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We once had an Austrian exchange student, Maria, stay with us. We were driving around her showing her the Aussie countryside and we passed some emus in a paddock. 'Look!' Maria exclaimed, 'Emos!'
This was met with much laughter. She didn't have any idea what we were laughing at.
When I was in college, I took Swahili. When we came in the door of class the first day, the instructor started pointing to stuff and saying "Nini hii?" (Nina hee) Which later we found out meant "What is this?". For a few seconds I was convinced that if "Nini hii?" was the name for everything in the room, the class would be a cinch to pass. I still enjoyed the class when I discovered I was wrong, and went on to study it for 2 more years.
I used to believe that kids in France were really smart. They already had learned French! It didn't occur to me that they had been taught French from the beginning and had to learn English in school like I learned French. Unfortunately, I was in Jr. High School when I came up with that - before then, I never thought about any other language. I thought everyone spoke English.
I used to believe different languages were just the English alphabet in a different order eg for french A was D or G was T and so on, I thought learning a different language just meant learning the code!
I used to think everyone in the world knew and thought in English, but choose to speak different languages.
When I was 6 or 7I thought that American was a totally different language, despite the Simpsons, and other cartoons, having American accent, yet speaking in English.
When I was little, I thought that all translations had to go through English- for example, if you wanted to translate something from Spanish to French, you had to translate it into English first.
I think this is because I only ever saw Spanish-English and French-English dictionaries.
When i was a kid,I used to think that everyone thought in english.And just spoke different languages.I proved this to myself by trying to think in french.
When I was around 11, I started to teach myself Japanese. So, once when I was reading a manga I came across a scene in which a character is waiting to cross the street and the light changes to green--the character notes that it has turned green. However, in Japanese, the word used to refer to the green of traffic lights is "ao" which is usually the word for blue. So, I thought that in Japan, what are our 'green' traffic lights were actually blue! It wasn't until about a year later that it occurred to me that "blue" can sometimes mean "green". (And when I visited Japan six years later, I took special note of the green lights and laughed at myself again.)
I thought that even though different languages were written differently, that they were all said the same. I was so adamant about it that I got my mom to write out the alphabet and then write down which letter in German meant which letter in English, but she didn't quite get what I meant and it didn't end well.
I used to believe that everyone in the world thought in English, some people were just able to identify with other languages as well.
I am from The Netherlands and I thought all babies were born speaking dutch, so it was extra hard for babies outside The Netherlands to learn to speak, because they would have to learn a different language. I felt sorry for them!
I used to believe "In A Gadda Davida" was In the Garden of Eden. Actually, I still don't know what In a gadda Davida means or if I'm even spelling it right!
My daughter thought that the Spanish Christmas song, Feliz Navidad was Denise, La di da!
Until about 2nd grade, I thought they spoke Spanish in China.
I used to believe that I HAD to make up my own language and teach it to everyone. I was soo weird.
I used to believe that "trois" was spelled "twa."
I used to believe that the whole world spoke the same language- English.
When I was about two or three, I used to believe that EVERY country in the world had its own language, that one language, and everyone in the country knew no other language...unless of course, they learned another one in school.
So one day, I was watching something on TV about England, and my dad asked me if I'd ever want to go to England, and I declined. He asked me why, and I replied, "Because I don't know the language!" As a toddler, though, I didn't exactly make the connection that "England" and "English" sounded alike.
I thought that the word 'chicanery' was a racist slur against Mexicans until I heard it pronounced. Then I looked it up and realized it was a French word.
I thought that people who spoke a different languages were aliens.