Note: I’m going to start posting done funny cultural or linguistic misunderstanding from my travels (or right here at home in Philly) each day. Most will be language-related, me being a linguist and all, but I’ve definitely had many experience with both.
Sprite on top?
While I was in China, me and my friend Katherine decided to attempt getting ice cream one night, so she decided to try out her Chinese skills at a local McDonalds. She gets to the front and begins to talk in Chinese, describing soft serve in a bowl. As there were many toppings, the woman asks her what she wants: chocolate or sprite.
After lots of pointing and an increasingly confusing situation unfolding out in front if me, I see her point and use the magic words of the non-native speaker: woiya djega (I want that one). Oh how many times did I use that magical phrase? Finally, with me cracking up the background, the woman leaves and brings back ice cream with strawberry topping. Thank goodness it wasn’t Sprite on top…