Every expat blog should offer an occasional thought on the faux pas, because it’s what we strangers in a strange land do best . . . or at least most regularly.
So I’ll open the conversation with my misstep of the week (so far). Yesterday, I was in my German language class, plodding along and trying to learn a few things. By the way, I’ve changed classes: no more sitting by Paul Newman’s twin (so sad), but I do really like my new teacher (a very elegant older German man). We were reviewing some useful phrases for eating out–something I fancied I knew a little about. The teacher asked what the word for appetizer was. I boldly hollered out “Vorspiele!” What I meant to say was “vorspeise”– the word for appetizer literally means before (vor) the meal (speise).
But my teacher nearly fell off the side of his desk laughing. . . and I knew, immediately, what my mistake was. Instead of “speise,” I said “spiele.”
“Spielen” means “play.”
Yep, I’d enthusiastically shouted out “Foreplay!”
All in a day’s work for an expat.