Language Mistakes – The Zoo Mishap

Language Mistakes

It was our last weekend in Rotterdam and we had decided to take a break from packing boxes by taking our daughter to the zoo. The day was a great success. Our daughter had a great time running around from animal to animal. We saw big animals, small animals, flying animals, crawling animals and everything in between. Our daughters favorites were the lions, the fishes and the snakes (she is now convinced that every worm is a snake and is not afraid of them at all).

By the end of the day we were all very tired and it was time to go home. We decided to ride the little zoo’s train back to the car park to save us walking. During the ride I spotted an animal that I had not seen yet during the day, a Rhino.

“Oh look.” I exclaimed loudly, “ They even have an…”

I quickly searched my brain, trying to recall of the name of the animal in Dutch. I knew that I knew it but it was eluding me. I could have just finished the sentence in English but I was trying to show off. What was it again?

“… eenhoorn.” I quickly finished when the word suddenly popped into my head.

I heard a couple behind me begin to chuckle immediately. It only took me a second to realize why. I’d got the name wrong. The Dutch name for a Rhino is not eenhoorn. It’s neushoorn.

What I had actually just shouted was, “Oh look. They even have a unicorn.”

14 responses to “Language Mistakes – The Zoo Mishap”

  1. QueQat says:

    Rhino, Unicorn, all the same. They both have one horn, don’t they?

  2. Antoine Borg says:

    And who’s to say you didn’t actually see a unicorn of your own somewhere? Some people can be so judgemental!

  3. Alison says:

    The rhino is a pretty magical beast! Why can’t it be a unicorn? :)

  4. That is funny and cute, love it!

  5. dragonlady says:

    I must go to Rotterdam zoo.

  6. “Come to Rotterdam Zoo. We have unicorns.” That tagline would totally boost attendance.

  7. Shannon says:

    This made me giggle and then when everyone around me at work turned to look, giggle some more! Ha! *snort*

  8. rochejagu says:

    One of my early mistakes in Dutch was telling 30 people at Dutch party (the ring of death) that I still had to pay “de hoer” = “the whore” instead of “de huur” = “the rent”. That got me puzzeled looks until my Dutch girlfriend explained that I had not yet mastered the double U sound in Dutch.

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