Saturday, April 25, 2009

Did I Really Say That?

I think it's high time for a funny post, so in an effort to lighten things up I decided to humiliate myself and tell you all of the horrible mistakes I've made in my attempt to learn Afrikaans:

1. Tonight we hosted a braai for some friends of ours. I served vlakoek for dessert (cake with custard filling), but when I served it, I said it was plakoek. "Vla" means custard, but "pla" means to vex, annoy, bother, be a nuisance.

2. In thanking some friends, I meant to tell them that they were angels. I knew the Afrikaans word for angel is "engel", but I didn't know the plural. Ahh... the difference one tiny letter can make! If you add an "e" to the end it becomes "engele" which means angels. I, unfortunately, added an "s" making the word "engels", which means "englishmen"... not an insult, perhaps, but to an Afrikaner it is not exactly endearing.

3. (I saved the best for last) A friend's elderly mother wanted to teach me to cook traditional Afrikaans meals for dinner. I was trying to say that I would like his mother to teach me to cook dinner, but what I actually said was, "Yes, I would like to cook your mother for dinner."


Rian said...

Yes, it's a beautiful, confusing language! I used to teach Americans that if they've enjoyed a meal, the appropriate response is to tell the host: "nou is ek vol, waar kan ek lĂȘ" ("I'm full now, where can I lie down"). Very funny if they fall for it :)

An American in Pretoria said...

Oh, you're mean, Rian! (But that's funny).