Ah, the Language Barrier

It is either a blessing or a hindrance, right? I must admit that while I am eager to perfect the Italian language, and Pep is pretty darn smarto in inglese, the language barrier is one more obstacle we fight to overcome.

Sometimes, it works in your favor.

“So-in-so is soooo stupid!”

What, you are mad I said that?

“Well, stupid isn’t really that strong a word in English, darling….”


This doesn’t work so well with music. Case in point…”Candy Man” by non other than the lovely miss Christina Aguilera.

Have any of you ever listened to these words??

Well, I have.

You can imagine my surprise when my 9-year-old studentessa pops in a CD and announces that her dance teacher taught them a dance to this song. She makes her performance – loudly bellowing the lyrics as her mom smiles and tells me proudly, “She is so smart in English. She knows all of the words!”

He’s a one stop shop, makes the panties drop
He’s a sweet-talkin’, sugar coated candy man

da da da da

He’s a one stop shop, makes my cherry pop
He’s a sweet-talkin’, sugar coated candy man oh

da da da da da

I sat by, in silent embarrassment, as she completed her act, and nodded in agreement as her mommy complimented her language skills. Ya think I shoulda told her?

14 Responses
  1. Nadine

    Dang…that’s a hard one. Those words are really bad…I guess if she stays in Italy and away from English speaking people, she’ll be okay.

    How well do you know the mother? If I had favor with her, I would have told her, but if I didn’t know her very well, I might not.

  2. Cherrye

    Hey Nadine. First things first. What are you doing up so late?? It is 9 AM in Italy – what time is it in Washington State??

    But, one reason I didn’t tell the mom is because I don’t quite know how to say those things in Italian. Also, I didn’t want to say it in front of the kiddo.

    She and her husband are fairly “strict” with their kids about curfews, etc…she’d probably want to know?!?

  3. sognatrice

    Um, yeah, just thinking about explaining cherries popping to an Italian mother of a 9-year-old is giving me hives.

    Instead, I think you should take a full translation of the lyrics to the dance teacher–with your business card attached đŸ˜‰

  4. Ambra Celeste

    Yeah, I’m with you. I can’t even imagine trying to translate those words to someone I didn’t know, and then trying to explain the cherry-pop thing. Cringe. It would be too embarassing. This one is right up there with the crass English words that are printed on little girl’s swimsuits here, and t-shirts, that I imagine the parents would be horrified to understand.

  5. Calabrisella

    Ciao! tanto tempo
    …i have similar problem with Nico and my cusins… sometimes he wont understand what i mean, even if it is in English… and with miei cugini in Italia …they’ll sing along to things, that i wouldn’t even think of repeating outloud….hehehe..

  6. Farfallina - Roam 2 Rome

    Yes, I definitely know about language barriers in a relationship!

    Now, “the Viking” and I speak to each other in Italian, but his native language is Norwegian and mine are English and Spanish! đŸ™‚

    Many times we do have to ask “what do you mean by…”

    Regarding the mom, I would have been out of words!

  7. american girl in italy

    OK, this past summer my 7 year old niece was walking around singing the song right after Candyman on my CD. (her mom has the same one at home, so she didn’t learn them from me, but she did hear them.) The song is Nasty Naught Boy – and she was singing about *the sugar below her waist*. That is when I realised I needed to stop playing the dc while she was here. YIKES!

  8. Cherrye

    G – yikes. I would kill over if she sang that!!

    Sogn – that is a good idea. Very funny. You are right – there is no explaining that.

    Maryann – I was actually shocked and embarrased! It was very uncomfortable.

    Ambra – speaking of – why doesn’t someone check grammar or even to make sure what they are writing MAKES SENSE before they print shirts? I saw one yesterday that said

    “If You Rich, I’m Available”


    Kathleen – thanks for the advice. You’re a mom. Would you want to know?!? OR, is ignorance really bliss?

    Piccola – thanks!! That would be really funny. “You uh, have your kids dancing to porn!! Call me.”

    Calabria – I am sure I have sang along with French and Italian songs wihtout really understanding, but still…

    Farfallina – Ya’lls is even worse! Neither one of your native languages!

    Have you heard the song, Erin? The beat is great. I assume that is why the teacher chose it. But, yea, she should have at least googled the text or something.

    American Girl – Oh no! I haven’t heard the other songs…ha ha

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