November 25, 2003

Why obscure languages are more fun to learn. Teach yourself Abkhaz, Schw
  • French (Fran├žais) is a minority language?
  • It bloody well should be! *hides from Wolof*
  • Actually, it seems all the major European languages are there: Italiano, Espanol, Deutsch, and so on.
  • Where is Tracy?
  • Statistically, anything other than Chinese (the two main dialects) and maybe English is a minority language, no?
  • Or should I say... non?
  • So, if you're not going to learn a foreign language to better communicate with people, you might as well learn a minority language: for the same amount of effort, you will surprise, amuse and impress the locals much more. I could probably use any one of these languages while waiting in line at the DMV.
  • Learn a random comment from any of the languages and start muttering it aloud wherever you go. Great way to make new friends!
  • I went to an international university for two years and my best friend and I made it a mission to learn how to say "I shave my head with a potato" in every represented language. I think we got up to 15, but alas, I have since lost our log. I now settle for my favorite French phrase: Pardon, ton chien est sur ma visage.
  • And also, I was drunk for most of those two years.
  • "Excuse me, your dog is in my view."?
  • I suppose it's hardly necessary for me to say that I love this post.
  • Learning curses in another language is always useful, when you have to say something, but don't want trouble. Yetta Skeet!!! is "eat shit" in Icelandic, btw. : >
  • languagehat: I saw that MeTa post and was happy. I actually spent some time a couple of years ago learning as many words for "bitch" in obscure languages. Can't remember a single one any more.
  • There must be some fundamental law someone which says that the first words you can ever learn in a foreign language are swears. And the last you remember are the words for beer.
  • The French I remember from high school: Je t'aime Je t'adore Qu'est ce que tu veux plus encore? (I think I spelled it mostly rightly.)
  • The only time I got to use French to some effect was standing in a checkout line at a Lucky grocery store in Berkeley in about 1960. Plastic flowers had just become a "thing", and there were lots of them there. So, the guy in back of me said something about how bad they were. And, I got to say, "Yes, se can't say "Mingon, allons voir si la rose.." anymore. Well, I thought I was pretty hot stuff.
  • Kimberly, when I was in high school my fellow German classmates and I tried to teach everyone we knew to say "Ich habe deine Kinder gegessen" ("I've eaten your children") by telling them it was a common greeting. Sadly, I don't think anyone fell for it. I've found I can get by surprising well nearly anywhere by knowing how to say: yes, no, please, thank you, I don't understand, and (last but not least) where is the toilet? My favorite words though are the little placeholders, the equivalent of "well..." or "hmmmm".
  • My favourite placeholder: "Anoooo..." for Japanese. You can drag that last vowel out as long as you like ;) I'm gonna try that German sentence out on my German friends tomorrow. If I get it right, maybe they'll collapse!
  • I knew an American girl once who spent a lot of time in Switzerland, and when you said, "How are you?" she would reply with, "So la-la." I have no idea if she was having us on or what.
  • I did try that sentence on my German-speaking friends. One of them corrected me on my pronunciation of "gegessen". I think I'll stick to Japanese.
  • /whistles
  • Deutsch ist sehr gut. Tetapi Bahasa Indonesia lebih bagus!
  • /tapdances
  • I've been accumulating a list of what non-whites call white people in their native language. Made a group of Indian students blush, but they were much more fun to chat with afterwards.
  • cor, this is old. certainsome1, if you're still alive, French is indeed a minority language in Italy and Belgium (I think). Not 'minority of world' but 'minority of community'.