The one with the quotes: part 1

Here at Lingua we are big fans of Friends… Normally trying to figure out a way to include a Friends reference into as many blogs as possible. So, we figured, why not have a Friends blog? Friends began in 1994 and was on our screens for 10 years. During the 10 years and 236 we have learnt a lot from Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey. The last episode of Friends was watched by 52.5 million viewers! Friends changed many people’s lives.

The languages of Friends –

The show has been dubbed into many languages such as French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Allowing people from across the world to enjoy the programme. But it’s not just for enjoyment that people have watched Friends. It’s also for learning. Many people use Friends to learn English.

In fact, that’s how Raquel in the office perfected her English, by knowing the Spanish version so well, she started watching the episodes in English – with Spanish subtitles, then English Subtitles then no subtitles. She isn’t the only person I know who has done this. During my Erasmus year in France, I met someone from Estonia who learnt English from Friends. Let’s not forget that fictional characters have also learnt through Friends. In a previous blog I wrote about the film The Terminal where the main character learnt English by reading a book on Friends from the departure lounge bookshop.

Outside of the series being dubbed into foreign languages, there are even languages inside the show. Remember when Marcel changed the TV into Spanish for example, or Joey learning French, Paolo, Rachels Italian boyfriend or Phoebe’s foreign date!

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Here’s a few that I can remember!


Paolo – The one with the blackout

Rachel meets Paolo in a blackout in season 1 – she finds his cat and goes around the building trying to find the owner… Then runs into Paolo in the hallway. Rachel doesn’t speak Italian, and Paolo barely speaks English, but they hit it off and are a couple for a little while in the show. Ross tries to explain to Paolo that Rachel is very dear to him, and he seems to understand a bit of what Ross is saying, but not enough to stay away from Rachel.

In the Italian version of the show, they couldn’t have an Italian Paolo as the communication barrier wouldn’t be there. So they made him Spanish. He became Pablo from Spain. Wonder what they made of Rachels ‘Italian’ shoes Pablo bought her!


Joey and his Italian heritage

Remember that Joey Tribbiani has Italian heritage, theres the episode where his grandmother visits and speaks Italian where is says “Si Nonni, Iuo Numero Uno, no?”. Joey knows a few swear words, one of which he uses on Chandler when his Ex starts dating him. He teaches this word to Rachel who uses it on Ross. Va’ fa Napoli! Which means Go to Naples. But based on what I can remember from the 10 seasons, Joey doesn’t show his ability to speak Italian. Not properly at least! He never spoke to Paolo from season 1 and 2. Our Friends Linguist Phoebe however, was able to speak to his grandmother with a great command of Italian. So not just great at French eh!

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“The One where Joey Speaks French”

Joey tends to put a lot on his CV that he cannot do. French is one of them. When he has an audition for a French part, Phoebe comes to the rescue to help him though his script. The first like ‘Je M’appelle Claude’ is as far as Phoebe can take him!

A few of his attempts: Je de plee bloo, Je te flouppe Fli… You can understand why Phoebe who has a great grasp of French is very annoyed with him!

Phoebe realises that maybe she was a bit tough on him, so goes back to help him one more time… but he hasn’t improved at all! She follows him to his audition, and then helps him out when the Director sees he has no clue what he’s talking about. Phoebe tells the Director that he’s her little brother, who is slightly mentally disabled and for him to play along to make Joey feel better.

Numbers: Even if you don’t speak French, most people know 1 to 5 – Un, Deux, Trois, Quarte, Cinq. Joey’s attempt ‘Eh, Blue, Blah, Floo, Flank’

« Ecoutez, je vais vous dire la vérité. C’est mon petit frère. Il est un peu retardé, alors si vous pouviez jouer le jeu avec lui. »

As I said previously, Friends has been dubbed into French, so how can he then learn French? Well, he learns Spanish badly instead! The name of this episode is Celui qui baragouinait (The One who was Jabbering). Maybe I should watch the French episode, as Joey trying Spanish one sounds just as funny as Joey trying French! Would’ve been very awkward for the French version to have Joey learning French right!