Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why It Is Important to Learn Foreign Languages

Once in Montreal, a friend from Spain and I saw a shiny new BMW stop in front of us. A very chic lady got out. She was wearing a fur-coat, super high heels, and carrying a Birkin bag. Her hairstyle was elaborate and expensive, and her jewelry didn't look cheap either. 

My friend and I, however, were more impressed by the license plate of her car that said: "FEA 976." "Fea" means "ugly" in Spanish. The poor person had unwittingly become the laughing stock of a city with a huge Spanish-speaking population.

This is one of the many reasons why learning foreign languages is a good idea.


Steve Hayes said...

I was once at a gathering of Dominees from the Dutch Reformed Church and a Russian bishop, with the Russian ambassador and a couple of others. The dominees giggled like naughty schoolboys every time the Russians said "kak", which means "shit" in Afrikaans.

Spanish prof said...

The wife of my husband's uncle, who lives in Houston, is a proud member of MENSA, and has a licence plate that says MENSA 658. For those who do not speak Spanish, MENSA means "dumb" in Spanish.

Tim said...

I remember Ford having problems marketing the Kuga in eastern europe because Kuga means pest in slovene and serbo-croation.

Clarissa said...

I think that collectively we will soon come up with a great booklet promoting the study of foreign languages. :-)