Learn a New Language, Sound Like a Psycho

Over the course of doing research for my writing I tend to stray into almost every corner of the internet. With research the rule tends to be that an avoidance of rules is best. If you try and lock yourself in to one topic it becomes dry and dusty. Plus I’ve stumbled onto fascinating and useful things for my stories so many times by following seemingly useless trivia that I’ve learned to let research go heavily unmonitored.

Which is to say that I can’t even remember anymore what I was looking for when I began digging up “Useful Phrase” guides in various languages, but the results quickly dropped the original topic from my head and I began to wonder who on earth is writing these things.

For starters there was this list of Russian phrases here:

The first circled phrase is weird. Even assuming you’re a world traveler in Russia on St. Patrick’s Day. Still weird.

The second circled phrase is…I mean wow.

It’s fun to try and get inside the heads of the people putting these lists together. Say you were looking for some sports in Italy. Well over at this site they’ve compiled this handy list:

Everything you might need to know. A football match? Well that’s as Italian as you can get. Very helpful. And from there they move on to…uhh..Badminton. Which, I mean, I guess you could find some use for. Lord knows when I’m in a foreign country the only thing I want to do is play a sport no one anywhere plays ever. Then we move on to swimming which is followed by questions concerning the local ice rink.

I haven’t been to Italy in awhile, granted, but was there some huge wave of ice skating fever that swept through the nation making such things common in every town and the desire of every traveler?

Of course the list rounds out with sailing and tennis which makes me think the person who wrote it was very very very white. I’m surprised, “Does your country club have adequate stables for my polo horses?” isn’t on there.

I like the helpful progression of Japanese phrases from this site:

Really, what else do you need? “It burns when I pee?”

Finally we have the phrase that started me off on this hunt to begin with.

Let’s say you’re in Spain. And you’re driving your hovercraft around as is the local custom. And then, I know it’s difficult to imagine your beloved hovercraft in such a situation but bear with me, and then you drive into a rock or something and your hovercraft sinks right next to a massive eel spawning ground.

Who’s got your back? This site does:

An otherwise awkward situation handily avoided.


  1. Laura Coraci says:

    If a clown is naked, does he have make up all over his body or still just on his face and hands?

  2. Do you really not know the Monty Python skit about the Hungarian phrasebook?

    • josephdevon says:

      Apparently not. 🙂
      Though generally when I don’t in any way understand something on the internet it’s safe to assume that it’s a reference to something I’m not cool enough to understand.