Jail vs. Yale
I know this sounds like a bad joke, but it really happened. One morning I was having breakfast with my friend, Jose, and an innocent-looking pronunciation mistake caused a lot of confusion.
Keep in mind “Jail” (prison) and Yale (one of the world’s top universities) have very little in common. The problem is that many people reverse the pronunciation.
Jose: Did I tell you that my brother-in-law will go to jail?
Me: No! when did you find out?
Jose: We just received the news.
Me: Oh my god, how long will he be gone for?
Jose: Several years minimum.
Me: Wow! How is your family taking it (reacting)?
Jose: They’re OK, but they’re really going to miss him.
Me: Of course!
Jose: It will be difficult in the beginning, but in the end I think it will be good for him.
Me: You do?
Jose: Ya, I think he’ll learn a lot.
Me: Well, yeah, but, ya know, there are some things you don’t want to learn, Jose.
Jose: It’s true but they say there’s no better place to do your doctorate.
Me: Doing a doctorate? In “jail”? Hold it (wait a minute), Jose, did you say “Jail” or “Yale”?
Jose: What’s the difference?
Me: (At this point I scream and hit Jose over the head with a “Bocadillo” (large sandwich).
Now Jose is much more careful with his pronunciation. And I believe his brother-in-law is happily studying linguistics at Yale.