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


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". :)

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?

OlivierM 9:26 AM on 25 Mar 2009

For us french, it's chinese as well.

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.

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.

Giacomo 12:06 PM on 25 Mar 2009

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

ernst 3:05 PM on 25 Mar 2009

In Germany we refer to Spanish

Juri Pakaste 4:16 AM on 26 Mar 2009

Hebrew for finns.

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).

Doug L. 12:42 PM on 27 Mar 2009

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

Ned Batchelder 1:35 PM on 27 Mar 2009

@Doug L: good one!

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.

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).

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

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

~~ Paul

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