03 November 2009

Foreign Phrases

The Bloggess is in Japan. Her Japanese is, apparently, lacking. My foreign language skills are mediocre, though je parle un peu Français and ich spreche ein bißchen Deutsch.

The only thing that my husband knows how to say in Italian is "your eyes are the color of my Ferrari" (which, if you think about it, is damning with faint praise, since a Ferrari is nearly always red). I can say "you're dog shit" in Chinese, but that's it.

And once upon a time, my sister got off an airplane in Brazil having memorized only one phrase out of her guidebook, from the going-to-the-doctor section, namely "please remove your trousers and underpants", which wasn't much use when she got pulled aside by Brazilian immigration because she didn't have a proper visa.

Please, tell me the odd phrases that you know, in your choice of language other than English.

27 comments:

the queen said...

I can say Tu habeas os bovis ("You have the mouth of a cow") in Latin.

Becky said...

When I was first learning Norwegian, I was quizzed by some friend, and the first thing I rattled off was, "Jeg har ikke penger!" (I have no money.)

Pinky said...

And I'm pretty sure I taught him the Ferrari line. I learned it in Italian 101.

Pinky said...

And (again) I still remember the trousers and underpants line. Truth be told, it might have helped things along with the immigration police...

flutter said...

este queijo tem muito molde!

which is Portuguese for "This cheese has a lot of mold!"

meno said...

"Have you anything cheaper?" in Swedish.

Robin said...

"oont" means camel in Hindi

rachel... said...

All the spanish I currently know I learned from Dora (all the spanish I learned in college, I've forgotten). And I barely remember a syllable of the french I took in high school! I do know some of the French national anthem, though...

nonlineargirl said...

Pourqoui la cravate et elle dans the poche de Jean-Paul?

(Parse que, la cravate est l'idee de la mere de Jean-Paul, et la mere de Jean-Paul ne'est pas ici.)

wheelsonthebus said...

I used to know how to say "prostitute" in several languages.

Renovation Therapy said...

Pogue Mahone - spelled wrong. Essentially, Kiss My Ass in Gaelic

modernemama said...

When we moved to Belgium I knew only one thing in Dutch and I taught it to the kids: Gouden Gids. That's Dutch for Yellow Pages - very useful.

Kyla said...

I know a bit of run of the mill Spanish, but that is all!

alejna said...

I love this, Magpie! I could write a whole response post. Except that I'm supposed to be working. So I'll give you the abbreviated version.

I know quite an array of useless phrases in other languages, though I have no idea how to write most of them. I can say:
"Maybe I love you" in Polish
"You are a dickhead" in Italian
"I speak a little Russion" in Russian (though it's a lie)
"Marat said tabacconist yesterday" in Turkish
"red berries with cream" in Danish
"I eat a banana" in Farsi

RuthWells said...

I know how to say "The eggplant is angry in Japanese."

Do not ask why.

wordnerd said...

I recently went to Japan and OMG language shock....my husband had learned a few phrases...but still...OMG...I SO feel her pain.

I am french-canadian so I can offer a few French expressions!

"Vous êtes trops sympa!" - You are too kind

"On se lance au vin?" - Wanna get smashed drinking wine?

"Ou est la toilette?" - Where is the washroom?

heidi said...

"Mazel-dic a kishkah" Yiddish for: You are lucky you made it home in time for dinner, you yutz. Now sit down & eat while I inspect how well you chew.

YourFireAnt said...

"Tahton mansikkaa ja jaatelo." [I want strawberries and ice cream.]

Found this very useful every time I went there.


T.

Angeline said...

"Dui Niu Tan Qin." (literally means 'playing piano to a cow') Which is used when you are talking to someone who has no feelings or whatsoever to whatever that you are saying. Or better phrased as 'talking to a dead person.'

niobe said...

Does semper ubi sub ubi count?

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I can say in Lithuanian, "Work is not a penis. It waits."

YourFireAnt said...

Forgot to say....it's Finnish.

T.

Bibliomama said...

I can say 'pillow' and 'egg' in five languages (English, French, German, Polish and Finnish). It doesn't really help with anything. I learned a bit of Berber in Morocco, but I've forgotten it (traumatic amnesia, probably).

Carol said...

I know crazy sentences from my Cambridge Latin Course:

novaculum habeo (I have a knife)

multus sanguis fluebat (much blood was flowing)

ancilla caecilium delectat (the slave girl pleased Caecilius)

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

I can swear like a sailor in Hungarian. My husband taught me.

Swistle said...

On va a la plage? That may not be the right spelling, but it's "Are we going to the beach?" in French. I've also still got "Il pleut" (It's raining) and "Il neige" (It's snowing). I think that's it. From 2 years of French. Nice.

Suzanna Catherine said...

Can't remember much of my high school Latin. However, I do remember that someone had written in the front of my Latin book (in English, of course):
Latin is a dead language
Buried in the dust.
First it killed the Romans,
Now it's killing us.