Seven Foreign Language Phrases To Impress Your Parents When They Ask How Your Language Minor Is Going

The school year’s only just begun, so you may not yet be worried about things like ‘proving your intelligence over holiday breaks.’ That’s fine, since I’m worrying about it for you – it’s practically September, which means Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Which means you will be put on the spot over a dried-out roast turkey so your parents can feel good about the money they’ve sunk into your education despite your questionably-useful language minor.

Don’t stress. I’ve got you covered. I hold a dual minor in creative writing and Italian, the two most non-lucrative subjects. Let me show you how it’s done by providing you with a few foreign language phrases you can memorize and whip out to turn your Doubting Thomases into Adoring Peters.

12 years of Catholic schools just so I could make that reference. Worth it.
  1. Faire un partie des jambes en l’air (French)

There’s no better way to shut down inquiries into your college experience than with talk of your sex life, especially when it’s done in a foreign language! This French phrase means ‘to have sex,’ but it translates literally to ‘play a session of legs in the air.’

2. Mir stehen die Haare zu Berge (German)

This sexy little idiom is the German equivalent for ‘I’ve got goosebumps,’ though it translates literally to ‘my hair stands up to the mountain.’ Germany, you weirdos. I love ya.

3. Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca (Italian)

We say, “have your cake and eat it too.” The Italians say, “have a full bottle of wine and a drunk wife.” Which of us do you think is having more fun? (The Italians. It’s always the Italians.)

Even their anger is fun.

4. Daar kikker je van op (Flemish)

Having grown up in Belgium speaking Flemish, I can attest to this one personally. It translates literally to ‘this’ll frog you up,’ but it means ‘this’ll make you feel better.’ Keep in mind that the ‘j’ here is soft – pronounced like ‘y.’ The one circumstance where soft is preferable to hard.

5. Klap lige hesten (Danish)

Scandinavian languages are tricky, so first of all, congrats to you for being weird and brave enough to undertake learning one. Second, remember that pronunciation isn’t phonetic – for instance, this phrase, literally translating to ‘just pat the horse’ and meaning ‘just calm down,’ is pronounced more like ‘clahp lee-eh hess’n.’ … Godspeed.

The sole reason I would learn Danish. Jeg elsker dig, Mads.

6. Tienes la cara como una nevera por detrás (Spanish)

Simple. Cutting. Confusing. This  phrase translates to, ‘you have a face like the back of a fridge,’ which is a cool Spanish way of calling someone ugly. Never change, Spanish.

7. Jugeullae? or 죽을래? (Korean)

This phrase, meaning ‘do you want to die?’, is an abrupt way of telling someone to knock something off. So maybe you can use it on your jerky sibling who won’t quit pestering you to ‘say something cool in Korean!’

What other weird idioms/phrases do you know in other languages? I wanna hear them. Or I just wanna swoon over Mads Mikkelsen with you. Either way, reach out!

xoxo, Grace

image courtesy of delfi

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