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
Ever wondered what the English are actually on about? Why it’s tipping it down, or raining cats and dogs? Then this article is for you! Keep reading to find out the meanings of 10 English idiomatic expressions.
This is more of a traditional English idiom, which basically means that if too many people get involved in something, it can cause problems and ruin the expected outcome.
For instance: if there are 20 people putting up a marquee and they all have different ideas about how to put it up, the likelihood is they will struggle working as a team and it will take ages to put up the marquee, or the marquee might get broken.
As you all probably know, us Brits are obsessed with the weather, if we are not sure what to talk about, we talk about the weather. If we are fed up about the weather, we talk about it. If we are pleased about the weather, we talk about it.
We are obsessed. Tipping it down, refers to rain, so when it is raining really heavily, you can say, it’s tipping it down.
Another reference to the weather, if the rain is really bad or awfully heavy, you can say it’s raining cats and dogs.
Come on, get up and deal with it, calm down you can do this! This means you should organise yourself, calm down and get control of your emotions and deal with the situation at hand. Pull yourself together, you can do this!
No, it’s not about dogs. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think it’s about dogs! Barking up the wrong tree basically means you’re wrong. I suppose it’s just a nicer way of putting it, as we are known to be polite it England. So if someone has misunderstood what you’ve said or is wrong about something you can tell them that they’re barking up the wrong tree.
Adding insult to injury, means making something worse. Think of an injury, pretend you’ve insulted that injury and because of that it’s gotten worse… Does it help, no I didn’t think so… Never mind! In England this expression is used subtly, so if you are taking to a friend about someone else, maybe they are upset and you want to try to make them feel better, if your way of making them feel better will just make things worse for them your friend might say to you, ‘Don’t do that, you’ll only add insult to injury.’
No need to phone anyone! Call it a day means, to stop or finish something. Imagine you’ve been working solidly on a piece of work all day and you are very tired, so your work is getting progressively worse because you’re tired. If this happens a friend might suggest that it’s time to call it a day, and carry on with your work tomorrow when you feel fresher.
Another weather reference! But when you’re under the weather, you’re ill. Say you’re at work and you look quite pale and tired, someone might say that you look under the weather. It’s a more sublet and polite way of saying you look ill or unwell.
Imagine you are really worried about something happening, but the likelihood of it happening is next to none (impossible), someone might say to you, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,’ this is quite nice, it shows the person cares about you!
You’re sat chatting with your friends about your new boss. Your new boss walks past and one of your friends says: ‘Speak of the devil.’ Speak of the devil is used when you see a person you’ve been talking about. Beware, if you use it and they hear it, the person generally wants to know hats been said about them! Though it can be used more discreetly, when the person you’ve been talking about walks past but doesn’t enter the conversation.
In conclusion: the English don’t speak English, with a million different accents, dialects and forms of slang, English is certainly not easy to decipher!
This article was originally shared on EuropeLanguageJobs.com
English as a second language is becoming more and more competitive. Due to the weight the language carries in the modern, professional world, speaking English is fast becoming less of a benefit and more of an essential, or even basic, requirement when looking for a job in Europe.
Approximately 2 billion people study English worldwide and some countries find it easier than others to pick it up. Throughout the emerging generations of many nationalities, proficiency is almost ubiquitous as people are becoming more and more serious about language learning. For example, companies like ESL offer language courses abroad, giving people the opportunity to properly immerse themselves in a new culture.
Based on the percentage of English proficiency in the adult population, here’s the list!
The Belgian people have increased their overall English level since the 2015 figures and their hard work has bumped them up into the top 10 countries who speak English as a second language best! Welcome to the list Belgium.
With more and more Poles moving and working abroad their need to learn English has increased too. However, Polish as a language is on the rise in the UK, as Brits fall in love with Polish expats and look to learn their language.
The Germans, with their industrial efficiency, have always had a firm grip of the English language. The modern language of the business world is English and, as German businesses are dominating the European market, the pressure on professionals to speak English to a proficient level is higher than ever.
Just beating its geographical and linguistic neighbours to the number 7 spot, is Austria. Sharing its borders with a whopping eight countries, it’s little wonder that the people of Austria have an aptitude for languages.
For the very same reasons as Austria, it is hardly a shock to see this tiny landlocked country so high on the list. With heavy influences from both East and West, the country has three official languages: French, German and Luxembourgish – and on top of that, well over half of the adult population having a proficient level of English!
We start to head more to the north of Europe as we near the top of the list. Finland has a population of just under 5.5 million people, and almost 70% of its adult population speak high-level English.
Norway is far from a surprise entry in at number four. The Norse languages also have had a huge influence on the English language after the occupation of the Vikings over a thousand years ago.
Sweden has been knocked off the top spot and slip into third place since the 2015 stats. However, their reputation for about as near-native English as you can get, remains strong and I´m sure they’ll be back with a vengeance.
As approach the grand finale, the countries are becoming less and less surprising. Denmark, yet another Scandinavian country, comes in a number two. The language of the Danes is also growing in demand in Europe, but who could possibly have beaten them to the top spot in terms of English proficiency?!
Congratulations to the Dutch, not only on their ability to invent hilarious surnames, but also on their ability to speak the English language. Their linguistically gifted population has knocked the Swedes off the number one position…for now.
This list refers to Europe, however if it included all the countries in the world (obviously where English is not a native language) it would be almost identical but countries six to ten would each slip one place lower, as Singapore would slot in at number six.
It is unsurprising to see the top four dominated by Nordic countries – and the Netherlands. They have an increasing knack for topping lists, having very high living standards, population satisfaction as well as cost of living. Germany may have been Europe’s most popular country but they are maybe lower than you would have expected considering their mechanical proficiency in most things.
Also – and I believe this to be key – in the Nordic countries they do not dub the television into their own languages. Whereas, in France, Spain and even Germany, they translate the television into the country language, despite the majority of TV shows being American or English.
There is also a noticeable lack of southern European countries, with Austria being the southernmost point of the list. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Dutch reign supreme over the non-native English speaking world. In fact, I regularly meet Dutch and Scandinavian people and assume that they, like me, are English; that’s how flawless their accents are.
Inspired to improve your English or master a new language? There are several free apps such as Duolingo, as well as YouTube channels where you can receive free lessons. With today’s resources you’ve got no excuse for being monolingual!
Figures source: www.ef.com.es/epi
Australians love talking. They also love making shortening their words. When talking to Australians, these are 12 words you need to know to make sure you understand what they are talking about.
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
Just because Brits, Americans and Australians speak the same language, it doesn’t always mean that we can understand each other! Each country has its own unique brand of slang and colloquial expression that becomes part of the common vernacular, so if you want to talk like a true Brit, then pay attention to our list of the ten best British expressions that you need to know!
Although this sounds like it was taken straight from a Harry Potter book, don’t worry, this isn’t an expression relating to physical violence. Being gobsmacked means being totally surprised or completely lost for words.
The term collywobbles in Britain refers to the feeling of nervousness or fear that you might experience in the midst of a scary or tense situation. Another common way to express the same feeling is “I have butterflies”.
3. Donkey’s Years
If you have known somebody for ‘donkey’s years’, it means that you have known them for a very, very long time. The term refers to an unspecified period of time, but it always refers to a long period.
4. The Full Monty
This term has been confusing for overseas minds ever since the famous stripping film of the 1990s, but what the ‘full monty’ actually means is doing anything ‘the whole way’. Of course, this makes sense in terms of the film’s premise, but it can be applied to almost everything, for example, eating a typical English fry-up breakfast can be described as the full monty.
5. Her Majesty’s Pleasure
If somebody is living at ‘Her Majesty’s pleasure’, then it means that they are currently being incarcerated in a government run prison. It stemmed as a polite way to talk about it, but is now used as more of a sarcastic, satirical way to mention somebody in jail.
If somebody is described as being ‘legless’, it means that they have become so heavily drunk that they are no longer able to stand up on their own two feet.
7. Knees Up
One of the most classic of British expressions, to have a proper ‘knees up’ means to throw a major party complete with lots of drink and lots of dancing. It stems from a traditional Cockney song called Knees Up Mother Brown.
To be minted means to be very rich and not have to worry about your financial situation whatsoever.
9. On The Pull
If somebody is described as being ‘on the pull’, it means that they are out actively trying to bag themselves a romantic partner for the evening.
10. See A Man About A Dog
One of the funniest British expressions, telling somebody you need to go and see a man about a dog is the universal symbol of saying something because you are no longer interested in the conversation!
11. Lost the plot
Describing that someone has “lost the plot” means they are/have been acting ridiculously or irrationally.
12. The Bee’s Knees
This is a very cute way of describing something that is really good. It can refer to a person, an occasion or an inanimate object – well anything really.
So, now that you have armed yourself with these fun and quintessentially British phrases, there is nothing to stop you from walking into the nearest pub and chatting it up a storm with a group of natives!