Lost in Translation (and Pronunciation)

by Brian Carroll on June 4, 2012

Having a grasp on the local language where you travel is always a good idea.  But based on where each of us have grown up, the way we've learned to pronounce particular letters varies and as such, it can lead to funny situations when we speak secondary languages. Take this recent conversation between myself and a pretty friend of mine from Uruguay (her primary language is spanish).  This was 10 minutes before we were headed out with another friend to get a few drinks in Queenstown, New Zealand: Uruguyan friend: "I go to wash my teets." Me: (taken aback a bit, but figuring they're more forward in South America possibly?) Wait, what?!? Uruguyan friend: "I need to go wash my teets, I'll be back in a few minutes (signaling the motion of brushing teeth...) Me:  (Understanding now) Oh, you mean "brush your teeth." Needless to say it was a funny exchange and I'm really not sure I should have corrected her....
*Note:  in spanish, one might say "lava los dientes" which can be translated as "wash my teeth" so you can see where the direct english translation could be confusing.  Plus that "th" sound can be tougher for spanish speakers to pronounce.

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