English is the easiest language to speak badly – George Bernhard Shaw


Every time I try to speak to someone in Arabic, there are 3 possible responses: “Can you stick to English?”, “It’s cute that you try so hard”, or uncontrollable laughter.

That being said, a conversation in English with certain Saudi-based colleagues occasionally yields the same results as speaking to furniture. (disclaimer: I actually like these people and mean the above statement in the nicest possible way)

“Hey buddy, what does ‘Aziza’ refer to?”
“yes dear it is aziza”
“Yeah but what does it mean?”
“it is arabic word dear”
“I know it’s an Arabic word. That’s why I’m asking for a translation”
“Okay dear thanks for asking”

As bewildered as the conversation left me, at least I can chalk it up to a language barrier. My college roommates, both native English speakers, once had a conversation that went something like this:

“My plant seems to be dying.”
“I think I’m going to buy a new lamp for my room.”
“I don’t understand why. I water it all the time.”
“Honestly, I hate how dark my room is.”
“Should change the plant food I use?”
“I think maybe 2 lamps might solve things.”

5 minutes into their conversation I was the one questioning if I understood the language.