At a Christmas party this week I was chatting to some Vietnamese people about food and one of them asked whether the meal we were having (chicken, potatoes, veg, etc) was what we have as our “daily food”. I couldn’t work out what she was talking about as the phrase “daily food” was pronounced so quickly and was unusual anyway. At first I thought it was a word or phrase in Vietnamese, so I asked her to repeat it several times and eventually she explained that she was asking about food we eat every day. That was when I realised what she was saying. Even slight differences in pronunciation and novel constructions can throw you like this.
When you’re speaking a foreign language it can be frustrating when people don’t understand what you’re saying, even though you think you’re pronouncing things correctly. When people realise what you’re trying to say and repeat it, you often think, “Isn’t that what I said!?”