Mandarin malapropisms across the Taiwan Strait – Ash Henson
Words mean what they mean. Or, do they? Say you're an American on vacation in England. You go to a restaurant and ask the nice waiter for a “napkin.” You might get a look of horror instead of a cloth or paper to dab your lips with. That’s what a napkin is in American English, but in British English, it can also mean a sanitary pad. We may both be native English speakers, but your “napkin” isn’t my “napkin.”
Now imagine going to a pub in Taipei with your friend. We'll call him Harvond. When the waitress asks him what he wants to drink, he says, in perfect Mandarin, “Nothing for the moment.” Thirty seconds later, she puts a bottle of Carlsberg in front of him. He and you look at each other with that, “Wait. What?!” look on your faces. Are we speaking the same language?