People Share Their All-Time Favorite Words In A Foreign Language

"Goodbye" signs in various language seen at Disneyland's "it's a small world" attraction
JACQUELINE BRANDWAYN/Unsplash

All languages have certain words that roll so beautifully off the tongue.

It's no wonder why listening to vocal arias from operas and oratorios–which are typically in languages other than English–can be such a satisfying experience.

Examples coming to mind that are pleasant to the ear include, "Un Bel Di Vedremo" from the Italian opera Madame Butterfly and "Au fond du temple saint"–a duet from the French opera, Les pêcheurs de perles.


Curious to hear from strangers online, Redditor candela1200 asked:

"What is your favorite word in a foreign language?"

People found these words fun to say.

Not Always, But...

"Tokidoki - 'sometimes' in Japanese, just really fun to say lol"

– rogue_rocketeer_

It Flutters

"Papillon. Means butterfly in french and its fun to say."

– kk1289

Der Emergency Vehicle

"Krankenwagen"

"German for ambulance."

– 8thFurno

A Childhood Memory

"When I was a kid, the first Xbox 360 game I ever got was a Spanish copy of Halo 3 (I don't speak Spanish). At the beginning of the campaign, the characters keep saying 'careful' over and over again. Because of this, 'cuidado' has become one of my favorite Spanish words, and the voice they used has become my default voice to say other Spanish words. My other favorite has to be 'resbaloso'. A large, exaggerated r roll and a boisterous tone just makes this one of the most fun words to say in any language."

– AdriftMusic

A Favorite Pasttime

"Winkel. It means 'shop' in Dutch."

– MrRonObvious

These words are not compliments.

Those Darn Kids

"Gowniaki - polish for 'Sh*tling' in reference of annoying kids."

– BmMjO

Referring To Contemptible People

"Pendejo."

– Broccoli_Vivid

Like The F-Bomb

“'Tabarnak!' I love how, instead of being bodily-function based like English swear words, French Canadian sacres are mostly related to Catholicism. This one is my favourite as it’s the rough equivalent of the versatile 'f''k' swear in English, so many uses."

– jerrys153

You may want to sound these out slowly.

Well, We've Tried

"Verschlimmbesserung - German noun for an attempted improvement that only makes things worse."

– JR_0507

The Translation Doesn't Track

"Meerschweinchen, it’s German for Guinea Pigs, I like it because it literally means 'little sea pigs'. Which makes no sense."

– AdvantageBig568

What An Inebriate Would Say

"kalsarikännit - originating in Finland, in which the drinker consumes alcoholic drinks at home, dressed in as little clothing as possible, mainly in underwear with no intention of going out."

– evendronesflyaway

My favorite word or phrase really, is "Oh la, la, c'est cher"–which means, "Oh my, it's expensive," in French.

It was one of the first phrases I learned in middle school when I started taking French as an elective.

When I went home and shared with my mom what I learned, she was so amused by how the alarming phrase sounded. She couldn't stop laughing.

This led to her constantly asking me to repeat it whenever we were in the presence of her friends, and I milked it.

This is one of my treasured memories of my mother.

Teacher at a chalkboard
Tra Nguyen/Unsplash

Generally in the eyes of many young students, educators are inspiring individuals who are passing on their wisdom to prepare the future leaders of the world.

But as with all humans, they have flaws. The difference that sets certain teachers apart are the ones who maintain their professionalism and don't let their deeply-shelved insecurities interfere in the classroom.

And then there are the kinds of teachers who were just never meant to be in an academic setting at all and are eventually dismissed for various indiscretions.

Keep reading...Show less

Many folktales and fairy stories began owing to unusual things sailors might have spotted out at sea.

Mermaids, sea serpents, lost colonies, the list goes on and on.

Sadly (or thankfully) there is no photographic evidence of monstrous sea life, such as giant squids or dinosaur-like sharks.

But that doesn't mean that sailors and people stationed out at sea haven't seen some unusual things.

Things they still have trouble explaining to this day, and will never forget for the rest of their lives.

Keep reading...Show less
Man with head in his hands
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

An aged old proverb reflecting on when people perform what they think are well-meaning, helpful acts, but in reality, only worsen a bad situation.

A day seldom goes by when people won't notice an example of this, either on the news, in the book they're reading, or simply walking down the street.

This could be anything from someone making promises to help out, but never delivering on them, to saving money for a less expensive cleaner, which turns out to radiate toxic fumes, resulting in the building being closed for an indefinite length of time.

Ideas which might seem good in theory, but are impractical, illogical, or even harmful, in practice.

Keep reading...Show less
A glowing red sign that says "Nintendo Virtual Boy"
Photo by Senad Palic on Unsplash

Unless you grew up with the most doting parents on the planet, there's probably a toy or two that you really wanted as a kid, but never received.

Whether it was too expensive for your parents to afford, or something like a noisy toy that was going to be way too annoying for your parents, there are probably some toys that you really missed out on as a child.

Keep reading...Show less