Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts: The Pitfalls of Mixing Foreign Languages and Faulty Memories

Ana is a "farm girl" and somehow got the impression that I am a bit of a city slicker. However, I did live on a small family farm through my junior high, high school and college years. So, recently I was talking about my parent's farm and trying my best to relate some funny stories.

Using my English-Spanish dictionary, I told her that we had had goats. She seemed interested and somewhat impressed. Thus encouraged to go on, I wanted to tell her that I could milk a goat.

I wasn't sure if I could use the Spanish noun for "milk" as a verb (as we do in English), so, to be on the safe side, I started to form the sentence, "I can take milk from a goat" in Spanish.

At the last minute, I realized that I couldn't quite remember the Spanish word for "goat" and I had, unfortunately, let the dictionary fall shut. Instead of taking the time to look it up again, I decided to wing it, and took a stab using only a fuzzy memory as a guide.

A look of surprise flashed across Ana's face, followed immediately by amusement - which was also quickly squelched and replaced with polite interest.

Well, I didn't know what I had said, but clearly it hadn't been the word for "goat", and I immediately picked up the dictionary to translate back into English.

Ana actually tried to distract me from looking it up, but that just made me all the more determined.

Those of you who know Spanish might be able to guess...

In fact, I had just rather proudly announced that I could take milk from a bast*rd! ;)


Joanne said...

A whole latte translating going on here! Funny story, these are the best kind, the ones that happen in all innocence. I'm sure Ana will remember this one for a long time!

Christine said...

HA! That is so funny, and totally something that happens on a sitcom! :) You should write a sitcome. :D