Try to Pay Someone a Compliment…


Language misunderstandings still do occur occasionally, in case you mistakenly assumed I’d reached perfection in my other language (ha!).

Just the other day a guy came and ordered a coffee and he was wearing this really cool carved rams head on a leather necklace. I don’t know how to say “pendant” in dutch so I just said, “Dat is tof” (that is cool). But I no longer talk like a text book so I said something closer to “da’s tof”. Because contractions make you sound much more native.

And the guy looked at me all confused like, so I repeated myself and pointed at the rams head.
And then he said in kind of questioning tone, “stof?”

Which means “dust” in dutch.

So yeah, here I was, trying to tell him his pendant was really cool and he thought I was pointing at hime and saying “that’s dust.”

Really, you try to pay someone a compliment and they think you’re saying dust. Teaches me to stretch outside the boundaries of “do you want milk or sugar in the coffee?”


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