Lapsus lingae

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It is always highly appreciated when you speak other languages. I love languages and I always admire those, who have perfect accent or grammar etc. But… it’s rare that you make no mistakes at all, even in your mother tongue, when you are tired or in a rush.

I will never forget one story. I will try to explain it in English, although this mistake is from French. A few years ago I was visiting a friend of mine, who was hosting during a few days her Dad. He is a serious man. I was stressed and had no idea what I could speak about with him. French… it’s easy, their cuisine, they are always happy to talk about the food… “Une poele” means “a pan”.  And as he was frying something, I wanted to tell him, I know many one-pan recipes as I like “cuisiner a poele”.

A short notice, Polish language doesn’t use articles. Le, la, les, une, un, des, the, a, der, die, das, ein, eine – these small words don’t exist in our language… And when I studied literature and grammar, I was lazy. I think I could learn how to use them properly but I didn’t bother. Not using articles in other languages, can change the meaning of the words…

So, “a poil” which phonetically is the same as “a poele” means “naked”. Instead of saying “a la poele” I used the phrase without the article “la” and said I love cooking naked. His shocked face and then laugh – unforgettable 🙂

Do you remember the film “What women want?”, a movie starring Mel Gibson? One day he wakes up and can read womens’ minds. One of my dreams was to one time wake up and hear all the languages that I speak from a native speaker perspective. I can hear my friends who speak Polish, what their accent is and what small mistakes they do. But I cannot here my English or French from the native’s perspective.

E.g. once I said to a friend “I will bring vodka” in French. She started laughing and asked if one of my friends is called Vodka as without an article, it can mean I am talking about a person. It’s a pity I will never hear it from this perspective. Although, who knows, my husband is a scientist, I will tell him to work on some kind of “language brain machine” which would enable it 🙂

One thought on “Lapsus lingae

  1. For me the funniest word in French is la coca/le coca (I think the first one is cocaine, while the other – Coca cola, but I’m not sure). And the biggest mistake ever I have made was to ask my sister’s friend before a Christmas dinner, with a big smile: Vous-avez femme? (Are you marrie d)Which was supposed to be Vous-avez faim? (Are you hungry). The problems was, my sis invited him over to Xmas dinner because his wife committed a suicide few days before….

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