I thought you might find this interesting, Sharon.

----- Message -----
From: "John Q" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 12:32:28 PM
Subject: Re: USAGE: The simplest words foreigners don't know...

Siva Kalyan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Also, “wheat/brown bread” in Japanese.  

The term for wheat bread in French caused me an embarrassing moment once.  I was on vacation in Québec and stopped at a Tim Horton's restaurant for lunch in a rural location outside the usual tourist areas.  You order at the counter there and the menu was bilingual so I assumed they spoke English.  However, not one employee spoke English (or at least would admit to speaking English).  So I switched to French and ordered a chicken sandwich, a side dish and a drink, at which point the lady behind the counter asked me if I wanted "pain intégrale".  I stood dumbfounded, wondering what on earth "integral bread" could be?  Finally as she and the people in the queue behind me grew impatient I humbly asked "Qu'est-ce que c'est pain intégrale?" at which point it was the lady behind the counter who became flummoxed, looking at me like I was a moron, then raising both hands in exasperation and sputtering rapidly in French what I quickly translated as something like "Sir, how do you expect me to explain to you how one makes integral bread?  It's just integral bread!".  To which I replied "Uh, I'm sorry...I just don't understand."  Finally, some guy about three places back in the queue behind me rescued me by impatiently shouting out in English "She's asking you if you want wheat bread!"  Needless to say, I ended up ordering the meal to go rather than eating in which had been my original intention.

-- John Q.