|By Hintha - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11570695|
Anyways, here comes the turn. The 'interesting bit', if I may be so bold as to say. I was recently booking some tickets from a French website. French happens to be the language I am most fluent in, after my mother tongue. However, the verbs alone in the usually habitual process of online shopping were alien to me. My school-taught stuff didn't cover the essential units of what I was grappling with. I made a couple of educated guesses, based on what I thought would be the etymologies of the unfamiliar words, because it's reasonable to think that a word that looks very similar to one you know would have a similar meaning, right? Well, after checking with a translator (and a good friend of mine who's a language whizz), I found out I was wrong with most of my attempts.
There were three phrases I stumbled on quite badly. "Ajouter au panier" was the first. I thought it meant 'return to something'. I was confident of 'ajouter', but didn't know what 'panier' meant. It turns out 'ajouter' means 'to add' - so I was wrong on that - and 'panier' is 'basket'. As someone who has grown up around bike enthusiasts, I should have known this, as it's so similar to 'panniers' - only one letter away, indeed - the bags bikers use on the back of their behicles. Second phrase was "je continue mes achats." If I'd thought about this a bit more straightforwardly, the 'je continue' bit must mean 'I am continuing', and I knew 'achats' must be my purchases ('acheter' means 'to buy'). Instead, I abstracted it a bit more to mean 'continue to payment', which is a perfectly normal thing to expect, so much so that I ignored linguistic logic - at my peril! The last thing was 'terminer ma commande'. 'Terminer', I thought, was 'terminate' in the sense of 'get rid of', y'know, 'delete', but in many contexts in English, even, 'terminate' means 'complete' - to terminate an order, or a train terminating at its destination. Let's just say, I didn't want to risk clicking this until I was absolutely sure what I was doing.
It was all a little bit scary. For all I knew, I could've been clicking on the 'charge me a million Euros for a can of French fog' button ('me chargez un million d'euros pour une canette de brouillard français', in case you ever need to know). It was frustrating, too, especially when I thought I knew what I was reading, but the things I was clicking took me to the 'wrong' part of the website. I was blaming technology before I began to think that I might have got it wrong. Also, contrarily, it was fun.
Finally - foreignness!