The Japanese soccer star shows how a tiny error in grammar and pronunciation can become an embarrassing moment for English learners.

Keisuke Honda is a well-known Japanese soccer player who’s enjoyed success both at home, where he played for Nagoya Grampus in the J1 League, and internationally, playing for Netherlands’ VVV-Venlo, Russia’s CSKA Moscow, Italy’s AC Milan, Mexico’s Club de Fútbol Pachuca and now, Australia’s Melbourne Victory.

The Osaka-born soccer player has come a long way from home since his professional debut in 2004, and as he continues to hone his skills on the soccer field, he’s been tackling a second language on the sidelines as well.

The 32-year-old has been studying English for a number of years now, and he’s done such an impressive job of mastering the language that he’s comfortable conducting interviews outside of his mother tongue.

▼ Honda speaks in English to an interviewer in 2014, when he was playing for AC Milan.

As anyone who’s studied a foreign language will know, there will always be times when something you think you’re saying correctly comes out wrong, and that’s what happened to Honda last week, when he spoke to reporters during an interview in Australia. Honda has been off the field for over two months due to a hamstring injury, and he was discussing this with the assembled press when he mispronounced the word “fact” live on air.

▼ Take a look at the interview below.

In the clip, Honda can be seen saying, “I have to take care of myself. It’s bad but it’s real, it’s fact.” Then there’s a moment of silence before Melbourne Victory’s head coach Kevin Muscat steps in to clarify what Honda meant, saying “Fact. Fact issue.

▼ That’s when Honda turns around with this expression, realising his pronunciation of “fact” actually sounded like “f*cked”.

It wasn’t long before the clip went viral, with people retweeting the video with Japanese captions explaining what went wrong for Japanese viewers who might not be able to hear the difference between the pronunciation of the two words.

As soon as Honda understood what had happened, he was quick to clarify what he meant by saying “Fact! Sorry. My pronunciation is maybe bad.” However, it’s not only the pronunciation that caused the gaffe, but the fact that he also omitted the indefinite article “a”, which, when combined with his forlorn expression and preceding sentence saying how bad things were, made it seem as if Honda really had dropped the F-bomb.

It was fortunate that Honda had his media-savvy coach by his side during the interview, and as Muscat cleared things up with the press he could be heard reassuring the soccer player at the same time, saying, “No, no I understood you. But they were…yeah.” We can only imagine the look on the reporter’s face as they heard what they thought was Honda swearing on live television, and if it weren’t for Muscat’s interjection, there would have been some sensational headlines making news the next day.

▼ Still, Honda took to Twitter immediately afterwards to address the incident with this tweet.

By expressing his determination to study English more and choosing to see the mistake as a way to improve his English, Honda shows he has what it takes to become a fluent English speaker. Seeing humour in our mistakes is something that all learners of a second-language can relate to, and having an attitude like Honda’s is what makes all the difference between improving or totally giving up, like Ariana Grande did with her Japanese studies after attempting to fix her BBQ grill tattoo.

Source: Livedoor News
Featured image: Twitter/@YoshiSorokin7

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