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Mishearing what someone said

  1. Jan 12, 2008 #1
    Have you any funny stories about what you thought someone had said and what they actually did say?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2008 #2

    I moved to the Netherlands a few months ago - everyone here speaks fantastic English, but occasionally my creative grasp of metaphor or rapid delivery produce surprising responses....

    I was chatting with my new officemate and I asked him "do you have siblings?" He looked a little taken-aback but said "er, no, it's just me right now". I thought this was a strange response, but I didn't think too hard about it and proceeded to blather about my family and where they live. After a little while my officemate finally said "did you ask me if I have brothers and sisters?" Turns out he's the youngest of five..... I finally decided that he must have heard me ask "are you single?" instead of "do you have siblings?"
  4. Jan 12, 2008 #3


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    I have to read lips and listen at the same time, if there's any kind of background sound (can't do either by itself). No stories to relate in that regard, though, since there was no amusement factor (just mishearing names or such). On a similar, but totally hijacking, vein:
    My friend was on an Ag exchange in Australia for a year. The farmer family that he lived with were pretty cool, but a bit 'proper' (of course, compared to him a warthog is proper). So one day he was searching for a particular tool to work on the machine that he was fixing, and the lady of the house came out and asked what he was doing. His perfectly natural response was, "I'm just rootin' around in the toolbox here to find a wrench." The woman turned a strange shade of pink and hustled back into the house.
    Apparently 'rooting' means something different in Oz than it does in Canada. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2008
  5. Jan 12, 2008 #4
    THen why would he say "err no, its just me right now" ?
  6. Jan 12, 2008 #5


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    He was trying to figure out whether or not his hand counted... :uhh:
  7. Jan 13, 2008 #6
    Indeed, it appears that most Dutch do speak English well, however this ability is mostly rather shallow, limited to school education and reading subtitles of the TV series. Also in Dutch, there is no equivalent for the word "siblings", you'd have to go with "brothers and sisters". Therefore, it's more likely that his hearing is fine but he did not understand the question and gave it his own interpretation.

    Try to work with Italians, Germans, Czech and Slowaks. :confused:
  8. Jan 13, 2008 #7


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    I asked if I could have the last donut at work and my coworker called me a "goathead" for no reason at all. :grumpy:

    That probably wasn't reason enough to ask, "Did you want double-sided or single-sided copies?" as I dropped her report into the shredder. Just chucking the donut at her probably would have been sufficient, and would have left me feeling less guilty when I realized she actually said, "Go 'head."
  9. Jan 13, 2008 #8
    Haha, that's hilarious. I would be so :redface::rofl: after that.
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