What do you say when you hurt yourself? What do they say around the world?
It may not have occurred to you that people in different countries say ‘ouch’ differently – it’s certainly not the kind of thing teachers tell you when you’re learning foreign languages! I recently came across this excellent list of pain words, which tells you how different countries express themselves when they get hurt.
Here they are:
Itai! (Ita! Itta! Ittatata!)
|Persian||آخ or واخ (pronounced aakh and vaakh, respectively)|
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(Gujarati): Oh baaprey!
So maybe the next time you stub your toe whilst abroad, you might like to try one of these new words! If you know the word for ‘owch’ in a language that’s not listed here, please share it with us!
Christmas around the world: Celebrating Christmas in Russia
Seven interesting facts you may not know
Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on the 7th January in accordance with the Russian Orthodox Julian Calendar.
The Russian advent lasts for 40 days, starting on the 28th November and ending on the 6th January.
The official Christmas holidays in Russia are from the 31st of December until the 10th of January.
In Russian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘s rah-zh-dee-st-VOHM’ (C рождеством!) or ‘s-schah-st-lee-vah-vah rah-zh dee-st-vah’ (Счастливого рождества!).
On Christmas Day, hymns and carols are sung. People gather in churches which have been decorated with the usual Christmas trees ( Ёлка), flowers and coloured lights.
Christmas dinner includes a variety of different meats – goose and suckling pig are favourites.
The ‘Babushka’ is a traditional Christmas figure who distributes presents to children. The word ‘Babushka’ is translated as grandmother in English.
Whilst analysing or comparing one’s own language with a foreign language, many people find it helpful to look for words that are well-known or similar to their own language. This stems from the fact that most languages have evolved from Latin. Latin is the mother of almost all languages worldwide, so it is not surprising that it has left marks on individual words. This article does not deal with Latin roots in English, but with German words applied in English.
It is surprising how many German words are known and used in foreign languages (not only in English), and there are various reasons that other languages adopt them. One such reason might be that in a particular language there is no true equivalent word and thus a translation is not possible. Another reason might be that the word is specific to the region where it is from and therefore expresses the original background meaning.
The following are some loan German words used in English. The list below is only a short summary of the most popular words.
Food & Drink
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On the other hand, sometimes it also happens that a language uses words from a foreign language, but misunderstands the correct meaning, as the following examples show.
“English” words in German
The term Bodybag is used in German language for describing a bag carried close to the body. A small difference to the English meaning of body bag, which is a bag used for dead bodies. Another term, Handy, is used to mean a cell phone by German people, who are unaware that it does not mean the same in English. The last example is the term Mobbing which in German expresses bullying. For a longer list of anglicisms in German click here. The amount may surprise you!
All together it has to be said that is important to know the exact meaning of a word before using a foreign term. However, the best option is to use words from one’s own language (if possible) and to try not to use foreign language words, even if the correct meaning is not known.
Do you know any other German words used in English? Or can you add anything to what I have mentioned here… I am looking forward to reading your comments! Alternitavely, if you’re looking for more information about our German language services then click here.
So, after Polish, Chinese, Finnish, and Italian it’s now time for some German tongue twisters. Anyone who has ever been to a speech therapist will know what I’m talking about. Even if you’re not trying to practice your pronunciation, give them a go, because it’s always funny to listen to the nonsense you’re saying! Let’s start with the most famous example: “Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz.“ (“Fischer’s Fritz fishes fresh fish, fresh fish is fished by Fischer’s Fritz”).
Also well known is: “Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid und Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut.“ (“A Wedding dress stays a wedding dress and red cabbage stays red cabbage”), or “Bierbrauer Braun braut Braunbier, Braunbier braut Brauer Braun.“ (“Brewer Braun brews dark beer, dark beer is brewed by brewer Braun”).
Anyone who wants to try something new should try the following:
Tick, Trick und Track trippeln treppauf und treppab. Treppauf und Treppab trippeln Tick, Trick und Track.“ (Tick, Trick and Track are scampering upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs and downstairs Tick, Trick and Track are scampering.) or “Auf dem Rasen rasen rasche Ratten rasche Ratten rasen auf dem Rasen“ (“On the lawn quick rats are running around, quick rats are running around on the lawn”).
As almost every region of Germany has its own accent, many of them have their own tongue twisters. First of all a Swabian one: “Es leit ä Gletzle Blei glei bei Blaibäura, glei bei Blaibäura leit ä Gletzle Blei”(“A block of lead is at Blaubeurens’, At Blaubeurens’ is a block of lead”)
Here’s one from Palatinate: “Die Woch hots Teleringel gfont, donn bin ich die raas runnergetreppt un batsch wedder die bums gedeert.“ (This week the telephone rang, then I ran downstairs and smashed against the door). This one is pretty difficult too! “A Mamaladenammala hamma zwar a ana dahamm, aba a Rhabarbamamalaad hamma kanna“ (We also have a jam jar at home but we don’t have rhubarb jam).
After reading this article, try to say “Möwe” (Seagull) about ten times as fast as you can! Good luck!
Today is one of the best day of the year: the international French Fries Day. But let’s find out something about most people’s favourite guilty pleasure.
Apparently, French fries are not French at all. Their origin can be tracked back to Belgium, where potatoes were allegedly being fried in the late-1600s. The legend says that poor villagers in Meuse Valley used to eat small fried fish they caught in the river but, as the river would freeze during winter, they had to find an alternative source of food. When the potato was introduced in the continent, the villagers began preparing the root plant in the same way they used to treat the fish: slicing and frying it. And this is how the earliest “French” fries were born.
So, how come they’re called FRENCH fries? It seems that it’s Americans’ fault. When American soldiers were stationed in Belgium during World War I they were introduced to the fried goodness and, as the official language spoken by the Belgian army was French, they started calling it “French fries”. As most misunderstandings in history, once the name was spread there was no way to correct it. And we still call them “French” after centuries, and will probably keep on doing so for quite a while.
But is this a mistake that only English speakers make? Let’s have a look on how everybody’s favourite side dish is called in different countries.
France/Belgium (French): les pommes frites / les frites
Belgium (Dutch): friet/fritten
China: 薯条 shu tiao (potato stripe or stick)
Czech Republic: hranolky (little prisms)
Finland: ranskalaiset perunat (French potatoes) or ranskalaiset (French)
Germany: Pommes / pommesfrites
Greece: τηγανιτές πατάτες tiganites patates
Italy: patatine fritte
Japan: フライドポテト furaido poteto (Fried potatoes)
Korea: 감자 튀김 Gamja twigim
Latin America: papas fritas
Columbia/Mexico: papas a la francesa
Portugal: batatas fritas
Romania: (Belgian) cartofi prajiti
Russia: картофелем фри kartofel’ fri
Sweden: franske kartofler (French potatoes)
The Netherlands (Dutch): patat frites / Vlaamse friet (Flemish fries)