Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Language Trouble: Body Language

The other day there were plenty of tourists coming to our store. Not all of them speak decent English, so sometimes I had to resort to using body language. Here are two incidents that I consider pretty memorable he he...

A couple of middle-aged tourists came to the cashier, paid for their stuff, then the woman asked me in broken English, "Excuse me, can I ask you something?"

I said, "Sure, go ahead."

She said, "Do you have ummm...cheese? But not regular cheese."

At that point the man was making gestures, so I turned to look at him. He was making two horns by putting up two forefingers on both sides of his head. I was trying hard to understand, but couldn't really think of anything just yet. I was wondering if they were looking for some cheese spread, but then she picked up a packet of cheese spread and then asked again, "Not this kind. But..."

Then the guy showed the same gesture, but this time he let out some bleating sound (like a lamb). 

Then it hit me..."Oh, you're looking for goat cheese!!!" HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...What a revelation!!!

The second incident that day happened when an old lady with almost on English ability came to the cashier. She paid for her stuff, then asked in her native language "bla bla bla bla bla bla...clock clock."

At first I thought she wanted to know the time, so I showed her my wristwatch, but she shook her head and continued to ramble in her native language "bla bla bla bla bla..."

I was silent for a few seconds, then it hit me...maybe she wanted to know what time the store closed that day, so I put up six fingers to show her (because on Saturdays we're closed at 6 pm). Satisfied with what I showed her, she said, "Ahhhhh bla bla bla bla bla..." Then she said thank you in her native language and left. 

Phew!!! Sure would be much easier if I could speak many different kinds of languages, but sometimes you've just gotta rely on body language and guesswork HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...


  1. I guess sign language is universal! Imagine if we communicated like this all the time? It would be exhausting!

    1. Yep, THANK GOODNESS for sign language in times of need, but yeah, it's exhausting indeed. :-)

  2. at first time I met hubby, we used some body language too because my English is not too perfect :D

    1. I did that a lot with my MIL 'coz she doesn't speak English and at that time I didn't speak Finnish he he...