Category Archives: mistakes

More Poo Than I Ever Knew: A Failure To Differentiate

8 August 2014, TV = 841.6 hours

I’ve updated the previous post with some corrections and an explanatory note, after a reader pointed out that I’d mistakenly used the same word for both ชมพู่

image retrieved from continued…

Woeful Transliteration #2: A Tale Of Two Poos

5 August 2014, TV = 840.5 hours


[Note: I’ve  added strikethrough corrections and comments in square brackets to address a mistake I’d made, see footnote 2 below for the full explanation].

Well, I don’t think this is civet coffee (which anyway I’ve no desire to try).

From my perspective as an English-speaker, however,  there’s even worse: continued…

Terms Of Endearment

2 May 2014, TV = 755.1 hours

blushing Facebook emoticon, from

Ummmmm…I said WHAT?!?

While writing up Tuesday’s post I reread Stan Carey’s piece on pseudotranslations. Some of the commenters recalled mispronouncing words in a way that had grossly altered the meaning of what they were trying to say, and in some cases the resulting language was sexual or even obscene. continued…

A Really, Really Big House Of Bees

29 April 2014, TV = 746.1 hours

They've got some big-assed beehives in Chonburi! That's the office guy's hand on the left; to give some idea of scale, he's holding up a 5 baht piece – roughly the size of a US quarter.

They’ve got some big-assed beehives in Chonburi! That’s the office guy’s hand on the left; to give some idea of scale, he’s holding up a 5 baht piece – roughly the size of a US quarter.

Some of my mistakes in Thai happen when I hear what I thought I was going to hear instead of what was actually said. In other words, my perceptions sometimes get shaped by my preconceptions.

Yesterday I went to my building’s office to pay the rent. They happen to have a giant beehive on display there, probably about a meter across. I’ve always been curious about it, so to make a little small talk I commented on it and then asked what it was called in Thai. continued…

So, What Language Are We Speaking?

22 January 2014; AT5 = 1063 hours; total class time = 2001 hours; TV = 483.6 hours

Like a lot of simple transactions, it was almost wordless – and could, in fact, have been conducted entirely without spoken language. continued…