Learning new words and phrases in another language is such a novelty. It is even more interesting for Australians living on a giant english speaking Island who would use subtitles in live conversations if they could.
I always try to learn Hello and Thank you when I am new to a country. I find that people open up so much more and are so appreciative that you made even the slightest effort.
So here are 5 of myfavourites that I have picked up along the way. Please feel free to use them at your leisure. (Sorry, they are spelt phonetically to a degree.)
1. DAS IST MEINE HAMBURGER
We learnt this in year 7 German class from a hilarious text book and now whenever I meet someone from Germany I feel it my duty to say it. It means THIS IS MY HAMBURGER. It is particularly funny when used out of context!
2. ESTOY PEDA, BESAME
A hilarious car ride in Mexico City with some random new friends and an impromptu language lesson has firmly imprinted this saying in my mind. My english speaking friend actually taught me this one, only to ask me what it meant a few days later when I repeated it to her.
It means – I’M DRUNK, KISS ME. You will have Mexicans rolling on the ground laughing when you murmur these words.
3. NO ME MOLESTES!
In 2006, I was a fresh faced traveller on my first trip to Spain staying in my first ever hostel. A lovely lady from Argentina and a girl learning Spanish from England decided to help me in my naivety and protect me from some of the more passionate Spanish men. They said ” You are blonde with blue eyes and you must learn this phrase- NO ME MOLESTES” What does it mean?
DO NOT TOUCH ME or GET AWAY FROM ME!! I loved it!
This phrase came in particularly handy at the La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain. At this festival there is a goal of ripping off as many people’s t-shirts as possible, so when my friend was wrestling with a feisty young man I simply said “No me molestes” and he said…. Lo siento…Sorry and left! VIVA ESPANIA!
4. JELDI CHELLO
I was in India in 2005 with my father for a business trip and on a rare day off we went out into the desserts of Rajasthan to see some incredible Forts and temples. For some unknown reason Dad and his friend wanted to stop on the side of the road to look at some shiny metal nestled in some of the rocks. It was 45 degrees celsius and we were in the middle of no-where…. so I asked our guide how do you say HURRY UP!
I now love using this when around my Indian friends as they just love to see the young blonde girl shouting at everyone to hurry up… and in Hindi none the less.
5. I’M DRY AS A DEAD DINGO’S DONGER
I know this is one from my homeland but it is too good to pass up and the look you get when you say it to a foreigner is just priceless. It’s not a phrase I would use in my daily repertoire but it is a well know old Aussie saying. My Dad, being an expat from the UK, just loved it when he first heard it when they arrived here back in the 80’s and he loves to use it occasionally in front of visitors.
Simply means I’M THIRSTY. But the imagery associated with it is probably the true magic in the saying.
Enjoy these phrases next time you visit these countries or meet someone of that country. I hope you at least get a laugh…. preferably not a slap in the face 😉