Assorted 'useful' (silly) foreign phrases

These phrases come mainly from phrasebooks and language courses. Some of them are intended to illustrate particular grammatical points, others I just found amusing. Finding occasions to use them might be quite challenging, but you'll probably have fun trying. Maybe you could use them as ice breakers, chat-up lines, as part of a comedy routine, or for some surreal conversations.

Belarusian | Breton | Cebuano | Cherokee | Chinese | Cornish | Czech | Danish | Dutch | Esperanto | Finnish | French | German | Greek | Haida | Hawaiian | Hebrew | Hindi | Hungarian | Icelandic | Indonesian | Irish (Gaelic) | Italian | Jèrriais | Kannada | Lakhota | Latin | Laz | Lojban | Manx | Old Norse | Polish | Portuguese | Quenya | Romanian | Russian | Samoan | Scottish Gaelic | Serbian | Shanghainese | Sindarin | Slovenian | Spanish | Swahili | Swedish | Tahitian | Tamil | Tibetan | Turkish | Urdu | Uzbek | Welsh


Belarusian

Куды зьнiклi ўсе мае грошы? (Kudy z'nikli use maje hrošy?)
Where did all my money disappear to?

Калi ласка, пакладзiце мне паболей бульбы.
(Kali laska, pakladzice mne pabolej bul'by.)
More potatoes, please.

Information about Belarusian | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel

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Breton

Sot oc'h gant ar bino`?
Are you fond of bagpipes?

Gouzout a ran ober krampouezh.
I know how to make pancakes.

Information about Breton | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Colours | Time | Weather words | Comparison of Celtic languages | Celtic cognates | Celtiadur | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Cebuano

Gusto kung mosakay sa kabaw.
I want to ride on a water buffalo.

Information about Cebuano | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel

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Cherokee

ᎯᎳᎢᏴ ᎬᏂᏍᎪ ᎫᏩᏯ (hilaiyv gvnisgo guwaya)
When do huckleberries get ripe?

ᏒᎩ ᎢᎾᎨᎡᎯ ᎩᏂᏯᎷᎦ (svgi inageehi giniyaluga)
Let's go hunt for some wild onions.

Information about Cherokee | Phrases | Numbers | Learning materials

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Chinese (Mandarin)

反动派总以为自己了不起,其实不过是纸老虎。
(fǎndòngpài zǒng yǐwéi zìjǐ liǎobùqǐ, qíshí bùguò shì zhǐlǎohǔ)
The reactionaries always think they are terrific, but in fact they are just paper tigers

Information about Mandarin | Phrases | Numbers | Colours | Family words | Time | Tongue twisters | Video lessons | Tower of Babel | Articles | Links | Learning materials

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Cornish

An teeack reeg derevall kea.
The farmer is building a hedge.

Yma pluven a-ji dhe'n lyver.
There's a pen inside the book.

Eus jynn-skrifa war an desk?
Is there a typewriter on the desk?

An byskadoryon yw parys lemmyn.
The fishermen are ready now.

Information about Cornish | Phrases | Numbers | Colours | Family words | Terms of endearment | Colours | Time | Weather words | Comparison of Celtic languages | Celtic cognates | Celtiadur | Tower of Babel | My podcast about Cornish | Learning materials

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Finnish

Mielestäni teillä on söpö presidentti.
I think you have a cute president.

Käyhän että tuon kannettavani saunaan?
Is it OK if I bring my laptop in the sauna?

Oho! Tota noin ... eihän se vaa ollu' sun ajokoira?
I'm awfully sorry ... was that your ferret?

Source: http://www.expat-finland.com/living_in_finland/finnish_jokes.html

Information about Finnish | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Family words | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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French

Il y a un singe qui vole dans l'arbre.
There's a flying monkey in the tree.

Où est le placard?
Where's the wardrobe?

Je vais demander à ces paysans qui viennent au-devant de nous, si le chemin par où ils ont passé est mauvais.
I shall ask these peasants who are coming towards us, if the road by which they have come is bad

Je suis desolé de vous quitter, mais je dois acheter un chapeau.
I am sorry I have to leave you, but I must buy a hat.

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Greek (Ancient)

Άβρως χορευσουσιν αἱ γυναικες περι το δενδρον.
(Abrōs khoreusousin ai gunaikes peri to dendron.)
The women will dance delicately round the tree.

Greek (Modern)

Ο δρακος επιμενει να θυσιάσουν μια κοπελα αλλιως θα καψει το χωριο.
(O drakos epimenei na thysiásoun mia kopela allios tha kapsei to chorio.)
The dragon insists we sacrifice a maiden otherwise he will burn the village to the ground.

Information about Greek | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Time | Idioms | Proverbs | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Articles | Links | Learning materials | Books about the Greek alphabet

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Haida

Sgíw uu hl xiláadaang.
I am drying some seaweed.

Ḵ’algáayst uu hl istgán
I got it from the swamp

Source: http://www.haidalanguage.org/basic-phrases.html

Information about Haida | Numbers in Haida

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Hawaiian

Ha'aheo no paha 'oe i kena papale kupalaka, pehea la.
You must be very proud of your large hat.

Information about Hawaiian | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Tower of Babel |

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Hindi

यह आदमी चालाक लगता हैं।
Yah ādmī cālāk lagtā haĩ.
This man appears to be cunning.

आपके मेज़ के नीचे बिल्ली है।
Āpke mez ke nīce billī hai.
There is a cat under your table.

मैं सिर्फ़ बंगाली गीत गा सकता हुँ।
Maĩ sirf Bangālī gīt gā saktā hũ.
I can only sing Bengali songs.

आपको कित्ना आटा चाहिए?
Āpko kitnā āṭā cāhie?
How much flour do you want?

मेरा दुघवाला बेईमान है।
Merā dūdhvālā beīmān hai.
My milkman is dishonest.

Information about Hindi | Phrases | Numbers | Kinship words | Time | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Learning materials | Electronic dicitonaries and translators

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Hebrew

הגבר והחתול שלו רוקדים.
(hagever v'hakhatul shlo rokdim)
The man and his cat dance.

הבננה שלי בכיס.
(habananah shley bachis)
My banana is in the pocket.

לגברים יש חלב!
(lagebrem yish khelev)
Men have milk.

החתול אוהב גבינות!
(hakhatul ohev g'vina)
The cat likes cheese.

הברווזה שלי לא רוצה לאכול אתכם.
(aberweze shley lo whati lachol athachm)
My duck does not want to eat you.

Hebrew phrases provided by Sierra Hunt

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Hungarian

Miért nevet - annyira rosszul beszélek magyarul?
Why are you laughing - is my Hungarian that bad?

Information about Hungarian | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Icelandic

Veistu um bílalúgu þar sem ég get keypt svið og jarðepplamauk?
Do you know about a drive-through where I can buy a take-out sheep’s head and mashed potatoes?

Information about Icelandic | Phrases | Numbers | Colours | Family words | Time | Terms of endearment | Idioms | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Indonesian

Maaf, Nona. Ada bebek di atas kepala anda.
Excuse me miss, there's a duck on your head.

Information about Hungarian | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Irish (Gaelic)

Pionta Guinnes le do thoil.
A pint of Guinness, please.

Tá póit orm
I have a hangover.

Nár fhág sé a chlaíomh ar an mbord?
Didn't he leave his sword on the table?

Ar thit Bricriu ar an gcarn bruscair?
Did Bricriu fall on the rubbish heap?

Irish language | Gaelic script | Ogham alphabet | Phrases | Numbers | Colours | Family words | Terms of endearment | Time | Weather | Proverbs | Comparison of Celtic languages | Celtic cognates | Celtiadur | Tower of Babel | Tongue twisters | Songs | Learning materials | Books about Ogham | My podcast about Irish | Links

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Italian

Voglio chiedere a quei contadini che vengono alla volta nostra, se per dove sono passati, è cattiva la strada.
I shall ask these peasants who are coming towards us, if the road by which they have come is bad

Io sono il bufone dall'incredibile faccia.
I am the clown with the incredible face.

La migrazione dell'anguilla europea è un mistero per la scienza.
The migratory pattern of the european eel is a mystery to science.

Non ricordo il prezzo della carta da lettere.
I don't recall the price of a box of stationery

Se devi tagliarti le unghie dei piedi, vai via dalla cucina, per favore.
If you must clip your toenails now, kindly leave the kitchen.

Irish language | Gaelic script | Ogham alphabet | Phrases | Numbers | Colours | Family words | Terms of endearment | Time | Weather | Proverbs | Comparison of Celtic languages | Celtic cognates | Celtiadur | Tower of Babel | Tongue twisters | Songs | Learning materials | Books about Ogham | My podcast about Irish | Links

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Jèrriais

Ch'est eune vaque Jèrriaise!
It's a Jersey cow!

Information about Jèrriais | Phrases | Numbers

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Kannada

ಪುತಕ ವುರಲ್ಲಿ ಇದೆಯಾ?
Putaka vuradalli ideyā?
Is the book in the tree?

ಅದು ಬಾಗಿಲಾ ಕಿಟಿಕಿಯಾ?
Adu bāgilā kiṭikiyā?
Is that a door or a window?

Information about Kannada | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel

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Lakhota

Šúŋkawakĥáŋ kiŋ lé iwáču kte.
I will take this horse.

Wíŋyaŋ oĥ’áŋniwašte.
You are a woman of good manners.

Information about Lakota | Lakota phrases | Lakota and Dakota learning materials

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Latin

Si hoc legere scis, nimium eruditionis habes.
If you can read this, you have too much education.

Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

Re vera, cara mea, mea nil refert.
Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

Latin alphabet | Latin language | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Tower of Babel | Articles | Learning materials

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Laz

ბიბი მწხულიქ ოჭკადუ (Bibi mǯxulik oç̌ǩadu)
The duck eats the pear

მუთი ვარ ონ ჰა ვარ გიჩქინი (Muti var on ha var giçkini)
There is nothing I don’t know

ჟურკუჩხონი ჲეთიმი ჩეტე ოთხო ფაა ჯუმაჩხაიშე
(Jurǩuçxoni yetimi çet̆e otxo paa cumaçxaişe)
The two-footed orphan is naughty four times on Wednesday

Laz phrases provided by Ethan Hunt

Information about Laz | Phrases | Numbers

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Lojban

.i xu do ba'o kavbu lo pavyseljirna / .i xu do kavbu lo pavyseljirna ba'o
Have you caught that Unicorn yet?

Information about Lojban | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel

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Manx (Gaelic)

Vel oo er chur sheese yn skeddan ayd foast mleeaney?
Have you salted your herring this year yet?

Ta'n aspick scughey dy tessanagh.
The bishop moves diagonally.

Information about Manx | Phrases | Numbers | Colours | Family words | Colours | Time | Idioms | Proverbs | Terms of endearment | Comparison of Celtic languages | Celtic cognates | Celtiadur | Songs | Tower of Babel | The decline and revival of Manx | My podcast about Manx | Links | Learning materials

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Old Norse

ᛁᚴ᛬ᛋᛁ᛬ᛋᚢᛅᚴᛅᚾ᛬ᛘᛅᚾ᛬ᛏᛅᚴᛅ᛬ᚢᛋᛏ (Ek sé svangan mann taka ost)
I see a hungry man take some cheese.

ᛏᚢᛁᚱᚴᛅᚱᚾᛁᚱ᛬ᚠᚢᚱᛅ᛬ᚴᚢᚾᚢᚴᛁᚾᚢᛘ᛬ᚴᚢᛚᛏᛅᚾ᛬ᛒᛅᚢᚴ (Dvergarnir foera konunginum gylltan baug)
The dwarves bring the king a golden ring.

Information about Old Norse | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Polish

Te dzieci siedzą pod tym drzewem i uczą się fizyki.
The children are sitting under the tree and learning physics.

Nikt nie interesuje się współczesną poezją na tej wyspie.
Nobody's interested in modern poetry on the island.

Information about Polish | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Terms of endearment | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Portuguese

Entrou na casa e viu os chapéus no benguleiro.
He entered the house and saw the hats in the hat stand.

Onde é a embaixada timorense mais próxima?
Where is the nearest East Timorese embassy?

Eu queria um outro pedacinho de Apfelstrudel, por favor.
I would like another piece of Apfelstrudel, please.

Eu queria meu cafezinho só um pouquinho mais quentinho.
I would like my coffee a little hotter.

A cama do meu marido está cheia de areia preta. Porquê?
My husband's bed is full of black sand. Why?

Information about Portuguese | European Portuguese phrases | Brazilian Portuguese phrases | Family words | Numbers | Time | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Articles | Links | Learning materials

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Quenya

Yulmanye miruvóreva alantie talanna. Nyerinyes.
My cup of miruvor has fallen to the floor. I am sorry.

Information about Quenya | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel

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Samoan

Ua o'u sau e fa'atau le pua.
I have come to sell a pig.

Pe avatu ai lau seleni?
Shall I give you a shilling for it?

O'u te fa'atau talo e mata tolu.
I have thirty heads of taro to sell.

Pe tele ni lupe i le vao nei?
Are there many pigeons in this bush?

Information about Samoan | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Scottish Gaelic

Cò an caora sin còmhla riut a chunnaic mi an-raoir?
Who was that sheep I saw you with last night?

Cha b'e sin caora, 'se sin mo chèile a bha innte!
That was no sheep, that was my spouse!

Dè th'ort fo d'fhèileadh?
What do you wear under your kilt?

An toir thu dhomh pòg?
Will you give me a kiss?

Information about Scottish Gaelic | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Terms of endearment | Colours | Time | Comparison of Celtic languages | Celtic cognates | Celtiadur | Tower of Babel | Songs | Links | My podcast about Scottish Gaelic | Learning materials

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Serbian

Моја тетка нe воли сир, али одлично свира саксофон
(Moja tetka ne voli sir, ali odlično svira saksofon)
My aunt hates cheese, but she plays saxophone quite well

Information about Serbian | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

Learn Serbian with the Serbian Language Podcast

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Shanghainese

儂个衣帽勿整齊 (Noong-kuh i-mau 'veh tsung-si)
Your clothes and hat are untidy

Information about Shanghainese | Phrases | Numbers | Learning materials

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Sindarin

Man i ven na Imladris?
Which way is it to Rivendell?

Gîl síla erin lû e-govaded vín.
A star shines upon the hour of our meeting.

Information about Sindarin | Phrases

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Slovenian

Imate knjigo "Orgle na Slovenskem" v angleščini?
Do you sell the book "Pipe Organs in Slovenia" in English?

Information about Slovenian | Phrases | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Swahili

Safisha viatu yangu mara moja!
Clean my boots at once!

Huyu mchawi, ona chura katika kifuko yake!
That man is a witch-doctor, see the frog in his pocket!

Mimi naogopa nyoka, funga milango
I am afraid of snakes, fasten the door

Information about Swahili | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Tahitian

'Ua haru te 'iore iti i te pata pa'ari i roto i tō'u mereti.
The mouse stole the cheese from my plate.

Information about Tahitian | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel

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Tamil

நீ ஒரு மேனச செய்வாயா?
(nī rimauca cēnayvāyā)
Can you make a table?

Source: Phrase book, or, Idiomatic exercises in English and Tamil. Arranged under serveral heads, with an index (Jaffna Book Society, 1841)

Information about Tamil | Arwi Arabic script for Tamil | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Language learning materials

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Tibetan

Nga khenpo jel-dö yö.
I'd like to meet the abbot.

Nga saymong chig gö.
I need a squirrel.

Gongta di ngay chöloogdâng tüngee mindu.
I'm sorry, it's against my religion.

Information about Tibetan | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Turkish

Dansöz olan bir yer var mı?
Is there anywhere we can go to see belly-dancing?

Lütfen pantolonunuzu verin.
Please give me your trousers.

Information about Turkish | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Time | Tongue twisters | Tower of Babel | Turkish learning materials

Learn Turkish with Free Podcasts

- TurkishClass101.com - Learn Turkish with Free Audio and Video Lessons
- Learn Turkish online with Mondly
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Urdu

مير بندر چابي چينت حي
(Mera bandar chabbi cheenta hai)
My monkey steals my keys.

Information about Urdu | Phrases | Numbers | Time | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Uzbek

Gorbachevning boshida katta tug'ma xoli bor.
There is a large birthmark on Gorbachev's head.

Information about Uzbek | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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