Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Few Language Blunders

So after almost 10 years here in Czechland I've had my share of misadventures.  Some are due to using the wrong word, some are the result of bad pronunciation, and some of the most tragic involve cursing.  I've had multiple requests over the years to write about them so here are some of the most memorable ones.

  • Fakt jo isn't cursing.  In Czech it just means "oh really?"  But when native English speakers hear a strong Czech or Slovak accent it sounds like "fuck you".  This can lead to misunderstandings. 
  • I once gave my housekeeper a bottle of champagne and said Strašný nový rok when I should have said Šťastný nový rok because I ended up wishing her a "terrible new year" instead of a happy one. 
  • I've heard English speakers say "yeah, but..." which to Czech ears sounds like jebat (to fuck).
  • In Polish, šukat means "to search" or "to look for" but in Czech it means "to fuck".  There are countless stories of Polish people in the shop saying šukám na thinking it means "I'm looking for" but actually saying "I'm fucking".
  • Be careful when asking someone if they want to smoke.  The verb kouřit means "to smoke" but it also means "to give a blow job".
  • Dívka means "girl".  Make sure your pronunciation is spot on because děvka means "slut".
  • I have a friend named Štěpánka.  The short version of her name is Štěpka which is the English equivalent of Stephie.  I felt really bad when I mispronounced it at Štětka which means "slut".
  • One of my mates was messing with me one day and I tried to say polib mi prdel meaning "kiss my ass".  Unfortunately I said Bolí mi prdel which means "my ass hurts".  
  • Another time I tried to tell someone drž hubu which means "shut up".  However, what I ended up saying was drž píču which is the equivalent of "shut your cunt".
I'm from Atlanta.  The peach state.  So if something is good we say "it's peachy".  In my first couple of weeks on the job someone asked me how everything was going and I replied with "everything's peachy".  I had no idea why several people fell out of their chairs laughing.  Eventually I learned that what they understood me to have said was that "everything's píči" which is the equivalent of saying that "everything is cunty".

And the grand daddy of all language blunders is still that time I tried to say dělat opičky which means "making monkeys" as in "goofing off".  Instead I said dělat obřizky which is "to perform a circumcision".  

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