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Taken from the "grammar police" thread -- this seemed like a whole new topic!

Quoted from Sig in the other thread:

Regionalisms can be terribly misleading. Long ago, when I was an ad agency president and a bit full of myself, I was visiting a client in the Deep South. As I left, his last words to me were, "Now you come back and see us, hear?"

I did not realize that this was simply the local equivalent of "Goodbye"--and little else!

Sig

http://sigrosenblum.7p.com/


What other fun or embarrassing misunderstandings has anyone encountered because of a difference in local expressions or customs?
 

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My sister-in-law visited some people in the South and the woman kept talking about bacon. My SIL thought she had a weird pork obsession -- turns out she was talking about baking, not bacon.

I worked around several brits who were filming the the Animal Planet show set at the shelter where I worked. I was aware fanny had a different meaning over there -- slang for the female anatomy as opposed to the buttocks -- but it was funny to see them when we tossed around mentions of the fanny packs which were part of our work attire.

Living in Minnesota hasn't made me sound too much like Margie from Fargo, but I do use the term "spendy" to mean expensive and am used to other people exclaiming Ufdah!
 

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I had a hard time hearing people in the south say might could, as in I might could help you with that.
After living there for many years I find myself saying it now and again.

In the area I live now they say "you know what I mean" two or three times in a sentence. It took me a while to understand they didn't really care if I understood or not.

I think you'ns is a Pennsylvania term. I haven't heard it anywhere else, so I'm not completely sure.
 

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Gumbands reminds me of one.  My ex-inlaws use to say poke for a paperbag.  It took me forever to figure that one out.
 

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well mine was not embarrassing.....or particularly funny for that matter. I had a past coworker last year who was from Peru, older woman mid 40's married with a kid [at the time I was 21, engaged, no kid]. I had worked at my job for 2 years so my boss asked me to train the woman on certain aspects of the job.

This woman would become irate when I would tell her how to do something, because in Peru an unmarried younger woman NEVER told and older woman what to do or how to do it. It became a huge issue and eventually my boss decided she would just deal with the woman. Fortunately she decided the job wasn't for her and quit soon after........oy vey........... ::)
 

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When I lived in Kansas, my best friend from Arkansas would talk about  the turtlehull on his car. Finally found out what he was talking about when he opened the trunk. Guess it goes back to the old 30's and 40's cars that were much more rounded with the trunk looking like a turtle's shell.
 

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The English have many colorful names for common things that are different from our own.
I lived in London in the mid-70s for 3 years.  And it took a while to stop embarrasing myself.
When going on a business trip, I was told by a colleague who was driving to put my gear in the boot.  After several minutes that I didn't move, he looked at me and pointed to the front of the car and said "That's the Bonnet" and pointing to the rear of the car "And that's the boot".
So I learned two new words in one day.  But I was certain that it was hood and trunk.
 

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Read a story once in reference to that. an American was ribbing an Englishman about all the funny names the British had for car parts, finally saying "Our names must be right, who invented the car?"  The Englishman's reply, "Ah, yes, but who invented the language?"
 

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While not a misunderstanding, this was still pretty funny to the Harms :)

A friend of ours had moved in next door and was waiting to buy any household goods until his room-mate from an Eastern European country arrived. That way they could discuss what was needed and such...

So they get back from K-Mart and come over to our house for a "Welcome to America and the neighborhood" cook-out. His roomie looks at us and says "I love this Martha Stewart! She has everything!"  This was right as she was on trial. LOL
 

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In Canada they use "bum" for the buttocks of both male and female.  Took me awhile in my t'ai chi class to use that term rather than butt, or rear end or even buttocks because  they had no idea of what I was saying.

And in Texas you are always "a fixin' to" to something or another - a fixin to go to the store, to read a book, etc.,  You can tell if someone is a Texan if they use that phrase  ::)
 

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Anju No. 469 said:
And in Texas you are always "a fixin' to" to something or another - a fixin to go to the store, to read a book, etc., You can tell if someone is a Texan if they use that phrase ::)
My students in MS had me baffled when they said "Ahm fin'tuh..." {I'm fixing to..." }And of course, I had them baffled when I told them I had made a couple of loo passes for them to use. {I am English and the loo is the bathroom.}

patrisha
 

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Oh patrisha,
Your loo comment reminds me of yet another embarrassing moment for me the land of speaking "English":
I can recall asking an English host if I might use his bathroom.  And apparently in older English homes the bathroom was indeed a room where one takes a bath.  The loo was usually a closet that had the toilet in it.  So he was very confused that I wanted to take a bath in his home while just a guest for the evening.  But he remembered about us silly Americans and it was ok.
 

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I architect and design software applications and then a developer actually writes the code.  Quite often the developer is from India.  One of the first times I worked with an Indian developer he told me he had some doubts about my design.  I was rather offended and ready to put him in his place when I figured out that he wasn't doubting me or my design, he simply had some questions.  They use 'doubt' the way I use 'question'.  I've become very used to that phrase now.

I've also become used to the custom of them bobbing their head sideways to mean 'yes' when to many of us it looks like they are shaking their head 'no'. 
 

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Susan in VA said:
Taken from the "grammar police" thread -- this seemed like a whole new topic!

Quoted from Sig in the other thread:

Regionalisms can be terribly misleading. Long ago, when I was an ad agency president and a bit full of myself, I was visiting a client in the Deep South. As I left, his last words to me were, "Now you come back and see us, hear?"

I did not realize that this was simply the local equivalent of "Goodbye"--and little else!

Sig

http://sigrosenblum.7p.com/


What other fun or embarrassing misunderstandings has anyone encountered because of a difference in local expressions or customs?
Sig apparently hasn't watched may "Beverly Hillbillies" reruns. ;)

I can think of two funny / embarrassing missunderstandings.

I had a friend that spent a semester in Australia when he was in high school. He had gone to a football match (soccer game) with his host family and he turned to his young host sister and asked her what team she was rooting for. Everyone looked at him aghast and of course he had no idea what he had done. One of his host parents, realizing that some cultural missunderstanding must have occurred took him aside and explained that in Australia the verb root is like f*ck in American. The poor guy was so embarrassed that he had said such a thing to a little girl - I can imagine he probably turned absolutely crimson (he's a strawberry blond and it wasn't hard to get him to turn red)

The other incident happened back in the mid-1950s, which given the innocence of the time makes it all the more funny. My parents (then only dating) were members of a tall club and they had regular conventions, some of them international. A group of people were sitting and talking at the convention and an English gentleman was getting along quite well with another female member of the Chicago club of which my parents were members. As they he got up to leave for the evening he said to the young woman "I'll knock you up in the morning." She looked at him stunned and unable to answer, while the rest of the table, realizing what he meant and what he "said", were roaring with laughter. They finally explained to the poor couple that while "I'll knock you up" in England meant that he would come by and knock on her door in American it was quite a different thing since to be "knocked-up" was to be pregnant.
 

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These are funny!

I am a  flight attendant and years ago was flying with a male flight attendant who is from Columbia and had a very heavy accent.  He was telling me a story about some trouble he had on a flight earlier in the week.  He told me a very long and involved story about two passengers who kept hitting each other with their peanuts.  I said "what did you say"?!  He said again, "they kept hitting each other with their peanuts"!
I guess my eyes got very big because he said "what is wrong"?  I finally started laughing and said, "Miguel, if you are going to use the word peanuts, the "T" sound is very important"!!
 

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Monica 2600 said:
These are funny!

I am a flight attendant and years ago was flying with a male flight attendant who is from Columbia and had a very heavy accent. He was telling me a story about some trouble he had on a flight earlier in the week. He told me a very long and involved story about two passengers who kept hitting each other with their peanuts. I said "what did you say"?! He said again, "they kept hitting each other with their peanuts"!
I guess my eyes got very big because he said "what is wrong"? I finally started laughing and said, "Miguel, if you are going to use the word peanuts, the "T" sound is very important"!!
ROFLMAO!!!!
 
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