My Fear / West Point cadets speak of experiences at U.S. academy

But the TOEFL scores didn’t prevent Li and Tan from running into language difficulties that ultimately proved embarrassing.

Li told the Taiwan News that during his first year of training, there was an air assault drill requiring students to jump from a helicopter.

The officer supervising the drill was called ‘air assault sergeant.’ But the situation did not allow me to pronounce the words clearly, and my accent was not good enough, so when I addressed him, the words came out sounding like ‘asshole sergeant,'” Li recalled.

Yeah, that’s my fear when speaking Chinese. A single mispronunciation and I’ve turned my compliment into a curse. It hasn’t happened to me yet, thank goodness. But I’ve heard stories…