I used to believe that, if you were up to learn a foreign language, you should look at a book and 'decode', like 's=y', 'u=a',"n=j", so the word 'sun' would be 'yaj' in other language for example.
I used to believe that language was genetic: If you took a baby born to German parents and gave it to English parents, the child would grow up speaking German. I thought the child would have to wait until high school to take english classes.
A 45 year old male co-worker of mine thought I could translate a document from English to Arabic simply by changing the font to Arabic. This is absolutely true!
I'd almost forgotten about this until I read this site, but I used to believe that the reason for AMBULANCE being written backwards (somebody else already mentioned it) was so Russians could read it.
From watching old WW2 movies as a kid I thought Germans (in Germany) spoke English with a German accent, Japanese spoke English with a Japanese accent and so on.
My mom is from Finland, and as a kid I thought it was so cool that I used to talk about it all the time to my teachers. My first grade teacher finally asked me to do a presentation on Finland, complete with drawings of reindeers and Lapp people, and everybody in my class thought that I was making it up - that there was no such place as Finland! I made my mom come in and speak Finnish to everybody, but they thought she was just jibbering and "goo-goo-gah-gahed" at me for the remainder of the school year!
I used to think that adults spoke an entirely different language (not English) when kids weren't around.
I believed that my father and I shared a secret language called English as my mother could not speak it (we are portuguese). When I went to primary school - I got the shock of my life - every one spoke English :( I was extremely upset that people found out our secret
When I was about 3 years old or so, I believed with unbreakable conviction that every single person on this planet spoke Swedish (which is my mother tounge). When my brother broke the news to me that there are a lot of different languages being spoken all over the world, I just couldn't accept it.
I remember being extremely mad and yelling at him; "THEY ALL SPEAK SWEDISH! You're lying! I hate you!" =)
I used to think one word in English was another word in another language.
I.E.- cat might mean hair
I would shout random words at my sister thinking I was yelling at her in French. ::shakes head::
At the age of four I believed I was soooo smart. I spoke TWO languages...English AND American!
When I was about 5 I heard someone talk French into a phone and thought that they must have some kind of special adapter for an english phone to work in french.
i used to think that when people sang in foreign languages they were just singing pretend words that they made up as they went along. i wasn't pleased, i thought i'd invented that game.
I also thought that people in different countries coughed, sneezed, laughed, or cried in their own language!
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 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".
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.
Up until kindergarten I believed that English was a foreign language and that the language I spoke had no name. Once we sang a song in English then sang the translation in Spanish. After the Spanish version I announced to the teachers/class that I wanted to sing in English. When they said we already had I became very angry and started to argue. I said that I already knew what Spanish, French, and German sounded like and that no one had ever spoke to me in English. I became very concerned that people were trying to "hide" English from me for some reason. It took a few more weeks before someone figured out what I was thinking.
When I was a little girl, all of the older members of my family spoke the language of their home country. I used to think that when you got old, you automatically knew how to speak Yiddish.
My family speaks German, and as a child I didn't grasp the concept of foreign languages. So when I first heard my aunt's husband, who was from Hungary, say a German word (as opposed to some Gibberish I couldn't understand), I exclaimed: "Look! Uncle Georg can speak!"
I still hear this regularly from my relatives.