After my recent “chicken wipes” post several people emailed me to say that after discussing it with the experts (their children) they concluded that Sean might be trying to say kitchen rather than chicken. And I think they might be on to something. Sean has the Little Peoples Noah’s Ark set and “Mrs. Noah” as we call her, is carrying a basket or a pie or something — and he calls it a “kitchen pot pie.” It reminded me that confusing kitchen and chicken is not uncommon for people new to the English language and not just toddlers.
About ten years ago, our friend Mark who had been living in Thailand for many years became engaged to a Thai girl and he brought her over to the house for dinner when he was back in the States so that we could get to know her. Noi was working bravely at learning English at the time. After dinnner, she asked to see the house so I showed her around. As we were heading back towards the kitchen, she grabbed my arm and said sincerely, “You have a very beautiful chicken!” I didn’t know what to say, so I smiled politely and said “Why thank you” which is what I always say when someone compliments my chicken. About ten minutes later I realized she meant kitchen.
Mark, who speaks Thai, had a good laugh over that at Noi’s expense, but she paid him back by telling us of the time he walked into a local bakery in Thailand and asked for transvestite bread. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but I think I would have ordered the kitchen pot pie.