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I used to think that every state in America spoke a different language and California (where I was living at the time) was the only one that spoke English.
I used to believe that different languages just swapped letters round, like these for example:
English = French
B = D
H = R
My Aunt is Greek so when we were little, she and my Greek cousins taught us all sorts of Greek words. For some reason, I got the idea that "penis" was the Greek word for everyones' private parts so I told everyone in my dance class that I had a penis.
I believed "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" meant "Do you speak Dutch?" I also believed that because "Gesundheit!" means "God bless you!" that the German word for God must be "Gesund".
I grew up speaking English but had a lot of Korean-speaking relatives living in our house or in town. I thought there was some weird Korean word, "Bao mo men" that meant "poop". It wasn't until late teens or early college that I realized they were saying "Bowel movement".
I used to think that the British were very snobbich, because they thought they were too good to make the "long e" sound.
I had yet to discover what accents were.
I remember thinking that non-English speakers were much smarter because they could speak "so much faster."
I used to think that people who spoke in foreign languages thought their words in English first before translating it into their own language.
i used to believe that you could communicate with anyone in the world by simply spelling out the English sentence one letter at a time using the pronunciation of their alphabet.
During the Viet Nam war, I was ten, growing up in Hawaii. I commented to my mom that P.O.W. was a fitting term for the poor guys caught by the enemy, because they were realy pow. She explained that the word I was looking for was spelled pau (Hawaiian for finished), not pow.
We had an extended household. My grandmother was very tiny, about four feet, ten inches. She and her parents all spoke German, French and English. So did my father and his sister.
I was not much shorter than my grandmother. In fact, we were the shortest two people in the family. So, I believed I need only grow a few more inches to speak German :)
It seems to have worked ;P
I don't remember thinking this because I was very young, but apparently I used to claim to my family that I spoke Japanese. I'm American and most definitely have always spoken English.
When I was younger, I used to think there was only so much space in your brain, and once you'd learnt too much of one language, you'd forget another language. (I grew up learning both English and Norwegian and was afraid of learning too much, cos then I'd start forgetting things) I used to think the brain couldn't fit more than two languages at most.
Imagine my surprise when I went on to learn three new languages and realised neither English nor Norwegian were squeezed out of my brain.
When I first arrived in Australia I went to a Primary (Elementary) school in which we learned Greek as an extra subject. In England I had never learnt another language. I enjoyed learning all the letters of the Greek alphabet, they were interesting to look at and it was so much more fun to say "alpha" as opposed to "ay". Unfortunately I hadn't quite grasped the concept that Greek was an entirely different language of its own with different words for different things. When I had to write a sentence out in Greek I simply transferred all the English letters in the sentence for Greek letters. The result was, of course, a highly amusing code for my teacher to puzzle out. Needless to say, I didn't learn much Greek.
Sometimes, when roads were being repaired or constructed a barrier was installed bearing the words 'Val de Travers'. I thought this was French for 'No Entry". Why this should be used in England didn't occur to me - it was actually the name of the construction company.
After WW II, when my friend was 4 yrs old, he emigrated from Europe to the U.S. His 4 older siblings were in school and rapidly learning English, and his father was learning it at work. But his stay-at-home mom spoke only her native language. One day my friend went to the house next door to play with his little friend, but he was told his friend couldn't come out, and he should come again some other day. My friend said he went home wondering why he had to wait until "some Mother's Day" to play with his friend!
When i as young i used to believe that the French spoke a lot of gibbirish like this: uehjdh fhdjh urifmnas dfhj vhfdhfdfhj jjfj pe0we0wesif
I was in the school of thought at the age of 4 that when foriegners spoke in their native toungue they were infact trying to speak english, but hadn't quite grasped it yet. I thought that eventually the whole world would just speak english and nothing else as they all learned it.
My full name is Ericka Minerva but before I came to the U.S. I was known as Minerva. Nobody had ever called me Ericka before so I wasn't even aware of this being my name. Well, when I started kindergarted, the teacher noticed that I had 2 names and wanted to know which I preferred, so she asked me, "Do you want me to call you Ericka?" I responded with "Ericka?" meaning I didn't understand what she was trying to say so she took it to mean that I wanted to be called Ericka.
So for the first few weeks I would not respond when she would call me because I wasn't aware of this being my name. She finally got frustrated and called my parents(who also didn't know that they were calling me Ericka at school) and asked them why I didn't respond to "Ericka". They finally told me that "Ericka" was also my name and to start paying attention when I heard it. Well ever since then, I have never been called Minerva anymore. Everybody knows me as Ericka and it even sounds funny when somebody calls me by my "old" name!
I also thought that people in different countries coughed, sneezed, laughed, or cried in their own language!