I have no idea what got me started on this topic, but I find language differences fascinating. Further, I’m over the moon that I know enough Spanish (ie: a smattering) to even be able to identify my many mistakes, then laugh at them.
This one is really more about pronunciation than spelling. Writing and speech are related yet distinct skills. I actually find speech to be both more challenging and more entertaining, because there’s really no way to fix it, or double-check as you go. You just kind of jump in with both feet and hope for the best.
The setting: A car wash, owned by a hardworking, Spanish-speaking family.
The characters: A woman I know (perhaps myself, it’s anybody’s guess), and some guys.
A woman drives up to a car wash and tells the guy collecting money that she wants The Works, the most expensive wash at 12 bucks. The guy’s not really picking up the speed-talkin’ lady’s English, so she tries again, this time using her Spanish-speaking skillz.
The lady: Yo quiero doce dolores.
The man surprises the woman by laughing hysterically. She tries again, only illiciting more laughter from the guy, and now his compatriots. She leaves the car and goes inside, to the main counter.
Main-counter-guy speaks slightly more English than check-in-outside guy. She tells him which wash she wants, pays, then tries her skillz a third time.
Once main-counter-guy calms down and wipes away the tears caused by laughing so hard, he explains that, in Spanish, the words for “dollar” and “pain” sound very similar. So, rather than telling outside-guy she’d wanted the most expensive wash for her car, she’d actually asked for twelve pains.
Mexas nurses and EMTs think this story is hilarious.