In English, if something is incomprehensible, we'll say, "It's Greek to me". What do Greek speakers say? It turns out they point to Chinese or Arabic.

tagged:   /   via: Kottke» 14 reactions

Comments

[gravatar]
AdSR 7:42 AM on 25 Mar 2009

There's probably more. Polish speakers point to Chinese as well, and we also have an expression "It's like sitting at a Turkish sermon". :)

[gravatar]
zproxy 8:49 AM on 25 Mar 2009

Estonians also refer to chinese as it is more obscure than greek ever is.

Why don't you?

[gravatar]
OlivierM 9:26 AM on 25 Mar 2009

For us french, it's chinese as well.

[gravatar]
milosh 9:40 AM on 25 Mar 2009

For us french, it is also sometimes hebrew. But contrary to what the graph says, I have never heard of something being javanese to a french speaking person.

[gravatar]
David Boudreau 11:42 AM on 25 Mar 2009

On that graph in your link, Japanese would probably point to itself. I'm not aware of any such phrase in Japanese, there very well could be one.

[gravatar]
Giacomo 12:06 PM on 25 Mar 2009

In Italy, "to me, it all looks like Arabic".

[gravatar]
ernst 3:05 PM on 25 Mar 2009

In Germany we refer to Spanish

[gravatar]
Juri Pakaste 4:16 AM on 26 Mar 2009

Hebrew for finns.

[gravatar]
Andre 4:19 AM on 26 Mar 2009

Ernst: "Das kommt mir Spanisch vor" - word-by-word translated: "This appears Spanish to me" does not neccesarily mean that I do not understand something, rather that something is suspicious.

Also germans sometimes refer to chinese ("Fachchinesisch" meaning gobbledygook).

[gravatar]
Doug L. 12:42 PM on 27 Mar 2009

Luddites say "It's all geek to me!"

[gravatar]
Ned Batchelder 1:35 PM on 27 Mar 2009

@Doug L: good one!

[gravatar]
V Helgason 7:18 AM on 30 Mar 2009

In Icelandic we say, similar to the Germans - "This looks Spanish to me" (Kemur mér Spánskt fyrir sjónir) meaning it is new/foreign to me.

[gravatar]
Aggelos Orfanakos 5:54 PM on 22 Apr 2009

Actually, I've never heard of any Greek saying "it's Arabic to me" -- only "Chinese". It's true, though, that we find Arabic writing to be rather cryptic (as almost anyone, apart from Arabs).

[gravatar]
Paul C. Anagnostopoulos 2:56 PM on 31 Jul 2009

Yes, my mother would says "It's all Chinese."

~~ Paul

Add a comment:

name
email
Ignore this:
not displayed and no spam.
Leave this empty:
www
not searched.
 
Name and either email or www are required.
Don't put anything here:
Leave this empty:
URLs auto-link and some tags are allowed: <a><b><i><p><br><pre>.