You don’t really know a language until you understand its slang, humor, and regional varieties. And if you want to learn the subtleties of the language, you must speak with natives. Below, I have complied a list of funny and inappropriate questions that will help you learn a language while having fun!
Even if you know nothing in the other language, these questions will make fun conversation topics. Needless to say, be careful discussing them in polite company!
“What are some bad words in your language?”
One of my favorite things to do when I meet someone from a new country and we begin talking about their language is ask them about slang words. Ask them to list as many as they can think of. Teach them your favorite and most graphic curse words in English.
Are there any curses that involve one’s mother?
For some reason this is a common one. We say motherfucker in English. In Spanish they say puta madre. In Serbo-Croatian they say idi u picku materinu! I won’t translate any of those.
Do you ever curse out God, church, or religion?
God damn it. Jesus Christ. Jebem ti Boga. Dios mio. Tabarnak. Hostia. Mon Dieu.
“How would you say fuck you, you fucking fuck?”
You’ll learn that the word fuck usually has 100 different translations. We use it in English as a universal filler. Teach your new friend as many as possible.
Do the slang words change by region?
This can either be within a country, or between various countries that speak the same language. For example, each country of South America says cool differently. In England they say wanker and bollocks.
Are there any funny regional differences?
In England a fag is a cigarette. In Australia thongs are sandals. In Spain coger means to grab or take, but in South America it means to fuck. This stuff is ripe for comedy.
What are the differences in accents by region?
People love talking about the accents in different parts of the country or parts of the world. People always think that everyone else has a funny accent, but they don’t. They’ll usually start making fun of other accents and saying how they sound stupid or provincial.
Are there phrases that don’t translate literally into English?
The answer is yes. There are always tons of expressions that don’t translate. Why do we say, “it’s raining cats and dogs?” It doesn’t make sense. The Spanish express surprise or frustration by saying, “Me cago in la leche.” It means “I shit in the milk.”
Are there any weird phrases that actually do translate?
We say, “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush,” and the Spanish say, “A bird in hand is worth one hundred flying.” Pretty close.
What are some funny old sayings in your language?
My friend in Bulgaria told me they say, “A hungry bear won’t dance.” I love it.
Are there any classic jokes in your language?
Why did the chicken cross the road? Knock knock…
Are there any funny false friends?
A false friend (or a false cognate) is a word that sounds really similar to a word in English, and tricks you into thinking it’s the same word, but it actually means something entirely different. In Spanish, molestar doesn’t mean to molest as one would believe, but it means to bother. Another funny one in Spanish is embarazado which seems like it would mean embarrassed, but actually means pregnant.
Are there any words in English that come from your language?
People might not know this off the top of their head, but it’s worth it to look it up together. My favorites are German words in English: kindergarten, poltergeist, zeitgeist, doppelganger, blitzkrieg, etc. Think rendezvous and déjà vu.