08 February 2013

Sorry Mrs. L

Sometimes language difficulties are funny.  Sometimes, not so much.  Recently, I had one of those not-so-much events.

First off, a bit of language explanation.  The words for hot and cold in Croatian are:  toplo (hot), hladno (cold).  I don't have trouble remembering toplo because they have these toplo springs here (hot springs) and the word toplo just naturally sticks in my brain as hot/warm.

But hladno is another story.  In my brain, I associate hladno with hot.  No matter what, there it is.  I think it is because in English, we don't have too many words starting with the letter 'h' and hot is one of those words.  Also, whenever you see a water tap in English, they'll have an 'h' for hot, and a 'c' for cold.  So again the 'h' means hot for me.

So, a few weeks ago, my kindly, nicest, friendliest neighbour, Mrs. L, came by for a quick visit and I made us some coffee.  I personally like to drink my espresso with a little extra hot water and I always ask people if they want extra water in their coffee.  Mrs. L said she'd love some, please...but some hladno water.  So, I went off and poured extra boiling water in her coffee.  And she, thinking I had added extra cold water to cool the coffee,  took a huge slurp.  And just about had a heart attack.

I was mortified to my soul.  Poor Mrs. L was very gracious about it, but it was just one of those moments that drives home how very important it is to learn, understand, and be aware of this language in a more fluent way.  I'm getting there (not as fast as I'd like, but I'm going in the right direction). 

I just gotta figure out how to remember that hladno is cold.  Somehow.


Kat said...

Try thinking of that noise you can make when shivering, kind of like 'h-h-h-h-h-h-hladno!' See if that helps :)
/end language teacher mode...

Gabriella said...

Oh, I'll try that!