Social Question

cazzie's avatar

What words in a language you know that is other than English, seem really funny to an English speaker?

Asked by cazzie (24516points) April 20th, 2010

There are words in Norwegian that make my English speaking friends laugh when they see them. Like..‘fart’ means ‘speed’. Do you know of any funny examples in other languages?

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17 Answers

Trillian's avatar

If you want an Italian to leave you alone, you say” Non parlare, piu con me.” “Piu con me” sounds exactly like “puke on me.”

JLeslie's avatar

Basically all of Yiddish is funny in my opinion. Mishbookah Mishigas is one of my favorite expressions, meaning family chaos. Ungapachkah (some say ungapachkee. I have no idea how to really spell these words, probably there is no right way) means too much stuff on something, like a shirt that has a bunch of glitter and different colors and just tacky in the end. Schnook, yutz, nosh, there are more, many many more.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, and more like your example at the top, in Mexico they call babies nene, which sounded like ninny (like an idiot) to me when I first heard it. Now I am so used to it I don’t think it anymore, it actually became a nickname between my husband and me.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Infart. It means “entranceway” in Swedish.
I don’t know if “fart” corresponds to speed in Swedish, though. I just think it’s funny. :-)

Mariah's avatar

I once said “Je suis fatigue” and my mom said, “You’re swiss, fat, and gay?”

Zen_Again's avatar

@Mariah I laughed out loud.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

@cazzie Fart means speed?? Well, my uncle Bob would be a race car driver in Norway !
You’ve heard of the Italian dish Calzone right,in certain Spanish speaking countries Calzone means women’s underwear !

JLeslie's avatar

Not sure if it is funny but embarazada means pregnant in Spanish, and I know someone who really thought they were talking about being embarassed.

cazzie's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly yes, it means speed. Like ‘full fart’ means ‘full speed’. Another funny Norwegian word is ‘gift’ and it means married, but it ALSO means POISON! hahaha they don’t say a hard ‘g’... but it sounds like a ‘j’... so it’s not a ‘gift’ like a present, but it’s spelled the same.

Ivan's avatar

I’m late—> Je suis en retard

cazzie's avatar

@Trillian I love that…. Puke on me! hahahaha… There is a place in New Zealand called Te Puke and it’s a common last name among Maori. I worked with a guy who’s last name was Te Puke. But they pronounce all their vowels, so to say it right, you say Te’ PukĀ“-eh…. still funny, though. There was a place that was a good look out/view of the Hawkes Bay people were telling me to go see. I thought they were saying Tomato Peak and I couldn’t find a Tomato Peak on the map… it turned out to be Te Mata Peak, but with the Kiwi accent, I couldn’t understand! hahaha silly me.

silverfly's avatar

Phuket and Phi Phi islands in Thailand

LostInParadise's avatar

@cazzie, In German, Gift is poison and it is pronounced with a hard g.

For visitors to Spanish speaking countries who try to fake it, be warned that embarazada means pregnant.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

My former boss (a naturalized American citizen of Greek descent) used to talk to his family a lot, and I thought that they were all cab drivers because of how often he said “taxi”.

Apparently the Greek word that means “okay” is pronounced “taxi”.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought of another; “mushy mushy” is how you answer the phone in Japanese.

jeanmay's avatar

In Czech fakt yo means really?. It always sounded to me like something very insulting was being said!

Also, when I was a student in France I had been studying really hard, so I told my host family I’d been a “bonne fille” that day. Literally it means good girl, figuratively speaking (unbeknown to me), a whore.

cazzie's avatar

@LostInParadise Ah,ha… there are some similar words with a twist, in Norwegian and German..

@CyanoticWasp You thought they were cab drivers? Maybe they took lots of ‘OK’s. I like that one.

@JLeslie I remember that one from the movie Lost in Translation.

@jeanmay I can imagine those Czech conversations…. that would be funny. Maori has a similar thing with their ‘Wh’ diphthong. It sounds mostly like an ‘F’ and the have a prefix ‘Whaka-’ on many words.

One of the greatest Maori place names was Waikikamukau.

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