Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A language loaded with booby traps

Oooh, learning Bosnian is treacherous.

I sent a note to a staffer today in simple Bosnian or so I thought. It referred to a man with the last name Karan. However, I inadvertently left off the last letter turning a name into slang for a prodigious member. A smug bilingual colleague wondered if I had learned Bosnian for "sexual harassment" yet.

But my friend Jane told us the absolute best Bosnian booby trap story I've ever heard.

She was new to the language then and went into a supermarket eager to order her own dinner of chicken breasts.

"Hocu jednu kilogramu pile sise, molim vas," she said in her confident, clear executive's tone.

The store went immediately silent and like that EF Hutton commercial everyone in the place seemed to be staring at her.

As Bosnian readers already know, she'd just asked for 2.2 pounds of chicken tits.

(The correct way to order, she has since learned is: "Jedna kilograma piletina bijela (or prsa)."

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