S: I have a question.
S: Sometimes when I read a sentence, I understand the literal meaning of every word, but I don't understand the whole sentence.
K: Do you have an example?
S: No. I only want to know why I don't understand.
K (feeling slightly confused at this point): Well German is a foreign language that you're learning and sometimes the German mentality doesn't translate great. (This seemed to satisfy her to a greater extent than I expected...I thought I was being slightly funny).
S: Naturally it's another language, but if I understand every single word, why don't I understand the whole sentence.
K: I'm not sure I can help you without an example.
S became very frustrated with me. She simply wanted me to tell her why she couldn't understand. To her, a specific example was beside the point--this was all very clear and it struck me as very strange that another person wanted me to tell them what they were thinking. S is a Muslim from Turkey and it's the second course I've had with her and we're partners in 90% of our exercises. I don't like to readily label differences as something being cultural (because the more I get to know many of the people from various nations, the more I realize most of the world is frighteningly the same as far as personality types go), but the past six months have definitely manifested that a strange control has been exerted over this girl--sometimes elementary confusion over an aspect of sex that might come up, but a seemingly full understanding of the complicated relationship of a concubine, for example.
With much resistance she brought an example to me five minutes later. Turns out the sentences that were confusing her contained German euphemisms.
On that note, have a look at the Euphemism Generator. I don't know that it's "endless amusement" as they claim, but it might get a heh out of you.