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View Full Version : "Fuck" is a seal in French: Funny language translations?


gitfiddle
01-21-2006, 07:04 PM
When learning another language, there are always certain words that are really funny or bizarre. The example I used in the title was the french word "phoque" (pronounced exactly like "fuck") is a seal. In Taiwan, they say "gan" ("to do") to mean "fuck," but in parts of china they still use "gan" (also "gou", I believe) to just mean "to do." So, Taiwanese find it funny sometimes when a Chinese person asks what someone does for a living using the word "gan" or "gou."

Also, there are certian words that are funny when written. Swedish is a good example of this. "Slut," I believe, means "stop." "Skulle" means "imagine." "Fred" means "peace."

This holds even among English and American: fanny, fag, etc.

I'm just curious what other words people find funny when learning languages. I mean this also for people learning english. For instance, the vegetable "beet" in english is pronounced exactly like the french word for "dick."

Have a good one.

feppytweed
01-21-2006, 07:18 PM
Family Guy:

Cleveland: The only British idiom I know is that fag means cigarette.

Peter Griffin: Then would someone tell this cigarette to shut up!

/fg

pizzabrat
01-21-2006, 08:10 PM
In Taiwan, they say "gan" ("to do") to mean "fuck," but in parts of china they still use "gan" (also "gou", I believe) to just mean "to do."

That me reminds me of something similar in the (Englsih-speaking) US, where they say "do" ("do") to mean "fuck". Meanwhile, in American English, people still use "do" to mean "do".

Cunctator
01-21-2006, 09:48 PM
The second person singular imperative form of the Latin verb facio (meaning to make or to do) is often written as fac and pronounced like you know what. This was the source of endless mirth at school in Latin classes.

Chefguy
01-21-2006, 09:51 PM
"Gift" means "poison" in German.

NinetyWt
01-21-2006, 10:28 PM
You know what they say .. one man's fish is another man's poisson.
:p

:d&r:

levdrakon
01-21-2006, 10:36 PM
In Russian there is a word for "boat" and a word for "bedpan." Americans screw it up all the time, which provides endless amusement for Russian instructors.

Kyla
01-21-2006, 11:08 PM
My name is apparently a derogatory word for "Jew" in Amharic.

Colibri
01-21-2006, 11:15 PM
"Gift" means "poison" in German.

And farhrt means "travel" or "drive"; some interesting compounds are possible.

Colibri
01-21-2006, 11:17 PM
And farhrt means "travel" or "drive"; some interesting compounds are possible.

Make that fahrt.

gitfiddle
01-22-2006, 05:26 AM
Make that fahrt.

...and I think "fart" means.....damn....I forgot, but "infarting" means something like drive-in or entrance....

Kythereia
01-22-2006, 12:22 PM
The example I used in the title was the french word "phoque" (pronounced exactly like "fuck") is a seal.

Bzzzzzt. "Phoque", at least in my experience with it, has a definite 'oh' sound in the middle while "fuck" has the flatter 'uh'.

Believe me, French people will be very, very particular about the pronunciation of this. ;)

Rufus Xavier
01-22-2006, 12:25 PM
The Hebrew word for "fish" is pronounced "dog."

GorillaMan
01-22-2006, 12:26 PM
That me reminds me of something similar in the (Englsih-speaking) US, where they say "do" ("do") to mean "fuck". Meanwhile, in American English, people still use "do" to mean "do".
It's not only in America that 'do' has taken on the sexual meaning.

saoirse
01-22-2006, 12:27 PM
...and I think "fart" means.....damn....I forgot, but "infarting" means something like drive-in or entrance....

I think that's where fart-vegnugen comes from.

Beware of Doug
01-22-2006, 12:57 PM
Arche is arch in French, but Arsch is ass in German. This would ordinarily not be a problem, but my mom wears Arche shoes from France. I wonder what name they're sold under in German speaking countries.

Then there's slutspurt (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/search.php?searchid=1409179).

Elenfair
01-22-2006, 02:20 PM
Bzzzzzt. "Phoque", at least in my experience with it, has a definite 'oh' sound in the middle while "fuck" has the flatter 'uh'.

Believe me, French people will be very, very particular about the pronunciation of this. ;)

I Bzzzzzt you, Kythereia ;) As a French Canadian, the sound in the middle of the word "phoque" is pretty close to the english "uh" - more so than "oh". Hence the joke:

"Ils tuent des phoques pour en faire de la ouate! Ils me l'ont dit! Ouate de phoque!"

(They kill seals to make cotton balls out of them! They told me! 'what the fuck!')

Hee hee.

Kythereia
01-22-2006, 02:22 PM
:o My bad, I stand corrected.

Phoque-ing French. ;)

Mops
01-22-2006, 02:43 PM
The Italian river Po and the British English po-faced (denoting a serious, disapproving or humourless expression) look just a bit amusing to a speaker of German as Po (noun, m.) in German means "bottom/buttocks/arse/ass".

When I read about a po-faced British official I get an inappropriate mental picture.

Chefguy
01-22-2006, 03:05 PM
...and I think "fart" means.....damn....I forgot, but "infarting" means something like drive-in or entrance....

You're thinking of einfahrt and ausfahrt (literally, "intravel" and "outtravel"), which is how freeway entrances and exits are labeled in Germany. I remember a newcomer in Frankfurt telling how she was wondering where the big city of Ausfahrt was, since there were so many exits to it.

Kyla
01-22-2006, 03:24 PM
The Italian river Po and the British English po-faced (denoting a serious, disapproving or humourless expression) look just a bit amusing to a speaker of German as Po (noun, m.) in German means "bottom/buttocks/arse/ass".

When I read about a po-faced British official I get an inappropriate mental picture.

Mm, that reminds me of something that amused me a great deal when I was fourteen: the Spanish word ano means "anus". The word ao, however, means "year". And, of course, native Spanish speakers let everyone know this back in Spanish 1, so we could all giggle when someone forgot the tilde in "Tengo catorce aos."

Mops
01-22-2006, 06:10 PM
Mm, that reminds me of something that amused me a great deal when I was fourteen: the Spanish word ano means "anus". The word ao, however, means "year". ..

Tell that to amazon.com (http://amazon.com/gp/product/9871138148/)...

Kyla
01-22-2006, 06:56 PM
Tell that to amazon.com (http://amazon.com/gp/product/9871138148/)...

*points and giggles*

Canadjun
01-22-2006, 07:30 PM
"Gift" means "poison" in German.
And watch out for the mist as you stroll through a german cow pasture.
mist=manure

Colibri
01-22-2006, 07:51 PM
Tell that to amazon.com (http://amazon.com/gp/product/9871138148/)...

:D One Hundred Solitary Assholes. . .

vivalostwages
01-22-2006, 08:55 PM
The Italian river Po and the British English po-faced (denoting a serious, disapproving or humourless expression) look just a bit amusing to a speaker of German as Po (noun, m.) in German means "bottom/buttocks/arse/ass".

When I read about a po-faced British official I get an inappropriate mental picture.

When an alternative radio station played a (thankfully brief) bit of Kevin Federline's song "Popozao," they claimed that the title means "big butt" in another language but did not mention which one. Here are the lyrics:

http://elliottback.com/wp/archives/2005/12/31/popozao/

Have fun.

aruvqan
01-22-2006, 09:37 PM
"Gift" means "poison" in German.

and exactly why i have several rolls of wrapping paper printed with the word 'gift' all over it=) is especially fun to wrap bottles of wine in for my german friends :D

Johanna
01-22-2006, 09:44 PM
The Armenian word for 'kiss' is batchik, pronounced "butt cheek." So if an Armenian ever says "kiss me" I could not help hearing "kiss my butt cheek."
That me reminds me of something similar in the (Englsih-speaking) US, where they say "do" ("do") to mean "fuck". Meanwhile, in American English, people still use "do" to mean "do".You might be interested to know the very same thing happened in different branches of the Turkic language family. Turkic has two roots for 'do': et- and qil-. In any given language, one of these roots will be used to mean 'do' while the other falls out of use because it gets used as a synonym for having sex. Turks are very polite people and are pretty careful not to offend. Sometimes the two roots alternate over time: Let's say et- becomes shunned as a sexually-stigmatized 'do'. So qil- is the only 'do' root remaining. Then it starts to be used for sex because people will anyway want to talk about sex. Until it can't be used any more, so bring et- back in...

Chronos
01-22-2006, 09:49 PM
The second person singular imperative form of the Latin verb facio (meaning to make or to do) is often written as fac and pronounced like you know what. This was the source of endless mirth at school in Latin classes.And if a baker asked you how many rolls you wanted him to make, and you wanted half a dozen, you'd tell him "Fac sex". The latter word being pronounced just like in English.

On a less naughty note, Latin has no word for "Yes" or "No". To answer a yes-no question, you restate part of the question. So if you asked an ancient Roman fish if it swam, the answer would be "No.". Which literally means "I swim".

Jayn_Newell
01-22-2006, 11:48 PM
Everytime this kind of thread comes up I'm reminded of the time in high school when a boy in my class attempted to french-ify the word 'insane' because he couldn't remember the translation, and wound up declaring that he was not completely pregnant :D

The Batman
01-23-2006, 04:20 AM
My name is apparently a derogatory word for "Jew" in Amharic.

I have something similar.

My nickname in spanish among my family, Kike (keekay), is a derogatory for jews in american english.

gitfiddle
01-23-2006, 04:30 AM
You're thinking of einfahrt and ausfahrt (literally, "intravel" and "outtravel"), which is how freeway entrances and exits are labeled in Germany. I remember a newcomer in Frankfurt telling how she was wondering where the big city of Ausfahrt was, since there were so many exits to it.

No...I meant to clarify that it was Swedish. I was there recently and saw all sorts of funny words.

I forgot what "fart" is, but the entrance to gas stations were all marked with a sign "infarting."

TellMeI'mNotCrazy
01-23-2006, 05:11 AM
Kant in Afrikaans means "side" but the a sounds a lot closer to "uh" than "ah". Ander, which means "other", has the same pronunciation for the A.

If someone asks you where something is, you could say "Daar ander kant" (There on the other side), which to the uninitiated might sound like a suggestion that a woman is sitting on it.

Mangetout
01-23-2006, 05:39 AM
The English word cushion sounds like a French word for pig (cochon), so if your French is a little sketchy and you try filling in the blanks with English words, you could easily be asking for a pig to put on your uncomfortable chair.

grey_ideas
01-23-2006, 05:40 AM
Danish has some good ones;

'Fart' in Danish is 'Speed' in English (http://sean.treadway.info/words?word=fart&search-da=to+English). When roadworks are being done on the motorways around here there are often these machines on the side of the road that display 'din fart' ('your speed') to try and keep you to the speed limit. I did hear that these get removed when English speaking dignitaries are visiting :D

'Gift' in Danish is another good one (http://sean.treadway.info/words?word=gift&search-da=to+English). It shares the German translation to 'poison' but also means 'married'...now there is an odd duality of terms.

'Skat' in Danish (http://sean.treadway.info/words?word=skat&search-da=to+English) is one that demonstrates the Danes attachement to taxes. It means both 'tax' and 'darling' when translated to English.

I'm trying to think of some others, but need a coffee boost first.

grey_ideas

gitfiddle
01-23-2006, 05:50 AM
Danish has some good ones;

'Fart' in Danish is 'Speed' in English (http://sean.treadway.info/words?word=fart&search-da=to+English). When roadworks are being done on the motorways around here there are often these machines on the side of the road that display 'din fart' ('your speed') to try and keep you to the speed limit. I did hear that these get removed when English speaking dignitaries are visiting :D

'Gift' in Danish is another good one (http://sean.treadway.info/words?word=gift&search-da=to+English). It shares the German translation to 'poison' but also means 'married'...now there is an odd duality of terms.

'Skat' in Danish (http://sean.treadway.info/words?word=skat&search-da=to+English) is one that demonstrates the Danes attachement to taxes. It means both 'tax' and 'darling' when translated to English.
grey_ideas

I think that's the Swedish meaning of "fart" I was looking for, "speed."

I'd presume a lot of the funny Swedish words I saw are close to the same in Danish, as the two langauges are pretty similar, right? When I was in Sweden, my friends could read and understand Danish fairly easily (they had some Danish TV stations), but I don't know if that's because the two langs are really close to one another or because my friends had studied Dansih (I saw a swed-dan dictionary in their apartment).

grey_ideas
01-23-2006, 06:08 AM
I think that's the Swedish meaning of "fart" I was looking for, "speed."

I'd presume a lot of the funny Swedish words I saw are close to the same in Danish, as the two langauges are pretty similar, right? When I was in Sweden, my friends could read and understand Danish fairly easily (they had some Danish TV stations), but I don't know if that's because the two langs are really close to one another or because my friends had studied Dansih (I saw a swed-dan dictionary in their apartment).

Sort of, Danish and Norwegian are the closest to each other and (as far as I understand) they don't have any problems understanding each other. Swedish is a little different, there are Swedes and Danes that don't understand each other. Although most of the time it will only take them a little bit of exposure to the other language to be able to understand. I had a Swedish friend who moved to Denmark and said for the first month or so she had a really hard time understanding the Danes, but after that she was fine. There are a lot of common words, but also a lot of differences. Oddly enough I can read Norwegian without too many problems but I can't understand it spoken too well. The Danes and Norwegians find that odd, but I think the different accent on the same words is what throws me off.

Again, this is from my understanding of it. Might be better to let the Nordic lot come in here and tell you who they do and don't understand. But the Danes do tend to get the most stick from the other countries for their unintelligible language :D

grey_ideas

calm kiwi
01-23-2006, 07:10 AM
My memory is a bit hazy, it is about 20 yrs since I was in Greece, BUT I seem to recall that Malacca (Malakka?) meant wanker.

The straights of Malacca (off Malaysia) always make me giggle.

calm kiwi
01-23-2006, 07:13 AM
Of course English to English can be just as amusing to the immature mind.

Fannypack is one of the funniest words/phrases ever.

grimpixie
01-23-2006, 08:21 AM
Kant in Afrikaans means "side" but the a sounds a lot closer to "uh" than "ah". Ander, which means "other", has the same pronunciation for the A.Another one in Afrikaans is the word "vak" meaning "subject" - particularly academic subject within a school context. In Afrikaans, a "v" is pronounced as an "f" and, as TMINC says, an "a" is pronounced as "uh". Imagine the hilarity that ensues whenever an Afrikaans teacher tries to talk about a "subject" to a class of adolescent boys...

Grim

matt_mcl
01-23-2006, 08:27 AM
In France French, "gosse" means kid; In Quebec French, it means testicle (sort of like saying "the boys", I suppose). Anyway, this leads to occasional misunderstandings, as exemplified by the following joke:

Frenchman: Embrasses-tu tes gosses avant de te coucher ? (Do you kiss your kids goodnight before going to bed?)
Quebecer: J'ai-tu l'air d'un acrobate, mo ? (Do I look like an acrobat?)

Mycroft Holmes
01-23-2006, 08:56 AM
When an alternative radio station played a (thankfully brief) bit of Kevin Federline's song "Popozao," they claimed that the title means "big butt" in another language but did not mention which one.

Popozo is indeed Brazilian slang for "big butt". It actually comes from the German "popo" (kiddie talk for butt) and the standard Portuguese ending of -o for an augmentative.

Other Brazilian slang words for a "big butt" would be "bundo" (from "bunda" for butt) or "bumbumzo" (from "bumbum" for butt).

Why yes, most Brazilian men are indeed butt men. :D The classic Brazilian beauty used to have a bubble butt, strong thighs, and small perky breasts. Lately silicone has also made its inroads into Brazil, and larger breasted women are no longer ridiculed.

Ellen Cherry
01-23-2006, 09:41 AM
Why yes, most Brazilian men are indeed butt men. :D The classic Brazilian beauty used to have a bubble butt, strong thighs, and small perky breasts.

I knew there had to be someplace I'd be hailed as goddess! :p

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