in languages you know: https://tatoeba.org/eng/sentences/show/8223257