Kinky Medical Equipment?

, , , , | Working | April 8, 2020

(Dutch has a couple of vowel sounds which may sound similar to a foreigner, but to us are distinctly different, like [ship] and [sheep], for example. I’m volunteering for a dance festival which draws an international crowd, and I get talking — in English — with a Polish volunteer. She tells me she knows some Dutch words like [good morning], [bread], [cheese], and [goodbye]. Oh, and also [word #1].)

Me: “Why did you learn that word?”

Volunteer: “Well, I used to work for [Electronics], which is a Dutch company.”

Me: “You must have had interesting coworkers.”

Volunteer: “No, it’s because of all the medical equipment.”

Me: “Um… I’m not sure I understand?”

Volunteer: “Well, I worked in the finance department.”

Me: *blank look*

Volunteer: “A lot of that stuff is big and expensive, like CAT-Scans”

Me: “I really don’t see the connection.”

Volunteer: “Well, we would rent them out and I would see the bills which were sometimes in Dutch.”

Me: *very long pause* “Oh, hang on! Did you mean [word #2]?! Which means ‘rent’?”

Volunteer: “Yes! [Word#1]!”

(I’m starting to crack up.)

Volunteer: “Wait, what did you think I said?”

Me: “[Word #2] means ‘rent’. You pronounced it like [word #1] which means–” *cough* “–’person who provides adult services’!”

(She turned a bit red but could laugh about it. The next day I was with some friends of hers and we ended up giving each other short lessons in language to prevent further confusion.)

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