I Can’t Believe She Said That … and other funny things in Calabria

Remember that Italian class I signed up for a few weeks ago? Well, I am happy to report that not only am I conjugating previously-unknown verb tenses and writing summaries of Italian love stories, but I’m also getting a notebook-full of funny memories. And that my friends, converts to blog posts for you.

Last week I got to class a few minutes early and started chatting with some of my advanced-level classmates. Just then, from the far side of the classroom-where the beginning-level class meets-I heard, “Hey, America! Chicklets!” I turned to see young Precious, a recent Nigerian immigrant smiling at me and holding out her hand. For gum.

We started class by forming plurals and changing genders-easy stuff for an advanced class, I know, but that is another topic. We started our list …

Amico=Amica (friend)

Marito=Moglie (husband/wife)


Just then, my Brazilian classmate started laughing. “Do you know what I used to say,” she asked. “La fratella! Ha. How embarrassing!”

We laughed with her and continued the lesson. A few minutes later, it was my turn to blush. Making plurals …

Gatto=Gatti (cat/cats)

Casa=Case (house/houses)


Who me? “Uhm… tette?”

A burst of laughter.

“Oh no, cara,” our teacher said. “Don’t ask the contractors to work on your tette. Your husband might not like that.”

About an hour later we had a break and I overheard the retired Russian doctor berating the young Brazlian housewife. “You can’t drive,” she told her. “I saw you at the traffic circle the other day. You drive too close to the car in front of you.”

Shocked-and slightly embarrassed-the Brazilian admitted that yes, she does indeed drive fast. “But,” she added. “I’ve never had a car accident.”

Our teacher, not realizing anyone was watching, took a quick scan of the room and touched her left “tetta.” You know, to protect herself from any possible curse the Brazilian had sent into the room by boasting her perfect driving record.

I’m loving my class, not only for the lessons, but for the crazy stuff like this. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up! But what about you? What are some of the funniest things you’ve heard in your foreign language classes-or rather, what are some of your funniest mistakes?

5 Responses
  1. Funny but what does touching that area have to do with bad luck?

    When I try to speak French I make many mistakes including making thing male when they are suppose to be female. OOPS
    Kind of like, knocking on wood… women touch their left boob, the men touch their, uhm … manhood.
    Name’s last blog post..To Boldly Go . . .

  2. Anon

    I seem to frequently pronounce ani instead of anni. Quite a difference!
    Oh God! I do, too. I actually told someone once that I have 29 ani. Vergogna!

  3. Riley Debenham

    Some broadcasters prefer to present animated humor as antiquated humor in an attempt to prompt public interest to turn in the direction of the animated humor cartoon programs that center on wizardly deeds and demons that threaten the total existence of the human race. Some of these characters act stupid enough to cause world destruction but are in no way the animated humor we have all come to know and love through the years.:`:..


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