January 2008


…cream with that?

I have lots of problems learning foreign languages.

The problems center around two issues: First, I have a terrible memory when it comes to words and the like. It takes me 50 to 100 repetitions of new words before they start to penetrate my consciousness, and then another 1,000 repetitions before I actually know the word.

Secondly, because I am such a stickler about word meanings in English, I am terrified that when I say something in German, I am going to say something that is not specific in the way I want it to be specific.

Thanks to CQ and his Christmas present, How to say Fabulous” in 8 Different Languages, I realized last night that I’ve been sticking my foot in my mouth in German since I moved here—but thanks to the fact that the Weimar Office (still) does not stock Soy Milk, the situation could have been a lot worse.

Soy Decaf LatteA few months ago when I was at a Coffee Culture shop in Erfutrt, I made my standard order: “Ich hatte gerne ein Latte mit soya milch.” The woman behind the counter sought clarification: was that a Café Latte or a Latte Macchiato.

It seemed a bit odd to me because in my experiences when you order a “Latte” you want a Café Latte; if you order a “Macchiato” you get a Latte Macchiato.

Now it seems that maybe she was amused at what I was ordering because much to my great surprise I learned that “die Morgenlatte” was not somebody’s standard order at a coffee shop: “My morning latte, please”.

No, Morning plus Latte, combined into one word, “Morgenlatte” becomes Morning Wood.

Gives me a whole new concept to cream with that first cuppa Joe.

5 comments to …cream with that?

  • I’m glad the book has cum in handy for you. Especially correcting your faux pas of morning wood. The poor lady at the shop must have been looking at you and thinking, “dumb American…”

  • adam, i am still laughing about that one. thank you so much for letting me help you out. more of this, please. and also please, don’t be affraid of using your leaned german, be more confident, there is never anything wrong in trying to speak a foreign language.
    you should feel more proud, that you actually can speak another language than your mother tongue.
    i like your german!


  • Ha, ha! I had the same problem when I first got to Germany. “Latte” margarine still makes me giggle. Yes, I am 30 and not 13.

  • @CN: 🙂

    @CQ: I have similar thoughts when I see Americans, so its only fair that it is applied to me.

    @Chica: Danke… Mein Deutsch is besser und besser jeden tag. Du bist eine grosse (reason for this). 🙂

    @Claire: I’m with you… I think if my regular coffee shop had soy milk, I would have probably learned this sooner, but because they don’t I am severely limited in what I can order to drink!