Language confusion: neeple or nipple?

About six weeks ago I asked Arthur, the Lebanese owner of the hardware store in Kinshasa, if he had 1” close nipples as I needed some for a construction project (see pic below). He spoke French better than English so I used the French name, mamellon. To make sure he understood I also described what I was looking for. No, he didn’t have it, but he said that he could have some cut and threaded for me. Ok, that will work. I returned to Gemena and waited.

1 in. Galvanized Steel Nipple

Several times since then I’ve talked to Pastor Danu in Kinshasa who was following up on the order for me and each time was told that they were working on it. Then recently I requested a ¾” close nipple. I knew they had these because I had seen them in the store in a box on the floor. Pastor Danu didn’t really understand what I wanted so I talked to Arthur when Danu was there. I described what I wanted and at first he said he didn’t have it. Then I described where I had seen them and he responded, “Oh, you mean ‘neeple’?” Yes. “Neeple.”

Now if I had only put a French pronunciation to the English word the first time around I would have had my neeples weeks ago. Such is life when you’re mixing languages and working long distance for orders.

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