Calling Greek locals a “squid”, asking for a “condom” at the breakfast table, and declaring yourself “pregnant” to a French waiter are among the most common mistakes made by Britons attempting to speak a foreign language while abroad.
The gaffes were revealed in a survey of British holidaymakers carried out by Owners Direct, the self-catering operator.
The Greek word for “good morning” – “kalimera” – bears a resemblance to “calimari”, while “Je suis plein” means “I am full” in French, but when mispronounced as “pleine”, translates as “I am pregnant”.
In Portugal and France, the word for “condom” is “preservativo” and “preservatif” and is sometimes mistakenly used when asking for jam.
Other mistakes include one holidaymaker who asked for her “head baked Al Forno” when trying to obtain a hairdryer, and a traveller in Hong Kong who accidentally told locals she worked as a “prostitute”.
The study also revealed that 95 per cent of Britons would attempt to speak the local language on holiday, particularly those travelling to Spain or France. The most commonly used words and phrases were “hello”, “please”, thank you”, “goodnight”, “where are the toilets?” and “a bottle of house red”.