I was flying Lloyd Aereo Boliviano from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to Miami, USA. An announcement had been made about landing cards: US citizens needed only one card, all other nationalities needed two.

A steward walked down the aisle giving cards to the passengers. He asked me: "Are you American?" I replied: "No." I didn't mention my nationality because I had just been told everybody except Americans was going to get two cards; in other words, my nationality was irrelevant.

I certainly don't look South American and I was probably the only European on the aircraft, and thus the steward found it hard to believe I wasn't American. He was used to everybody1 with fair hair and complexion being American, so he said: "What are you, German?" I said: "No, I'm Finnish." The word Finnish wasn't in his vocabulary and he probably thought I said: "I'm finished," and his interpretation of it was that I was getting cute with him, and he gave me only one landing card.

I had to go and get another card at Miami Airport to get through the customs. Emotion: smile

1 Those who want a possessive form for the subject of the gerund should read: He was used to everybody's with fair hair and complexion being American.
Cf. He was used to me/my being late.
1 2
Hi,

1 Those who want a possessive form for the subject of the gerund should read: He was used to everybody's with fair hair and complexion being American.
Cf. He was used to me/my being late.


In my experience. what you'd tend to hear in practice with this slightly awkward sentence approach is He was used to everybody with fair hair and complexion's being American. This treats the phrase as a 'single unit'.

Best wishes, Clive
LOL, that was funny.
You could have said: "Fine, fine, if you don't know what Finns are, then I'm German!" Emotion: wink
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KooyeenYou could have said: "Fine, fine, if you don't know what Finns are, then I'm German!" Emotion: wink
I don't remember what I said, Kooyeen. I probably said nothing. However, his native language was Spanish, so I think it's quite understandable he didn't know the word Finnish. He probably had never seen a Finn before.

I am used to people not knowing words relating to my country or nationality. An American once thought Finland is in the United States.

No one else posts in this thread. I thought people would have had all kinds of misunderstandings communicating in a foreign language. Maybe some native speakers can tell us about incidents when they didn't understand a tourist speaking incorrect English?

Cheers
CB
when i was in canada visiting relatives i said to my aunt i had to go to the bathroom but (probably because i'm dutch) i said bathroom the same as bedroom, i just can't say BATHroom:S , so wenn i went into the house she actually went looking for me in all the bedrooms cause she didn't get what i was going to do there.. it was embarrising.
Floxflowwhen i was in canada visiting relatives i said to my aunt i had to go to the bathroom but (probably because i'm dutch) i said bathroom the same as bedroom, i just can't say BATHroom:S , so wenn i went into the house she actually went looking for me in all the bedrooms cause she didn't get what i was going to do there.. it was embarrising.
Lol... you really had a hard time, Floxflow.....!!
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Let me tell you a funny experience that I had long time ago.
This is not an English-English misunderstanding, but anyway.Emotion: smile

I was a college student at that time.
We had a couple of English conversation classes every Friday afternoon.
At the end of the late afternoon class, our teacher always asked us the same question.
"What are you going to do this weekend?" or "What are your plans for this weekend?"

One day, he asked the students the same question as always.
I said "I am going to Kiryu with my friends."
*** 'Kiryu ' is the name of the Japanese city.

The teacher looked at me with his eyes widened. - It was obvious that he was shocked at what I had said.
I think he asked me back, "Sorry? Again?"
Then my classmate, Mari, who was sitting next to me said to him; "We are going to Kiryu."

Well.....I'm Japanese. To pronounce 'r' sound correctly is reasonably difficult for Japanese people, because we really don't have 'r' sound in the language. So, when Japanese pronounce 'r,' unfortunately it sometimes (or very often) sounds like 'l' sound.
Now you know - Our teacher thought my classmate and I said "We are going to KILL YOU."

No wonder he was staring at us in horror..... who would enjoy such a scary warning right before the weekend!!?Emotion: stick out tongue
Candy Well.....I'm Japanese. To pronounce 'r' sound correctly is reasonably difficult for Japanese people, because we really don't have 'r' sound in the language. So, when Japanese pronounce 'r,' unfortunately it sometimes (or very often) sounds like 'l' sound.
Now you know - Our teacher thought my classmate and I said "We are going to KILL YOU."
That was a good one, Candy! Emotion: big smile More, please!
CB
I once had an interesting experience when I just mispronounced a vowel while decribing the Russian winter at the lesson.

I was decribing the fields with snow on a sunny day and said the following sentence: "Everything is covered with vast sparkling shit (instead of sheet)" and was awarded with a roar of laughter.
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