Write about a Misunderstanding.

One time I went to visit my friend in Mountain View, but I didn't know where her house was located. She just gave me the address, so I went to a store and I asked for a map and the guy in the store gave me a mop. I told him, "I don't need this. I'm trying to find some place, so I need a map."--Aminadab

I am a barber. One day a customer came in and sat in my chair. I asked him, "Do you like the hair on the side over your ears?" He said, "Yes," so I cut his hair short. After I finished, he wasn't satisfied. He said, "Over your ears means the hair covers the ear." I wonder who is right--him or me.--Bond

I don't know, basically nothing like that happened to me. I always try to find the same language with people, but I remember a funny story which happened to me when I just came to the USA and I had an exam in John Adams school. On the way, I lost my way on the bus. At that time my English wasn't so good, but I had to get to school. So (with my bad English) I had conversations with every bus driver whose bus I took--like 4 or 5, but not only about directions. We spoke about everything, and one of them asked me about marriage. That was a joke, sure, but that was very funny to me. On that day I missed my exam at the school, but anyway I had a lot of good English practice.--Kseniya

When I lived in Japan and Korea, Japanese culture says when you eat noodles, you should make noise. Otherwise, that food is not tasty. But when I was in America, the first time I had noodles with an American coworker, she said, "When you eat any food in America, please don't make noise." I got so embarrassed.--Myung Hee

When I studied in elementary school, at first we were just beginning to learn English. The teacher taught us the word "teacher" for pronunciation. That sound is very similar to the Chinese sound for "bus." I said in Chinese, "There's no bus here, teacher." Suddenly all the classmates laughed. When I remember that, it's so funny.--Paul

When I came to this college for the first time, I remember that our teacher told me a funny misunderstanding. The student was from China and the question was, "What is your name?" The girl said, "What," but the teacher asked angrily, again and again. Her answer was the same, What." Later on, the teacher told her to spell it. She wrote "Wat" and we laughed and I thought it was the same sound as the English word.--Natsenet

When I got here someone asked me what my job was in my country. Then I said that I was a lawyer there. All the people around me smiled a lot and I couldn't understand why. Later they explained to me that I pronounced the word like "liar" and they said, "That's no problem. Lawyers and liars are very close in their activities."--Maria

When I first came to school, I didn't know any words. I didn't know the campus signs. I parked my car on the campus. When I finished I saw a ticket on my car. That was terrible. The sign said "No Student Parking." Then I paid $35.00--Daisy

I have a cat. One day I bought a box of dry cat food and put it in the cabinet in the kitchen. Early the next morning I went to work. My husband woke up late. He went to the kitchen and took the dry cat food and put it in a bowl and poured milk on it and ate it. When I came home he told me, "I didn't like the new cereal."--Lilianna

One day I took my mother-in-law to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. We ordered two dishes. The food came and I started to eat. She asked the waiter for soup because a Chinese restaurant usually gives free soup when you order the lunch special, but the waiter brought the sugar to her because sugar and soup sound the same in Chinese.--Lily

One day I went to Chinatown to buy dim sum, and I told the woman I wanted shrimp dim sum. She looked up at me and ignored me, and I turned red. The restaurant was not too full and I thought, "Is it because I did not pronounce the name well or because they did not understand me?"--Karla

The first year I was in San Francisco, my neighbor's son had his one-year birthday. I bought a baby suit and then I wrote a birthday card and put the suit in a red box and gave it to my neighbor. Then they put the red box in the refrigerator because the red box was from a bakery. On his birthday, they remembered my gift and they opened the box. The box had a suit in it, not food. They were laughing for a few days. They told me they put my gift in the refrigerator. I was laughing too because in China, red is for good luck. I didn't use any wrapping paper on the box.--Du Xi Peng

One time I went to a market and I bought some candy and many cups. Then my cell phone rang. It was my sister making a call to tell me we didn't need the plastic cups. At that time I had paid the money, so I wanted to return the cups. The cashier said, "You took things and paid," and she had my money. That meant she said, "You can't return any of the things." I didn't know what to do in this case and I went home. I ate the candy, but the candy was expired. I was so sad and I made a call to the store and complained.--Lyman

When I was a student in high school, my English teacher taught us the spelling of "window." but two students were talking to each other. They didn't listen to the teacher. Then the teacher asked one student how to pronounce the word "window". The student asked another student, "Where is the word the teacher is asking me?" The student asked the question in Cantonese. (The pronunciation of the word where is bindo in Cantonese.) Then the teacher said, "Good," because the teacher spoke Mandarin and couldn't understand Cantonese.--Yao Xuan

When I just came to the U.S. I got my first job as a nanny, living with a nice American family. My English was very bad, and the lady spoke to me in Spanish. I understood but I couldn't answer because I don't speak Spanish either. I speak Portuguese. I always tried to speak in English, but in the beginning the communication was very hard, with many misunderstandings. One day I was working in the house and I opened the bathroom door and my boss's brother was sitting down on the toilet. He forgot to lock the door. I felt very ashamed about this situation and I went to the living room to see my boss and tell her what happened and I was very nervous. My face was burning and red and I told her I didn't want to work there anymore because I was embarrassed. I spoke too fast and I didn't know how to say this word with a good pronunciation. She thought I said embarazada, which in Spanish means pregnant. She was very surprised with this news, but after a bit of clear conversation about this I understood that she had understood wrong. I explained my mistake, and we both laughed.--Giuliane

I read one story in the newspaper about a man who had a ticket to Australia. He heard an announcement for his flight and he got on his plane. After twenty minutes, he looked out the window and he discovered they were over a desert, but nothing else. He started to get nervous about that and he called a flight attendant. "Excuse me, can you tell me if we are going to Australia?" "Sorry, you should say, "Austria." At the end of the story, that man came to Austria, spent a while, and after that came back to Australia.--Elmira

There was a woman who was a visitor in China about 20 years ago. She studied some Chinese and could say a little bit. One day she went shopping at a small market. She wanted to buy a hen, because Chinese think the meat of a hen is very healthy. It gives so much energy and is very good for people. She didn't say "muji" (female chicken). She told the salesperson, "I want to buy a niuji". (In Chinese the word mu and niu mean the same, female, but "niu" is only for people, not for animals. ) The salesperson said, "What?" Then the woman pointed to herself and said, "Like me." The man understood what the woman wanted to buy. The man gave the hen to the woman.--Wen

When I was living in Istanbul, Turkey, my friend and I were in a restaurant. The waiter came near us and asked the question in Turkish, "Would you like some tea?" However, we thought that he asked, "Are you Chechnian?" I immediately asked him, "How did you know?" The waiter was afraid and he told me, "I just asked, "Would you like some tea?" So I discovered that in the Turkish language, the pronunciation of "Would you like some tea?" and "Are you Chechnian?" is the same.--Abdulla.

This is about a wrestler who went to another country for a competition, but he didn't speak any English. One day somebody asked where he came from, but he couldn't answer. He was very shy, so he was looking for something that had his country's name on it. Finally he found his country's name on the tag of his T-shirt. The next day again somebody asked the same question as before, but this time he was so sure and proud and answered, "Made in...."--Tunga