Multilinguals, what’s the funniest thing you’ve overheard when someone assumed you don’t speak their language?

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My parents left Hungary in 1956 during the Uprising and eventually came to England via Austria. English was therefore their third language, and they used to go to the cinema to try to learn English. In one cowboy film, there was a scene with some American Indians sitting on horses and supposedly talking to eachother in their native language. But they were actually talking to eachother in Hungarian. One said he was tired of sitting on the horse because his bum hurt, and the other told him to stop moaning and just think of the money.


I live in Sweden but we speak Russian in my family. Once there was this really big, loud, macho Russian guy in my class. He was one of the troublemakers at school and wouldn’t listen to any teacher. Then, one day I overheard him talking to his mom on the phone (in Russian), and his attitude had done a complete 180. He was super sweet, gentle and respectful. It was pretty funny, especially knowing that he’d be in complete denial if others found out.


So I’m Jewish, but I lived in an Arab country (where my family originally came from) so I speak perfect Arabic. I was waiting for my friend and 2 Arab guys who were sitting close to me kept talking about how attractive they found me and how they wanted to get my number etc. When my friend showed up, they were shocked and were like oh shit she’s Jewish! No I would never go out with a dirty Jew and other offensive stuff like that (my friend was wearing a skullcap and we were talking in Hebrew so it was clear that we’re Jewish), I looked them dead in the eye and I said in perfect and accent free Arabic “so you’ve been talking about how attractive I am for ages that you’ve given me a headache and now I’m a dirty Jew?”. To say they were horrified would be NOTHING compared to how their faces looked like.


I can speak pretty well 3 languages and reasonably understand other 2, while on holidays in Europe, more specifically France, I overheard this Italian girl pretty mad at an French asshole and called him out loud in Italian “An anal abortion from a cow with down syndrome” couldn’t stop laughing for around 5 minutes, at the term or her confused face starring at me.


My family is Japanese, so I speak Japanese, but I was born and raised in the US, so I have accent-free English too. While visiting Japan with my cousin, we’d speak English to each other on the train and people just stare at us amazed we were so ‘good’ at it. We ran into some expats one night trying broken Japanese pick up lines on us and one said to his friend in English ‘These bitches are dumb, just tell them you love them and let’s get to the hotel.’ My cousin responded in English with ‘Y’all too basic for us. Move along little boys.’