August 01, 2005

You are with this?

It is funny how there are things we've never even noticed, never even thought of, until an outsider makes it clear to us.
A funny and meaningless incident took place when I was standing in line at the grocery store on my lunchbreak today. The young man who was standing in front of me in the line had a bag from the snackbar, which sells things like peanuts, dried fruits, etc. It was obvious by his appearance that he was not local, so the guy by the cash register spoke to him in English:

Salesperson: You are with this?
Foreigner: Excuse me?
S: You are with this?
F: What??
S: YOU.. are with THIS (pointing at the bag from the snackbar).

I stood there listening to this conversation. I translated "you are with this?" into Icelandic in my head. It becomes "þú ert með þetta?", meaning "do you have that", although the translation would literally be "you are with this".
I explained this to the tourist. He thanked me, and said he was getting very confused, and said that he did not know what the salesman had wanted!

So it is funny, how organising ones words wrongly can be the cause of such confusion.

Posted by Maria at August 1, 2005 11:01 PM | TrackBacks
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"You are with this" reminds me of a time, on a Friday of a holiday weekend when I lived in Maryland in the US and was on the way from Washington DC where I attended Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf... another deaf person I was talking to got off the bus before my stop & said in sign language "look tomorrow"... I did not get what he said, he fingerspelled it & spelled "looking tomorrow"... talked to another friend & finally realized he meant "looking forward to tomorrow"... I thought he was trying to say "SEE you tomorrow"... Yes, words can be confusing!!

Posted by: Jessica at August 2, 2005 05:45 AM Permalink