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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.
I used to think that as 'wee' meant 'yes' in French 'poo' must mean 'no'
Well, it made sense to me at the time ;)
My friend convinced me he was American and i used to bug him every day - "Go on, say something in American" and he'd make up some random gibberish and I really thought he was speaking American. We're both English. I believed all the cop shows like Kojak were set in London and those were London accents.
When I was young I thought that 100 years ago everybody spoke the same language, and the languages we speak now were invented for wars to protect our secrets against other nations.
When I first learned about French, I thought that every word in English would be the same in Freanch, except 'le' or 'la' would be in front.
Not long after my discovery, I met a girl named Larissa. I had never heard such a funny name before and assumed that it was French (it's actually Russian). That night I looked in my dictionary and found that Rissa means 'the genus Laridae'.
Genus is a species, and Laridae is the scientific name for 'gull' as in the kind of bird.
From then on I thought that my friend turned into a seagull every night and would turn back into a little girl in the morning so she could go to school.
It wasn't me but my grandmother used to believe that everybody spoke Catalan and Sapnish. And thus she would say things like: How intelligent the Brittish children are, they are so little and they already speak English!
I was about 6 or 7 and was given a book of simple French words. I spent ages trying to work out the code which governed the translation, e.g. if hello was merci, then h=m, e=e, l=r etc. depending on where the letters were in the word. I used to make up my own languages on this basis.
I still do have too much fascination with words - I study linguistics.
I'm Irish when I was little I used to think I was living in England because everyone spoke English and that we had to learn Irish in school because Ireland had taken over the world, oh what a fool I was.
I heard my mum talking about foreign people, and I later asked, "have you ever been to Foreign?"
I grew up in Estonia, speaking Estonian. When I was nine, my dad moved to Sweden and after about 6 months me, sister and mum went to visit him. I knew that in Sweden people spoke Swedish, so I was convinced that once we'd get off the boat in Sweden and met dad we would all speak Swedish to each other and understand it perfectly. And when we returned to Estonia we would speak Estonian again... When we actually arrived I was very confused as to why we still spoke Estonian and, worse, why I couldn't understand what other ppl around me were saying....
When I was young I used to be amazed when I watched news programmes where someone was being interviewed and you could see dozens of microphones shoved in their face. I thought that each microphone automatically translated the speakers words into a different language so that everyone in the world would be able to understand it!
my friend thought that French was pronounced like English backwards, because we live in Canada, and English is on one side of packaging, and French on the opposite side.
I remember when we had German at school, a boy in my class thought 'Notizen' (notes) was pronounced 'no-tits-then'!!! Hours of laughs when he read it out one day.....!
when I was little, I thought that each foreign language was just a 'code', + you could learn it by finding out which letters represented which. The only foreign word I knew was 'oui', so I had a starting point for learning French:
I was dying to find something writen in French so I could crack more of the code...
When I was a toddler, I had lots of toddler friends who were non-English speakers, but I had no concept of different languages and just thought that they had their own words for things. We all just spoke our own language and listened in eachother's languages. I understood "pass the red crayon" in three languages and had no idea I had language skills.
For the longest time I thought Pig Latin was an actual language that they spoke in a part of Europe.
When i was little i used to think that when a foreign person spoke subtitles would appear, like in a foreign movie or something.
When I was about 8 years old my mom took me to the shoe store. I thought the woman who attended to us talked funny and I asked my mom why. My mom said it was because she had an accent. (She had a French accent). I missheard what she had said. I thought my mom said 'accident' and for years I thought people who talked funny had been in accidents!!
As a child I knew that in Israel the language spoken was Hebrew. Since my exposure to Hebrew was limited to the chanting I heard at Synagogue, I assumed that in Israel people went around chanting to each other all day.
I used to believe that when people wrote in cursive, they were writing in Spanish.