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Pop Culture

Immigrants and travelers share their funniest language mistakes and it's a riot

Learning the nuances of another language takes time, patience and a great sense of humor.

Language barriers can be frustrating, but also so, so funny.

There are currently close to 7,000 languages being spoken around the world, which is a mind-blowing number since Americans are lucky if they speak two languages fluently. What that means, though, is that no matter where you're from, if you're going to go live in another country or visit for an extended period of time, you'll need to learn a new language.

However, it's not even that simple since even within the same language there can be huge dialect and colloquial differences. Meanings of words can be completely different from place to place, even when the language is technically the same. (Try using the term "fanny pack" in some English-speaking countries and you'll see some heads turn.)

Since we have not yet figured out the universal language thing, all of these linguistic differences make for some humbling and hilarious mix-ups as people try to communicate with and understand one another across language barriers.

This delightful little story from @ivadixit on X is a perfect example:

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SOURCE: KFOR

KFOR Weather Woman Emily Sutton got props from a local Mexican restaurant that was so smitten with her responses to an angry viewer that they offered her free food and margaritas for life.

If you spend enough time on social media, you quickly learn everybody has got an opinion on everything. And most people aren't afraid to voice said opinions, even if they aren't very good.

Of course one could argue there's no such thing as a "good" opinion or a "right" or "wrong" one. I'd argue that if you've got an opinion on something, it should be based on some type of evidence or logic. Perfect example: if you're trying to tell me that Ross from Friends isn't a psychopath, then you clearly haven't seen this video or heard the show without a laugh track.

And if you need an even clearer example of a bad opinion, I offer up Richard Weathers for consideration. He got on local reporter Emily Sutton's case after seeing she delivered a weather broadcast that employed the use of a Spanish translator.

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Do you ever notice that there is beauty to be found in the imperfections of life? That the changes that come with the natural process of growth and decay are something that we should embrace, or even celebrate, instead of fight?

The Japanese have a term for that idea—wabi sabi. A concept that takes a couple dozen words to explain English is summed up in just four syllables in Japanese.

The diversity of human languages can be fun to explore, especially when you come across words or phrases that don't translate directly or that take far more words to describe in your own tongue. There are some things that are named in other languages that we just don't have words for in English.

For instance, here are 14 awesome words that would come in super handy sometimes.

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Family

15 encouraging phrases a Spanish speaker like me would love for you to learn.

Learning these simple yet meaningful phrases could make all the difference in the world.

I'm a 38-year-old bilingual Mexican-American, and I recently came to a very interesting realization about non-Spanish speakers.

I meet a lot of people at work, on the street, and in my community who want to make an effort by speaking my native language. It's great. But often, they default to the same handful of phrases: "Hola," "Buenos días," maybe a "Como está" once in a while.

I was chatting with a co-worker recently about my work as a writer. I could tell he was very proud of me. When our chat ended, he said, "Si se puede!" I thought, "Dammit!"

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