We all know every language has their own words, but even sounds are described differently around the world!
Here is a list of 35 languages and how they translate the “knock knock” sound.
Albanian – “Tak Tak”
Bulgarian – ” чук чук” (“Chuk Chuk”)
Cantonese – 咯咯
Chinese – 扣扣
Czech – “ťuk ťuk”
Dutch – “Klop Klop”
English – “Knock Knock”
Finnish – “Kop Kop”
French – “Toc Toc”
Georgian – “Kak-Kuk”
German – “Klopf Klopf”
Hebrew – “Tuk Tuk”
Hungarian – “Kopp Kopp”
Indonesian – “Tok Tok Tok” (mostly said 3 times)
Xhosa (South Africa) – “Nqo nqo”
Zulu (South Africa) – “Koko”
Italian – “Toc Toc”
Korean – 똑똑똑 / “Ddok Ddok Ddok”
Lithuanian – “Tuk Tuk”
Mandarin – “叩叩”
Norwegian – “Bank Bank”
Papiamento (Aruba) – “Tok Tok”
Persian – “Tagh tagh”
Polish – “Puk Puk”
Portuguese – “Toc Toc” / “Truz Truz”
Romanian – “Cioc cioc”
Russian – “тук тук” (Tuk Tuk)
Serbian – “Kuc Kuc”
Spanish – “Toc Toc”
Turkish – “Tık tık”/ “Tak tak”
Urdu – “Khat Khat”
Venda (South Africa) – “Ndaa”
Vietnamese – “Cốc Cốc” *
*Fun fact; this is also the name of a popular search engine in Vietnam
What if I told you 400 words is all it takes to survive in a language?
To express yourself in a foreign language is never easy, but by learning the most basic verbs, descriptive adjectives and nouns you can cover most daily interactions and have a head start when trying to learn this language.
Together we have created multiple guides to help you communicate yourself in any language.
The main focus of this guide is communication. Grammatical perfection is something that takes time, but communicating is the basis of any language.
The idea is that these words can serve as your basic skill set from where you can build understandable and descriptive sentences to allow you to communicate yourself.
The guide is built from basic verbs and sentences, as well as nouns and adjectives that can help you describe things or people.
That is why we have included lots of words like “big” or “small”, “dark” and “light”, but also words like “more” and “less”.
From here you can describe things as “More big”, which may not be grammatically correct but it will in most cases be understood.
You can also combine words like “Yesterday” and “Tomorrow” with your basic verbs, so you can say things like “I go tomorrow”, which in some languages is grammatically correct, in others it is not, but it will always be understood.
We are aware you can not become fluent with 400 words, but the idea is to give you a good base for you can communicate and understand the most basic things. From there on you can get the conversation going, ask questions and learn more.
Learning many words or grammatical often doesn’t make sense until you actually need it, so when the time is right you can move on and research the things you think are missing in your communication.
Whether you just want to cover the basics or continue learning this language until fluency, these 400 words are a great start for you.
Want to know more about our Language Survival Guide and the languages we offer them in? Make sure to check out our page and follow us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss any updates.
Author’s Note: This post was originally written during my time in Austria as an exchange student. I’ve left in the introduction in order for you to better understand my mindset as an exchange student.
I can’t really believe it, but I’ve spent half a year in this amazing country. The time’s flown, but somehow, part of me feels like I’ll be here forever. The fact that I’ll be in Wisconsin in four months…at college in six? That can’t be real…can it?
Ok, enough with the existential crisis. To celebrate my six months here, I thought I’d share my favorite words in the Austrian-German lexicon. Some of these are dialect words, while others are used in standard High German, but to me, they represent Austria.
Pronounced like “ge” in “get” and “now”
Genau is used as a general form of agreement, but I can say it’s used for everything. It’s also my favorite word in German. Basically, if The Fault in Our Stars was set in Austria, I would bet a significant sum that Hazel and Augustus would have “genau” be their always. (Genau? Genau).
Pronounced as it’s written
This is a filler word, similar to the English “oh” or “well”. It’s used in two contexts: To begin a speech, “Ahso, heute rede ich von…” (Ok, today I’m speaking about..); or to express understanding/astonishment, “Das Kinoticket kostet $5. Achso, ich dachte, dass es war nur 4″. (The movie ticket costs $5. Achso, I thought it was only 4).
Pronounced as “oohr”
Ur is an intensifier, a bit like the English “so”, or “really”. For example, it’s quite common to hear “Dass ist ur cool”, which translates to “That’s really/so cool”.
Oida is probably THE Viennese dialect word, at least as of now. It’s extremely versatile, and can be used in any situation, to express any emotion. Annoyed? Oida. Happy? Oida :0) Surprised? Oida!
I believe everyone knows the pronunciation and definition of this word, but if you don’t, here’s a hint on the meaning: Shit. Unlike the English, it’s not really an offensive word, more similar to “crap”. For example, saying it in school, in front of a teacher, elicits no reaction. Considering the sheer amount of times I’ve heard and used it, it really had to be included on this list.
Ok, I’m not even going to try and write this one out… Just try and pronounce it, if you dare. It means “squirrel’s tail” in the Lower Austrian dialect, and is generally used to tease foreigners for their accents. Also incredibly fun to say.
Well, that sums up my mini-dictionary of entertaining Austrian words. If you’d like to read a more in-depth post on the Austrian dialects, let me know, as I truly enjoy talking about it.
You may want to sit down for this because you are about to find out your Germanic mother gave birth to another language. That’s right. In the north of the Netherlands there is a province called Friesland, and the language they speak bears an uncanny resemblance to English.
If you are confused right now, you are probably not the only one. Not many people outside of the Netherlands know of this language, and in fact even within the Netherlands people often think Frisian is merely a dialect. For those of you who still think that, let me help you right here with this Germanic language family tree.
As you can see both English and Frisian are actually part of the Anglo-Frisian branch, whereas Dutch stems from Old Low Franconian. Generally people already consider Swedish, Danish, German and Dutch to be somewhat similar to English, but ‘genetically´ Frisian is the closest language to English. The influence of French on English and Dutch on Frisian might make these similarities harder to see, but we all know you can’t forget your roots.
When we compare certain words and word categories in English, Frisian, Dutch and German we can see how close the two languages really are, especially when we take a look at the pronunciation.
For example the word “cheese”. In Dutch it translates to “kaas” and in German to “Kãse”, which is all similar enough. The Frisian version however is “tsiis’, which on paper just looks like something typed by your cat when he walks across your keyboard, but when you consider the pronunciation of the double I is almost identical to the English double E, whereas both Dutch and German chosen a completely different vowel for this word.
Not only that, but in many other words where English has the “Ch” pronunciation, the Frisians have kept very similar phonetics (only they attach different letters to them).
Another set of examples of words where the Frisians have stuck to the English phonetics is in words like “sleep” or “sheep”. The Frisian “IE” is identical to the “II” sound, which as mentioned before is like the English “EE”, while for some reason both Dutch and German have both gone with an “A” sound in these words.
But the similarities don’t stop there. When you look at the English words like “Way” and “Day”, where the “Y” has been switched for a “G” in Dutch and German, in Frisian they have kept the “I” sound, and though it is written with an “e”, the “EI” sound in Frisian is comparable to the “YE” or “IE” in “dye” or “die”.
And last but not least, an “N” before a ‘voiceless fricative’ (meaning an “S”, “F’ or “TH”) can be found in Dutch and German, but is largely lost in English and Frisian.
Interestingly, though Frisian is still widely spoken in Frisian households the education is generally in Dutch. This means that when people in Friesland learn English it will most likely be taught in English, which means many Frisians don’t make the connections between English and their native language (and I say this from experience).
So now you know that Friesland is not only the province with the coolest flag (see Exhibit A) with it’s famous pompeblêdden (not hearts), but also that one province that speaks a language that is ridiculously close to English.
If you are interested in learning minority languages such as Frisian, try your luck with the Memrise App.
Bonus, the Frisian word for “this” is “dizze”, only proving my original hypothesis that Frisians are the real OG’s