1. Needing a word in one language but only being able to think of it in the other.
“What’s the name of that little thing that lives in Australia? It’s ‘ornithorynque’ in French, what is it in English?”
2. Accidentally speaking the wrong language.
“Yes, do you have a question?”
“Oui, savez-vous où… sorry.”
3. Having to speak in one language after you haven’t used it in ages.
“I just came ba- oh, in French? Umm… Je, euh, je viens de passer mes vacances à, euh, c’est-à-dire en Australie où, euh, où j’ai vu un platyp- un ornithorynque.”
4. “Ooooh! Say something in [insert language here]!!!”
Um, okay. “Va t’en, s’il te plaît.” GO AWAY.
5. “OMG! Teach me [insert language here]!”
Okay, do you have several years to spare? ‘Cause I sure don’t.
6. “Will you pleeeease do my [insert language here] homework? Since you’re an expert and all.”
A) No B) NO C) NO
7. Being the automatic translator whenever anything in your language is present: people, films, books, the translations of nutrition facts on food labels, etc…
Do you really need me to tell you that “hydrates de carbone” means “carbohydrates?” Is this really something you need reinforced?
8. Having people assume that, since you know one foreign language, you can therefore help them with any given language, no matter what it is.
“You need my help? Okay, well I don’t speak Spanish… No, it doesn’t matter than Spain and France are next to each other. The languages are not the same.”
9. Accidentally changing language mid-sentence.
“I saw this guy on Friday night, et il était le plus bel homme du monde, il était tellement magni- damn it, sorry.”
10. Autcorrect. Just, autocorrect.
OH MY GOD. ACTUALLY THE WORST.
This is what happens when you type English into a French keyboard. It’s mayhem.
11. Trying to tell really funny jokes from one language and having them fall flat because the humor gets lost in translation.
“It’s really funny, I swear it is! No, like, seriously! I promise!”
12. Thinking something through in one language and then having to say it in the other.
“Hold on, let me translate my thoughts real quick…”
13. Reading one language as if it were the other and being totally confused when it makes no sense.
“This is absolute gibberish!!… OH, it’s in English. Never mind.”
14. When you try to impress someone with your bilingualism but they couldn’t care less.
“Well, heyyy there! What’s your sign- or, should I say, quel est votre signe? Oh, not interested? That’s cool. Just walk away now.”
15. Anything to do with accents: sounding American when you speak your foreign language, sounding foreign when you speak English, getting accents mixed up, etc. It’s a struggle.
“Ah, crap- did I really just do a guttural ‘R?’ I’m not speaking French right now! What am I doing??”
16. When you visit wherever your “foreign” language is spoken and can’t understand a single word of any of the slang.
It’s not the same between countries. Slang is not is universal.
17. When someone thinks they speak your language perfectly even though they only had, like, one semester of it in high school but they insist on using it anyways and it’s awful.
“Uh huh, what you just said actually makes no sense, and half of it was just American words said with an accent.”
18. Accidentally trying to use foreign words in Scrabble/Words with Friends.
“But it’s worth so many poooooiiinntttssss.” 😦 😦 😦
19. Getting grammar rules mixed up.
The English sentence is ‘Oh yea, I saw him there when I bought that.’ In French, you say ‘Oui, je l’y ai vu quand je l’ai acheté.’ Direct translation? ‘Yes, I he there saw when I it bought.’ Now YOU try to not get that shit mixed up when switching languages.
20. Knowing the subtitles for foreign-language characters in films are horribly wrong.
“Yea, he didn’t just say ‘Put the money in the bag, bitch.’ He said, ‘Give me the duck and crackers, son.’”
21. IDIOMS. They never translate between languages, and languages don’t really share idioms.
“Vous avez le cul bordé de nouilles?* Oh my god, are you okay? Oh… another damn idiom. Sorry.”
*This is a real idiom that literally means “to have an ass lined with noodles.” The idiomatic meaning? “To be lucky.” Yea, I don’t get it either.