During my time in Holland I have taken a few Dutch courses in an attempt to learn the local language. During one of these courses the teacher decided it would be fun for the class to play scrabble. Obviously playing scrabble in English would not have been very educational so we were required to play the game in Dutch.
Trying to learn a new language is already very difficult at the best of times but trying to come up with words you don’t know from a new language you don’t know while using a random selection of letters seemed almost impossible.
However, when we started the game I somehow managed to identify a Dutch word hidden within my random assortment of letters. Unfortunately for me it was not a word I felt very comfortable putting down.
During my first couple of turns I tried to ignore it in the hope that a better word would come up but as I accumulated more letters it was still the only word I could identify. When the Dutch teacher started to insist that I must have a word “by now” I decided there was nothing for it but to put the word down.
The teacher (who was female) paused. A few students sniggered.
“Can you say the word?” The teacher asked a few seconds later, trying to keep it educational.
“Umm… Hoer.” I had to answer embarrassingly.
“And do you know what it means in English?” She asked.
There was another awkward pause and some more giggles.
My brain could have picked any manner of politically correct ways of describing the words meaning but it had decided that I was on my own and the first thing that jumped out of my mouth was, “whore?”
Damn you brain.
“Prostitute! I mean prostitute!” I quickly corrected myself before it sounded like I was calling the teacher names.
Another awkward pause. More giggling.
Without saying a word the teacher took a look at the other letters I had available. “You can make it into a different word you know.” She informed me after some thought.
“Oh.” I expressed as I looked at my letters and tried to see it for myself or any other word that would get me out of this embarrassing situation before I permanently labeled myself as the guy with the one track mind.
After a few more awkward moments she decided to put me out of my misery and show me by putting the letters down herself.
(A group of prostitutes)
“It’s a higher letter score.” She informed me.
Later I realized I could have put down horen (meaning to hear something) but she was right. It was not worth as much as a group of prostitutes.