"Fuck" is a seal in French: Funny language translations?

When learning another language, there are always certain words that are really funny or bizarre. The example I used in the title was the french word “phoque” (pronounced exactly like “fuck”) is a seal. In Taiwan, they say “gan” (“to do”) to mean “fuck,” but in parts of china they still use “gan” (also “gou”, I believe) to just mean “to do.” So, Taiwanese find it funny sometimes when a Chinese person asks what someone does for a living using the word “gan” or “gou.”

Also, there are certian words that are funny when written. Swedish is a good example of this. “Slut,” I believe, means “stop.” “Skulle” means “imagine.” “Fred” means “peace.”

This holds even among English and American: fanny, fag, etc.

I’m just curious what other words people find funny when learning languages. I mean this also for people learning english. For instance, the vegetable “beet” in english is pronounced exactly like the french word for “dick.”

Have a good one.

Family Guy:

Cleveland: The only British idiom I know is that fag means cigarette.

Peter Griffin: Then would someone tell this cigarette to shut up!


That me reminds me of something similar in the (Englsih-speaking) US, where they say “do” (“do”) to mean “fuck”. Meanwhile, in American English, people still use “do” to mean “do”.

The second person singular imperative form of the Latin verb *facio * (meaning to make or to do) is often written as fac and pronounced like you know what. This was the source of endless mirth at school in Latin classes.

“Gift” means “poison” in German.

You know what they say … one man’s fish is another man’s poisson.


In Russian there is a word for “boat” and a word for “bedpan.” Americans screw it up all the time, which provides endless amusement for Russian instructors.

My name is apparently a derogatory word for “Jew” in Amharic.

And *farhrt * means “travel” or “drive”; some interesting compounds are possible.

Make that fahrt.

…and I think “fart” means…damn…I forgot, but “infarting” means something like drive-in or entrance…

Bzzzzzt. “Phoque”, at least in my experience with it, has a definite ‘oh’ sound in the middle while “fuck” has the flatter ‘uh’.

Believe me, French people will be very, very particular about the pronunciation of this. :wink:

The Hebrew word for “fish” is pronounced “dog.”

It’s not only in America that ‘do’ has taken on the sexual meaning.

I think that’s where fart-vegnugen comes from.

Arche is arch in French, but Arsch is ass in German. This would ordinarily not be a problem, but my mom wears Arche shoes from France. I wonder what name they’re sold under in German speaking countries.

Then there’s slutspurt.

I Bzzzzzt you, Kythereia :wink: As a French Canadian, the sound in the middle of the word “phoque” is pretty close to the english “uh” - more so than “oh”. Hence the joke:

“Ils tuent des phoques pour en faire de la ouate! Ils me l’ont dit! Ouate de phoque!”

(They kill seals to make cotton balls out of them! They told me! ‘what the fuck!’)

Hee hee.

:o My bad, I stand corrected.

Phoque-ing French. :wink:

The Italian river Po and the British English po-faced (denoting a serious, disapproving or humourless expression) look just a bit amusing to a speaker of German as Po (noun, m.) in German means “bottom/buttocks/arse/ass”.

When I read about a po-faced British official I get an inappropriate mental picture.

You’re thinking of einfahrt and ausfahrt (literally, “intravel” and “outtravel”), which is how freeway entrances and exits are labeled in Germany. I remember a newcomer in Frankfurt telling how she was wondering where the big city of Ausfahrt was, since there were so many exits to it.