Easel-y Lost In Translation

| Friendly | May 12, 2015

(I’m on a language exchange in Germany with my class. The mother of the girl I’m staying with is an artist, and the room I’m sleeping in is her studio. I’m an amateur artist as well, and I’m very excited to discover all her painting materials, especially the easel. I try to tell the girl about this. I don’t know the German word for “easel”, but since many words are similar in German and English, I try to guess.)

Me: “Deine Mutter hat einen Esel!” *your mother has an easel*

Girl: “Huh?”

Me: “Es gibt einen Esel in meinem Zimmer.” *there is an easel in my room*

(She looks really confused, so I take her into my room and point at the easel.)

Me: “Guck mal, da ist der Esel.” *look, there is the easel*

(The girl keeps on staring at me and shaking her head in confusion, so I give up. Later, I tell the story to my best friend, who is also on the exchange trip.)

Me: “So I tried to show her the easel, but she didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about.”

Best Friend: “What word did you say you used for ‘easel?'”

Me: “Der Esel, why?”

Best Friend: *laughing uncontrollably* “Esel means donkey. No wonder she was confused. You told her that her mother kept a donkey in your bedroom!”

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