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Foreign Language Tirade

Sometimes a character comes from a country other than the one the show is set in, but contrary to the typical portrayal of foreigners, he speaks the language just fine. However, every so often, events get under his skin to such an extent that he can't think through how to say what he's trying to say in the language of the show, and instead simply launches off on a rant in his native language. Common enough in real life as well. Likely to involve Foreign Cuss Words in the middle (perhaps some that aren't even from Earth), but it's perfectly possible to have a completely clean rant as well. Angry kin trope to Eloquent In My Native Tongue.

Sometimes referred to casually as "going Ricky Ricardo" after the character on I Love Lucy, who was famous for this trope and is likely the Trope Codifier.

See also Foreign Cuss Word and Angrish, where the person gets so angry, they stop being able to speak in full sentences.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts has Minami who when shocked, loses the ability to speak Japanese and begins to spout gibberish in German. It takes a while before she snaps out of it.
  • In Suisei no Gargantia, Ledo has to painstakingly learn the Earth peoples' language over the course of the show, but by episode 8 he is reasonably competent with it. Then, when he tries to explain the hostility between the Galactic Alliance and the Hideauze, he gets rather emotional and lapses back into his native tongue all of a sudden, leaving Chamber to do the translating.

    Fan Works 
  • Adele Couteau on the Heroes-based Eclipse RPG is quite prone to using French tirades to bestow curse-ridden insults and threats of violence upon her enemies. Not even her fiancé is immune to recieving them on occasion...
  • Wrong Place Wrong Time from CSI NY has Stella tirading in Greek in one chapter.
  • Done by Asuka in the Evangelion doujin RE-TAKE. Since she isn't what you'd call an open person, the only way she can stand admitting her feelings for Shinji is by speaking in her native German.
  • A Shadow Of The Titans: Whenever Jade gets angry, she goes into a rant of Gratuitous Japanese cursing. Presumably, this is a result of her transformation into a Shadowkhan (who are Japanese in origin), since she herself is Chinese.
  • In the Walking Dead Game fanfic, What a Difference, https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9826124/10/What-a-Difference , Christa is prone to do this in French.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • Reality Is Fluid has a bit where Eleya, a Bajoran, gets pissed off when the referee in the springball match she's watching misses a call.
      Eleya: HEY! That's a foul! Y'trel bo tava tu san yc'fel, Dakhur'etil va'yaputal!
    • Another one from Eleya, this time in the prequel "The Universe Doesn't Cheat" after the Kobayashi Maru, well, cheats.
      "Sher hahr kosst. Phekk’ta yepal y’kren al’borea tash kelot!"

    Film — Animated 
  • Stromboli from Pinocchio goes into a basically unintelligible rant in Italian after bending a metal puppet part he found with his teeth.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the version of The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan, the British twin starts ranting in French while she's pretending to be the American twin.
  • Appears in Lorenzo's Oil about midway through, when Augusto has just about had it with Michaela's guilt-ridden obsessiveness.
  • In To Catch a Thief, Danielle (Brigitte Auber) curses the protagonist in French at her father's funeral, accusing him of being the notorious jewel thief and having caused the death of her father. Since both accusations are wrong and she knows it, the rant is actually completely fake.
  • The Diamond Arm, a Soviet comedy staple, combines it with the Unreliable Narrator in the scene with arguing Turkish contrabandists. Their increasingly expressive outbursts (which are, incidentally, complete gibberish) are extremely politely and tersely "translated" in a typical Soviet newscaster interpreter diction, until the "interpreter" simply gives up and just describes the rest of a fight as a "untranslatable wordplay using local idiomatic expressions".
  • Monica Bellucci's character in Shoot 'em Up goes on little tirades when talking to Smith, particularly after he saves her from the villain.
    DQ: [rapid Italian cursing]
    Smith: I don't have a clue what you're saying, but I know exactly what you're going on about, and no, I won't apologize.
  • Lampshaded in Lord of War:
    Yuri Orlov: Curious how you always revert to your native tongue in moments of extreme anger... [cut to Yuri and Vitaly having sex with two girls they picked up] and ecstacy.
  • The speech (you know the one) in The Great Dictator takes this form, with an English-speaking interpreter translating providing running commentary.
  • The CIA agent in French spy satire OSS 117: Lost in Rio speaks French fluently but enjoys insulting Agent 117 in English.
  • Aleksander Krupa's character in Home Alone 3 blows up in a short tirade against the protagonist after he doesn't find his chip in a toy car, possibly in the actor's native Polish.
  • The German villains of the first Taxi film speak French throughout most of it, but when their plans are foiled towards the end, their leader starts letting out a stream of expletives in German.
  • Puss in Boots screams in Spanish in Shrek 2 when Donkey carelessly tosses him off the ride.
    Shrek: (after robbing two men of their clothes) Thank you, gentlemen! Someday, I will repay you. Unless, of course, I can't find you or if I forget. Hee-yah!
    (Shrek tugs Donkey. Puss in Boots falls off.)
    Puss in Boots: ¡Eh, tú, pedazo de carne con patas! ¡¿Como te atreves a hacerme esto?! (translation: "Hey, you slab of meat with legs! How dare you do this to me?!")
  • Inverted Trope: In Kill Bill, O-ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu), a Japanese crime boss, rants at her Japanese followers in English (obviously so Liu, who doesn't speak Japanese, can act the scene better). She said she would rant in English to show how serious she was. (In the background, someone was translating back into Japanese, far more calmly.)
  • Hugh Simon (Kenneth Mars) goes into an impressive one in Whats Up Doc in what is supposed to be some Balkan language after it is revealed that he plagiarized another musicologist's theory and is stripped of his prize.

    Jokes 

    Literature 
  • Discworld:
    • In The Truth, Otto Chriek is heard to give one of these after knocking over some of his iconography equipment. Apparently, Uberwaldean is one of those languages that's good for swearing in.
    • In Snuff, Miss Beedle mentions that her mother used to swear in goblin, which is a good language to swear in, and can go on for some time.
    • In Making Money, Aimsbury the chef suffers from an involuntary version; he's allergic to the word "garlic" (just the word) and one of the symptoms is that he yells angrily in Quirmian.
  • In The Two Towers, one orc goes off into a long unpleasant rant in the Black Speech.
  • In Chess With A Dragon, an infuriated Madja rants for five minutes straight, in at least six different languages, before she starts repeating her obscenities. Later, Yake blows her record out of the water, ranting obscenities for fifteen minutes straight, without repeating himself, in at least twelve languages (including Pascal!).
  • There's one Animorphs books where Erek the Chee does this with an ancient Byzantine language known for having a lot of swear words.
  • In The Godfather, when Vito Corleone learns that his young son, Santino, was involved in a stupid armed robbery, he loses his temper for one of the few times in his life. He has his son brought to him, and then cusses him out in Sicilian Italian, described as a dialect more satisfying than any other for expressing rage.
  • In the Alex Rider book Ark Angel, Nikolai Drevin starts babbling in Russian after accidently shooting his son.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Star Beast, the Hroshiu Commander is translated as saying: "Contempt... lower animal... eat you with relish... follow back your ancestors and eat them as well... your despicable race must be taught manners... kidnappers... child stealers..."
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe book Solo Command has Warlord Zsinj (who knows a lot of different alien languages) do this after Han (predictably) does something to piss him off. Han even has one of the bridge crew record it so that he can play it back to Threepio later and get a translation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ziva David on NCIS has lapsed into an exasperated rant in Hebrew at least once, but because the actress is Latina, viewers fluent in Hebrew find the pronunciation somewhat, odd.
  • Cue Card "boy" Tony Mendez will sometimes do this on The Late Show With David Letterman
  • Catalina from My Name Is Earl does this at least once with a tirade against Joy in Spanish; doubled as a Bilingual Bonus since what she is actually doing is commenting to her fans through the Fourth Wall.
  • One of the soldiers in Generation Kill will occasionally start screaming in Portuguese on the radio net.
  • Some of the Chinese dialogue in Firefly probably counts, although it's not exactly a foreign language as far as the characters are concerned.
  • Radek Zelenka of Stargate Atlantis frequently rants in Czech when frustrated; these are split 50/50 between context-relevant statements and tirades directed at the viewer or the actors present. The character of Zelenka was originally written as a Russian, but was changed to Czech in order to allow David Nykl to use his native tongue.
    • Then there's the long graphic description of Atlantis rising out of the water when recording a message to his family on Earth. Ford, who doesn't understand a word, asks if he's revealing anything classified.
    • In another instance, when he and Sheppard are searching for a crashed Jumper on the floor of the ocean, Zalenka does one of his characteristic rants, to which Sheppard responds "I think my Czech's getting better, because I know what you mean."
  • The West Wing: in what may be President Bartlet's Crowning Moment Of Awesome, he rants in Latin in the National Cathedral, at God.
  • In Nickelodeon's The Mystery Files Of Shelby Woo, , her grandfather (who raises her and is played by Pat Friggin' Morita) is said to rant in Chinese when angry. And he
  • Stella appears to do this at least once on CSI NY, though the other time she speaks Greek, it's got a friendlier meaning.
  • April does this once in a while in spanish on Parks and Recreation.
  • Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy is probably the Trope Codifier.
  • Santana, a Latina woman with well known anger management issues on Glee, launched into a Spanish one of these after Finn and Rachel's kiss lost them a nationals championship. It wasn't only a tirade, if her teammates weren't holding her back, she probably would have attacked.
  • In The Office (US), during a roast Michael Scott arranges for himself, Oscar does this.
    Oscar(in a talking head): It wasn't hard. I just wrote down the things I usually yell during the drive home.
  • Ranjit, their regular driver, goes off on a Farsi rant in How I Met Your Mother before storming off in a Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate. Translated he says "Duck can swim, duck can walk, duck can fly, what do you want from an animal?"
  • When the alien characters on Farscape are sufficiently frustrated or angry their Translator Microbes can't quite keep up, leading to streams of ranting in their native languages. D'Argo is especially prone to this. Additionally, common swear words don't translate in the first place, so all swearing arguably falls under this trope. Ironically, Crichton's frequent raving in English also comes across as this to his shipmates.
    • Sometimes, just for the hell of it, he'll throw in a Klingon word or two, as fictional languages aren't translated by the Translator Microbes.
  • An episode of Grey's Anatomy has Callie's Catholic father arriving with a minister in order to "pray away the gay." One scene of the episode involves a long rant by her in Spanish to Sloan, who eventually tells her that he doesn't understand a word. Surprisingly, this is the only time Callie switches to Spanish, even though the actress is Mexican.

    Theatre 
  • In the 70s musical adaptation of Two Gentlemen of Verona, Proteus and Julia do this when they are reunited.
  • In Gilbert and Sullivan's Utopia Ltd. Tarara explodes into Utopia's native language despite orders for the king that people are to speak English. Since it shocks the ladies of the court, it's censoring out what he actually said.
  • Lampshade Hanging in Idiot's Delight:
    Pittaluga: Pezzo mascalzone farabutto prepotente canaglia...
    Don: And it will do you no good to call me names in your native tongue.

    Videogames 
  • There is a scene in World in Conflict, where French Commander Sabatier lets out an angry tirade in French after the American protagonists fail to recognize the cultural importance of a local church. He is cut short, however, by Colonel Sawyer, who reveals that he is fluent in French and well-versed in local history in his personal Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
  • In Mercenaries 2, Matthias Nilsson will sometimes curse in Swedish after losing one of Fiona's challenges. It is subtitled as [Curses in Swedish]
  • Salvador from Borderlands 2 will occasionally start yelling invectives and profanities in Spanish when gunzerking. The game doesn't bother to subtitle them.

     Webcomics 
  • In City Under The Hill often M.T. will slip into Polish cussing, this usually occurs when paperwork overflows, Seamus is hurt, or Slim exists.

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Amy Wong on Futurama occasionally rants in Cantonese.
  • Subverted in the South Park episode "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime", Kyle speaks in Pig Latin to an imprisoned Cartman over the nail file in the cake.
    Kyle: There's a ailnay ilefay inside of it.
    Cartman: A what?
    Kyle: An ailnay ilefay.
    Cartman: What's that?
    Kyle: Listen, aggotfay! An ailnay ilefay so you can eakbray out of isonpray!
    Stan: Yeah, you stupid umbassday!
    Cartman: I'd love to eat a cake, you guys, but they don't let us take anything back to the cells from here.
    Kyle: They on'tday?! [takes the cake down] Why the ellhay otnay?! It ooktay ourfay ourshay to akebay this Od-damnedgay akecay, and ownay we're otallytay ewedscray!
  • One episode of The Simpsons had two Russian cosmonauts screaming in Russian; their lines were subtitled simply as "Russian profanities" and "More Russian profanities".
  • In King of the Hill episode "Father of the Bribe", after Bobby offends Kahn and Hank defends the boy, Kahn walks off swearing in Laotian. Subverted in that Hank understands it ("Yeah yeah, I know, I'm a broiled ox penis"), probably because he's heard it so much.
  • The 1930 Mickey Mouse short The Cactus Kid has a scene of Minnie yelling at Mickey in Spanish.
  • In Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, the eponymous J-rockers tend to do this when they get upset.
  • In the American Dragon: Jake Long episode "Feeding Frenzy" Jake's dad insults Grandpa's mother in Norwegian thinking he won't understand him. Unfortunately, Grandpa also knows Norwegian.

    Real Life 
  • Hideki Kamiya of Platinum Games fame. His Twitter account is partly a Q&A account, but he will not hesitate to badmouth users who ask him annoying or repeated questions. If you come off as a massive nuisance to him, especially if you're talking to him in English, he'll cuss you out in Japanese before blocking you; expect the words kusotl , baka, and gaijintl  to pop up. Many Twitter users have learned the hard way.
  • Occasionally invoked towards suspected infiltrators or spies. Startle or attack them suddenly and see what language their outburst comes in.

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alternative title(s): Going Ricky Ricardo
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