In My Language That Sounds Like
Bill Lawry: Hail, Richie! Hail the great man! Hail!
No, Bill, that's his name, you dickhead!
In Real Life
there are a few words called "false friends", or "faux amis", that have homophones in other languages that can lead to amusing misunderstandings but in fiction the number and strangeness of these explodes. Words that mean one thing in language A but an obscene, rude or inappropriate thing in language B are technically called "Cacemphatons", which in itself is a sort of cacemphaton. A sort of in-universe Bilingual Bonus
, either a word in the work's language sounds silly in a fictional language or the fictional word sounds silly in the work's language. Overlaps with Bite The Wax Tadpole
. Often (even inevitably) leads to Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?
on the part of the (local) foreigners, who may consider you a Funny Foreigner
just on this basis.
There are also "false cognates", in which two words in different languages have similar forms and meanings, but different roots. For example, the English word "sheriff" and the Arabic "sharif", both being legal officials. The former comes from the Old English scīrgerefa
, meaning "shire-reeve", and the latter comes from the Arabic sharafa
, meaning "noble" or "exalted".
For when this happens between dialects of the same language or very similar languages, see Separated by a Common Language
. For when this is applied to foreign-language songs, see Mondegreen
. For when this causes character names to be changed in translation, see Clean Dub Name
. For when a girly name in one language is a masculine name in another, see Gender Blender Name
Don't confuse with the other meaning of False Friend
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Anime and Manga
- In Strawberry Marshmallow, there's an English girl named "Ana". It is discovered that in Japanese, "ana" means "hole", a fact which Miu reminds her of a couple of times in the next few episodes.
- Some Spanish speakers who watch Dragon Ball Z tend to giggle when the name "Kakarot" is heard, since the "kaka" part sounds like "caca" which means crap. It doesn't help that the Japanese pronunciation is "Kakaroto" which could be translated to "broken/torn crap".
- Same problem in Italy, "Kakarot" was changed to "Kaharot".
- This is the reason "Chichi's" name got translated as "Milk" in the mexican dub as "Chichi" means "tit/boob" in most parts of Mexico.
- Chi Chi also means "milk" or "udder" in Japanese, and is a baby word for "breast".
- Oddly Chichi was never renamed in Spain, despite it being a very extended slang for "vagina".
- Saying out loud in France that you're a fan of Kakashi is problematic for similar reasons, since "caca", pronounced the same as "Kaka", also means crap in French ; and "shi" is pronounced the same as "chie", which means "shit" (the verb).
- Rito Yuuki sounds pretty funny in Spanish, since his name sounds like a faux male form of the Spanish name "Rita", not to mention "Rito" sounds the same like the Spanish suffix -rito used mainly as a diminutive (like in Frito (Spanish for fried), Señorito (Young master) or even worse: Condorito.)
- Also, Mami Tomoe's name sounds disturbingly funny in many Latin American Spanish dialects, since her name "Mami" sounds the same as the Spanish diminutive for "Mommy", but also sounds the same as a very derogative term for a woman in some Latin American countries, especially in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Panama. Mami's mammies, too.
- And continuing with the Spanish language, Aquarion Evol had two unfortunate examples with two characters: Mikono Suzushiro and the villain Mykage Towano. Mikono's name sounds the same like the Spanish phrase "Mi cono" (My cone), or in more perverse meaning, if you replace the letter N of her name with the Spanish-exclusive letter Ñ, sounds like "Mi coño" (My pussy). Mykage Towano is even worse: his name sounds like "Me cagué (en) tu ano" (I crapped in your anus).
- Spanish language again: Chii sounds like the Mexican slang word chis which means Piss.
- In the opening of Kare Kano "Yumei dream" sounds like "You may dream."
- Probably unintentional, but in Shaman King, hao is Lakota for "yes".
- In an episode of One Piece in a completely serious scene Nami yells the name of the character Pierre. In Japanese that's pronounced "pieru" which is Finnish for "fart". (Also, "nami" is Finnish for "yummy".)
- In Bleach, Yammy has a dog. The latest databook reveals it's name to be Kukkapuuro, Finnish for flower porridge (Kukka = flower, puuro = porridge).
- Pani Poni sounds like Finnish for "Pony fucked".
- Simoun has Aeru, whose name means great love in the language of one of the neighboring kingdoms.
- Pokémon: Pokémon Pichu did not make it in the Czech Republic. You can get a lot of crap past the radar, but Country Matters in a kids' show would be too much to take.
- In the prelude to World War Hulk, Hulk stated that Blackbolt would be the most dangerous of earth's defenders. However, his warbound misheard this as "Blagbuld", which to Brood means "She who urinates uncontrollably".
- Discworld uses this gag a few times.
- The Fifth Elephant largely takes place in an Uberwald town called Bonk (it's pronounced "Beyonk"). The same book mentions that "morpork" (as in Ankh-Morpork, the central city of the series) sounds like "a part of women's underwear" in Überwaldian.
- Unseen Academicals has the dwarf fashion house Shatta. As Glenda observes, "You'd be hostage to the first typo."
- This trope became a running gag in Interesting Times, in which Rincewind's screams of "Arrrgh!" were variously translated into homonymous phrases that mean "I would like to eat your foot" or "Your wife is a big hippo".
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- In the first book, "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle" is a deadly insult in the Vl'hurg language, tantamount to an act of war; fortunately, the Vl'hurgs misjudge the size of Earth and have their space fleet eaten by a small dog when they launch an attack.
- And then there's the fact that "Belgium" is the most vile swear word in the galaxy everywhere except on Earth.
- Don't forget that according to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe every planet seems to have a drink or other food item whose name is pronounced approximately the same as "gin and tonics", no matter what said item ends up actually being. A throwaway line after the random explanation of this fact implies that it may apply to other drinks as well.
- In Diane Duane's Star Trek novel My Enemy My Ally, "Jim" apparently means something hilarious in Romulan, although we're never told exactly what.
- Consulting the Rihannsu dictionary, Jihm means "sworn enemy, nemesis". Given the situation, it's no wonder Ael finds it funny...
- A pun-based Shaggy Dog Story by Isaac Asimov concerns dueling political ad campaigns over a Mars-wide referendum on whether to allow dangerous experiments to be performed on the planet. The anti- side uses a traditional Ear Worm song as its jingle, while the pro- side uses the French National Anthem. The reader is asked to predict which side will win. The pro- side wins in a landslide, since the anthem's title, the Marseillaise, sounds subliminally like "Mars say yea."
- Animorphs has an example in The Secret. The Yeerks are using a lumber company named Dapsen lumber as a front. Ax says that "Dapsen" means something impolite in Yeerkish.
- In Shockball, Cherijo and Duncan (Omniglot by way of telepathy) are looking at baby names. Duncan throws out several Earth names on grounds of them being rude words in various alien languages. Cherijo vetoes an alien suggestion on grounds that the name should have vowels. They finally settle on Marel.
- Duncan has mentioned that one of the reasons he loves Cherijo is because her name doesn't mean anything in any of the — I'm gonna go with — hundreds of languages he speaks. (This is partly because her name is actually an acronym.)
- One book in the X-Wing Series mentions that the Twi'leks sometimes fiddle with the pronunciation of people's full names to avoid insulting the person in question. In particular, Tal'dira calls Wedge Antilles "Wedgan'tilles", which is close to "slayer of stars" in Twi'leki. Apparently pronouncing it the way humans do changes the meaning to something like "one so foul as to induce vomiting in a rancor".
- This is apparently rather common; in the Twi'lek language the meaning of a word or phrase can be radically altered by mispronouncing even a single syllable. It's sometimes done even to a fellow Twi'lek's name, for the opposite reason: twisting the pronunciation into something insulting.
Live Action TV
- Jerry Seinfeld dated a former Olympic athlete from Romania, where apparently "the Comedian" was a mythological great lover. At the end she told him, "You may tell jokes, Jerry Seinfeld, but you are no Comedian."
- Used as a joke in an episode of That '70s Show, where Fez's very religious exchange family plays a KISS (I think it was KISS) record backwards to try to find hidden messages. Amongst the backwards gibberish, his exchange parents hear "worship the Devil," while Fez hears "I want to sex your monkey" in his own language (which, of course, we don't know). Laughing about hearing it doesn't help his case.
- Or the episode where Hyde says that Fez should be "distant, zen, aloof" if he wants to attract women. Fez snaps when he hears the last word: apparently, "loof" is an insult in his language.
- An inversion of the Hitchhiker's example is the fact that in Babylon 5 every culture has invented the dish we call Swedish Meatballs, only they call it something different.
- Played to the max with a sketch in A Bit of Fry and Laurie in which every word Laurie's hapless businessman utters is a rude word in Fry's fictional language 'Strom'.
- When Borat hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, he at one point giggled when saying Shakira's name. He then explained that "Shakira" is Kazakh for "vagina". At the end of the show, he tells the audience he will later attempt to "Get into Brittany Murphy's 'shakira'."
- In the Mork and Mindy episode "Mork Meets Robin Williams", Mork tells Mindy that on Ork, "Robin" means... something we never get to hear. But apparently it's disgusting.
- In the Star Trek Universe, the name Frederick means something vulgar in Bolian.
- At one point on Angel, Lorne had created a password for something, and told Fred (who spent five years in Lorne's home dimension, Pylea) that it was the Pylean word for hedgehog. Fred's reaction is pretty much a schoolgirl giggle - to quote Gunn, "I'm guessing that means something very different in English". They never have to use it.
- One of the characters of Heroes is a Japanese geek named Hiro (pronounced almost exactly like the English word "hero").
- If Polla Felicia Pulchra had been born a couple of millenia later, she'd be horrified to know that her name totally sounds like "happy and clean cock" in Spanish. That kind of cock.
- In My Hero when deciding what to name their son, George suggests Pontius, which means "great heart" on Ultron. Janet understandably objects, since on Earth it's associated with Pontius Pilate.
- "Difficile lectu", which included the phrase "lectu mihi mars," a meaningless Latin phrase that sounds just like "Leck mich im Arsch", meaning "Lick me in the ass" in German and equivalent to "Kiss my ass" in English. Mozart really liked the phrase, which is a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Gotz Von Berlichingen. He made several other undisguised references to it in the names of other pieces.
- Another pun later in the same song is the word ionicu, which when pronounced rapidly in succession, sounds a lot like coglioni, the Italian word for "balls."
- Laura Vanamo - Se Tunne. That's not Japanese, folks; that's Finnish!
- My Dil Goes Hmmmmmm.
- My loony bun is fine, Benny Lava.
- An Arabic love song interpreted in Swedish: "Vinna kinky roooooooligt, hatt-baby." ("Win kinky fun, hat-baby.")
- There is a singer, Ebdo Mihemed, who sings wedding songs in kurdish. The problem is, they often sound to Finns like... well... various things, ranging from offensive to perverted to just plain weird, but always something hilarious, and he will always be lovingly known as "Pensseli-setä" (Uncle Paintbrush) to all Finns, because of a repeating phrase in one of his songs, Niilin Hanhet (Geese of the Nile). His songs can be found on Youtube, with Finnish subtitles. Other songs by him include Lakana (The sheet), Hajusavu (Scented smoke), Mursuvaara (The Danger of Walruses) and the amusing (but incompletely subbed) Olen Gaaaaay! (I am... well, just guess).
- The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples applies to this one, as a scene in William Shakespeare's Henry V has the French princess Katherine discover, to her amusement, that the English words "foot" and "gown" sound a lot like the French for "fuck" (foutre) and "cunt" (con). (It helps that her teacher mispronounces "gown" as "coun.")
- In the French version of Pokemon Black And White, Seismitoad is called Crapustule (from crapaud, meaning "toad").
- In Japanese, Jigglypuff is called Purin and Clefairy is called Pippi. In French, "purin" means "manure" and Pippi sounds like "pipi", which means "pee".
- An example of both types: In Simon the Sorcerer 2, a man called Um Bongo tells the protagonist that his name would mean Stupid rabbit's colon.
- In World of Warcraft, The Draenei's capitol city is called The Exodar and they revere these Energy Beings called Naaru. One of the Draenei quotes is "We did not realize, but in Naaru Language, Exodar means Defective Elekk Turd."
- In Mass Effect 2, you'll meet a quarian Admiral of the ship Qwib-Qwib, which renders his name Zaal'Koris vas Qwib-Qwib. Silly sounding, but not so bad. He mentions that he sometimes considers transferring to a ship with a more respectable name, like the Iktomi or the Defrahnz.
- In One Piece Unlimited Cruise 1 and 2, there's a funny bit for Swedish players. When using the Gomu Gomu no Fuusen you have to jump and then press the attack button. When jumping Luffy makes a noise sounding like (h)aahp, when using the aforementioned technique he says fuusen rather quickly. Time these to sounds right and Luffy says aputek, which is really close to the Swedish word apotek which means chemists shop.
- The town of Jachol in Final Fantasy V is basically pronounced the same as the Filipino slang word for masturbation.
- Filipino Neptunia fans will laugh at the name of the new goddess in Victory, Pururut. Because it's also the slang word for "loose bowel movement" (diarrhea). The name has been changed to Plutia for the English release.
- One anti-SOPA Minecraft splash screen reads "SOPA means LOSER in Swedish!"
- And AKTA means "to avoid", and PIPA means "loud and squeaky sound". Both in Swedish too.
- The name of Dr. Betruger in Video Game/Doom3 seems to hint at his role as a "Betrayer" (and German is always a great language for villains). However, while the words share the same origin, in modern German the word for "Betrayer" would be Verräter. Betrüger means a "con-man" or "swindler".
- In Girl Genius, Zeetha is the Daughter of Chump, a "great warrior". She knows what it means in the local tongue.
- Quite probably subverted. Word Of God has confirmed that Chump is Klaus Wulfenbach. In 2010 co-author/artist Phil Foglio released a few hand-drawn bookplates depicting Klaus as Chump (references here); he also told fan/helper "Taffy1" at a show. Current speculation is that Klaus declared himself "a chump" for the way he was shipped to Zeetha's homeland.
- In Schlock Mercenary, the ships in the fleet Petey built himself all have the initials "P.D.", including the unfortunately-named Poupance Duungsmeer, whose name apparently "only sounds dirty in Galstandard West".
- Get Medieval: On Neithe's planet, "Asher" is one of the eight circles of Hell. On Asher's planet, it's a girl's name. He's quite relieved to find out that it's a male name (out of the Bible, no less) on Earth.
- The Other Wiki has a lot of policies made of three-letter combinations that might sound different, weird or outright Squicky in several languages, but a personal favorite was to say that "COI" means "dick" in Romanian (and not even the dick, actually a ball, and so it's used in expressions like "he lost a coi" and... well, you get the picture). Even more funny for The Other Wiki is that its sister projects in other language would not acknowledge or talk about this freely out of some assumed respect for their "foul language big sis".
- Additionally, the image on To Serve Man could roughly translate into "taste similar [to a] dick[us]".
- One episode of The Simpsons had Homer giving a Kentucky mug to an Italian woman, who angrily declares "'Kentucky'?! In Italia, this means 'whore'!" and slaps him.
- It actually doesn't. But that episode is full of errors, to the point that could be intentional or Rule of Funny.
- The Brazilian version of Samurai Jack had to change the main villain's name from "Aku" to "Abu" because the former sounds like their word for anus.
- Similarly, the Dutch version of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Mystery of a Thousand Moons" had to have the so-called god of Iego's name, "Drol", changed to "Grol", due to apparent phonetic similarities to their word for "poo".
- X.A.N.A., the antagonist from Code Lyoko, unfortunately has a name that sounds exactly like one of the more vulgar nicknames for female genitalia in Portuguese. This makes things like Episode 43's title ("XANA's Kiss") and its subordinates("XANA's monsters") sound like things you'd find in the deep recesses of the internet rather than a saturday morning cartoon.
- In Cantonese, the word dik most often means, roughly, "that which belongs to someone." It's less provocative if you actually speak the language, as the word is pronounced "tick."
- The French term for Swedish meatballs? Boules suédoises, or "Swedish balls." So in France, you can mention that you like putting Swedish balls in your mouth.
- A lot of names are problematic in different languages. Marika for example corresponds to marica ('fag') in Spanish, while the Japanese name Junko might look really bad on paper to any English speaker without knowledge of Japanese.
- The German words for "thick" are "dick," "dicke," and "dicht."
- In Japanese, "ano" means "that" or "um". In Spanish and Italian, it means "anus".
- In fact, Japanese and Spanish (and possibly other Romance languages like French, Italian and others) share similar words, despite how different those languages are to Japanese. Here are some very visible examples:
- Pettanko normally means flat-chested, but in Mexican Spanish, it sounds very similar to the word petacón (male) or petacona (female), which is a Mexican slang for big ass.
- The Japanese slang word manko (Pussy) sounds the same as the word manco which means Someone without an arm.
- Japanese car makers also seem to have a knack for coming up with car names which are unacceptable in Spanish: there's the Mitsubishi Pajero (Wanker), the Nissan Moco (Snot) and the Mazda Laputa (Thewhore)!
- This sometimes ends up in an Incredibly Lame Pun when someone can't use the ~ symbol for in "año" (year) and asks "Cuantos anos tienes?" (Literally, "How many anuses do you have?"). Something hilariously similar happens in Italian, if you can't pronounce double letters: "anno" (year) becomes "ano" - so asking "Quanti ani hai?" is, once again, asking how many anuses you possess.
- In Portuguese, ano means years.
- In Latin, which both Spanish and Portuguese are derived from, annus is "year," while anus means exactly what you would think it means. Both are declined identically, and the only difference in pronunciation is the length for which the "n" sound is held.
- In fact, annus and anus also have identical etymology: the latter originally meant "ring" and was used as an euphemism, while the former came from using tree rings for dating.
- In Czech, "ano" (shortened to "no") means "yes".
- Old joke: In Estonian, the phrase for "twelve months" is "kaksteist kuud." When pronounced correctly, it sounds like the English phrase "cocks taste good."
- Finnish and Japanese have a great number of "shared" words. Sometimes the word-meanings can be uncannily similar. For example Japanese word "yopparatte", "being drunk", sounds oddly similar to the Finnish "juopporatti", a slightly archaic word for a hopeless drunkard.
- Finnish and Italian have many examples.
- Finnish katso! [ˈkatso] ("look!"), Italian cazzo! [ˈkatːso] ("dick" or "fuck!" as an exclamation).
- Finnish katso merta! [ˈkatso ˈmerdɑ] ("look at the sea!"), Italian ''cazzo! merda!'' ("fuck! shit!")
- Finnish katso minkkiä [ˈkatso ˈmiŋkːiæ] ("look at the mink"), Italian cazzo minchia [ˈkatːso ˈmiŋkja] ("cock dick")
- Finnish katso sukkia ("look at the socks") sounds like You No Take Candle Italian for a request for fellatio ("succhia" means "suck")
- Apina ("ape" in Finnish, "little bee" in Italian), Peto ("beast" in Finnish, "fart" in Italian), Kuulo ("hearing" in Finnish, sounds like Italian "culo", "ass"), Matto (Finnish "carpet", Italian "crazy") and Paasto ("fasting" in Finnish, while "pasto", ironically, means "meal" in Italian).
- Also, the old joke of the Swede that goes into a cab in Denmark asking to be taken to a fun place (ett roligt ställe), just to be transported to a graveyard (In Swedish "ett roligt ställe" = "Somewhere Fun", but in Danish "ett roligt ställe"= "somewhere calm"). This also plays off stereotypes that Swedes and Danes have of one another (cautious and fun-loving, respectively).
- Swedish and Danish are prone to this, as the two languages are very similar, with some amusing exceptions. For instance, the Swedish verb for "play ball" (bolla) sounds like the Danish verb for "have sex" (bolle) and the Danish word for "leek" (porre) sounds like the Swedish word for "porn" (porr).
- And then there's the fact that "chin" in Japanese means a....different body part than it is in English. Bilinguals tend to chuckle uncontrollably while reading The Three Little Pigs.
- A Syrian singer earned the nickname "Pensselisetä" (brush uncle) in Finland after videos of his wedding singing group were put on YouTube with Finnish subtitles on how the singing sounded like. The "narrative" includes pulling Nile geese up my ass, among other absurd and raunchy twists.
- In Dutch, the word for Cook is spelled Kok. Guess what that sounds like.
- And in the other direction, the Dutch "kut" sounds like English "cut" but means "cunt".
- The national currency of Vietnam is the đồng. An endless source of amusement for American soldiers during the Vietnam War.
- Similarly, the national currency of Botswana is the pula, which means "rain" in Tshwana but happens to mean "cock" in Romanian.
- The French word for 'seal' (the animal) is phoque [fɔk], which sounds like fuck. This has led to Quebecois teenagers wearing shirts that read, "Ouate de phoque" (sounds like "What the fuck"), which literally means "seal blubber."
- In Spanish they are called focas, too.
- Conversely, some English words sound odd in French. In Montreal, you can see some panels reading 'Garage Sale'. In French, it's read as 'Dirty Garage'.
- The taxonomic term (via Latin) for seals is "phocids". It's pronounced "fo-sids", but can sound obscene if mispronounced even in English.
- A new word had to be invented ("ordinateur") when computers began being sold in France, because "computer" sounds like "con putain" [kɔ̃ pytɛ̃] ("cunt whore").
- Famously, when releasing their MR2 sports car in France, Toyota had to shorten the name to simply MR. MR2 in French (emme erre deux [ɛm ɛʁ dø]) sounds just like est merdeux [ɛ mɛʁdø] ("is shitty").
- Urban legend has it that the Chevy Nova just would not sell in Mexico until Chevrolet realized that in Spanish, no va is the last thing anyone wants to hear about their car: "it doesn't go." But in fact, it sold just fine. Words sounding like "nova" mean "new" in Romance languages; examples include Spanish nueva and French nouveau. Like nueva, "nova" has the accent on the first syllable; no va has it on the second. In other words, "Nova" is just as likely to be read as "doesn't go" in Spanish as "Therapist" is to be read as "The rapist" in English: not likely unless you're on "Celebrity Jeopardy!" on Saturday Night Live.
- The above urban legend was based on the absolutely real instance where the Mitsubishi Pajero had its name changed in all Spanish-speaking countries, where the word, pronounced locally, means "wanker" (the car instead was named Montero)
- There's also Motorola who made an advertising campaign about their phone, Motorola Q. The ad had "My Q" on it, in French "Mon Q", which sounds exactly like "Mon cul", which means "My ass".
- About France, it can sometimes be a funny place to live if you know English:
- Don't get spooked when you see a French bakery. Even if it is likely to have only word on the sign: "Pain". Yeah, that's French for "bread".
- And "poisson" is just fish. In one of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics, Fat Freddy ends up in Paris by accident, and is discouraged from trying the local restaurants due to words like these on the menu.
- French saying: "Poisson sans boisson c'est du poison." (Fish without something to drink is poison).
- "Fanny" used to be a nickname for "Frances". It's still a common girl name in French-speaking countries. But in the United States, it means butt, and in the British Commonwealth, it refers to a ruder part of a woman's anatomy. The opening titles to Fran Drescher's The Nanny take on a decidedly ruder meaning in New Zealand.
- Most Americans are aware that the French word for yes sounds like an English slang word for urine or... the area urine comes from: "Oui" is pronounced as "wee." This is usually the default joke when the French language comes up in an American show, as it was for the first month after Nintendo announced the name of its seventh-generation video game console.
- In Japanese, "tako", pronounced the same as "taco", is the word for octopus.
- In Spanish, "taco" means, among numerous other things, the Mexican foodstuff, or, in Spain, "a four-letter word".
- Taco can mean lots of stuff in Spanish. In Chile it can also mean 'traffic jam'.
- Even a monolingual American can tell the link is authoritative! The webpage has "Real" so prominently displayed upon it, "real" in English means "true" or "actual", "real" in Spanish means either "real" as in English or "royal".*
- In Swahili, "tako" means "buttock."
- In French, "un tacot" is slang for The Alleged Car.
- In Serbian, "tako" equals English "so (+ adjective)" or describes how is something done.
- In Finnish, "takoa" means "hammer" (verb)
- Coca Cola can be transliterated into Chinese many ways, each with a different meaning. For obvious reasons, they went with the one meaning something akin to "to make the mouth experience joy." They actually had to choose something that's pronounced along the lines of "Coca Coleh" to do so, though, as none of the words reading as "la" were remotely appetizing* — "wax" was actually the most common word reading as "la", hence its ubiquity in the less appetizing unofficial names.
- While they were still looking for the official transliteration, some Chinese shopkeepers used random combinations with meanings such as "female horse fastened with wax," "wax-flattened mare," or "Bite The Wax Tadpole". Urban Legend incorrectly attributes this error to the Coca Cola Company itself — as mentioned above, they were careful to pick something that actually sounded like a name for a drink.
- According to Serbian slang, Coca Cola is pronounced the same way as "(he) is killing the car"
- Only if you deliberately mispronounce it. Serbian uses pitch accent so although both are spelled as "koka kola", they are not pronounced the same.
- In New Zealand, there is a town called Te Puke (pronounced something like Te Po-Key in Maori). It is a running joke in some parts of New Zealand to talk about American tourists wanting to go to puke...
- There are two streets on Auckland's North Shore called Pupuke Road ("pu-po-kee") - guess what many car navigation units have told people to turn left onto.
- The eastern Bay of Plenty town of Whakatane is commonly pronounced "[f-word]-ah-ta-nee". In 2008, the town's free public Wi-Fi blocked searches including the town's own name because of its pronunication.
- In Italy, you can go to the market and buy some "rape" (turnips). Also, "fagotto" is either a bundle or a bassoon. No offense to gay people implied.
- The word "fagot" is also in English and French and also in reference to a bundle (usually sticks or something similar). The variant "faggot" is apparently the British spelling.
- "Fag" is actually British slang for a cigarette.
- "Faggot" is also a (now obscure) British foodstuff, oddly akin to Swedish meatballs.
- "Fagot" is also Russian for bassoon.
- "Fagott" is the German word for bassoon as well. It's only "bassoon" in English, and "faggot" (or a homophone thereof) in every other language. It's not uncommon for bilingual dictionaries to have a note warning of the false friend in English.
- "Fag"(though it's pronounced differently) is also the Danish word for "subject" or "lesson".
- Fagot is also the NATO reporting name for the Mi G-15.
- In Spanish, "rape" means "angler fish", "al rape" means "close-cropped" (refering to hair) and "rapé" means "snuff".
- Also, "bother" is "molestar."
- In French, "râpé" means "grated" or "shredded", as in "fromage râpé" (grated cheese). A lot of French words with the circumflex (the "hat" over the â) used to have an "s"; compare the English word "raspy".
- Another example: Italian "asso" ("ace").
- More directly, the German "Ass", again, referring to the card and The Ace.
- The Italian word "caldo" means "hot", from the same root as "calorie" or Spanish "caliente". This can cause problems for tourists speaking languages where something similar sounding means the exact opposite, e. g. German "kalt" and English "cold". This is lampshaded in the Billy Wilder comedy Avanti!, where Jack Lemmon's character got an unpleasant surprise when he turned on the faucet marked "C" in an Italian hotel.
- Caldo could be a dish, similar to a soup, in Spanish.
- The Chechen word for their ethnic group is "Vainakh" (literally "our people"; more precisely, the term refers to the ethnolinguistic family that includes Chechens (Noxçi), Ingush (Ghalghai), Bats and Kists). "Voina" (pronounced "vaina") is, of course, the Russian word for "war." This is even funnier if you remember that Chechen people have been at war with Russia for the better part of the past two decades and have developed a certain image.
- "Numnah" is a Hindi word.
- Martin Luther had the misfortune of being tried at the Diet of Worms. (Pronounced dee-et of vorms, but how often are you going to hear it out loud?) Similar problems befall the existence of the Japanese Imperial Diet, Japan having copied much of its modernisation policies from German states.
- Parodied in The Fifth Elephant - the treaty setting out Uberwaldian life was signed at the Diet of Bugs. Sam Vimes lampshades it.
- And in an episode of Blackadder, with "the collapse of the Treaty of Insects."
- When Sci Fi Channel decided to get rid of their nerdy image by renaming themselves Syfy they didn't do a simple text search of foreign dictionaries. It's Polish for acne and also the plural of "syf", which is Polish slang for "syphilis". And that's why the Polish channel isn't being changed.
- (All transliterated:) The Hebrew word "Ani" means "me". The Hebrew word "mi" means "who?". The Hebrew word "hu" (pronounced, yes, "who") means "he". And, for kicks, the Hebrew word "he" means "she". And "dag" (which sounds like "dog") means fish.
- All of this makes a lot more sense if you're aware of their Arabic cognates, which sound less like the English words: Hebrew "mi"=Arabic "men" (OK, that's another can of worms) "hu"="huwa," and "he"="hiya."
- He, Shi, Mi, and Yu are all valid surnames in Mandarin Chinese. Hence the statement, "He is Shi, she is He, you are Mi, and I am Yu."
- Though "He" is pronounced sort of like "Huh" and "Shi" is pronounced similarly to "Sure". Though the surname "Xi" is pronounced sort of like "She", which invites all sorts of "Hu's the president of China? No, Xi's the president of China!" jokes.
- Same thing with modern German, which has the same origins as modern English: "Wer?" means "who?". "Wo?" means "where?". "Wenn" actually means "when", but "wen?" means "whom?".
- The word "wenn" means "when" or "if" in subordinate clauses ("Wir treffen uns, wenn die Uhr 12 schlägt" - "We meet when the clock strikes 12"), but the interrogative "when?" is "wann?" in German. Similarly, "will" means "want" in English, rather than "will".
- And even more so with Dutch. 'Wie' (pronounced like English 'we') in Dutch is 'who', while in German in translates to 'how'. 'Hoe' (pronounced like 'who') translates to 'how' (German 'wie'). 'Waar' is Dutch for 'where', 'war' is German for was, both are pronounced like the word that denotes a violent and potentially deadly conflict in English. 'Was' (German for 'what') translates to either 'wash', the first person singular past of 'to be', or 'wax' in Dutch.
- On the same note (emotionally) "sensitive" is "sensibel" in German, while "sensible" translates to "vernünftig".
- Odd and Randi are perfectly normal Norwegian names...
- Randy is a normal name in the US too, but it'll raise some eyebrows (or cause fits of uncontrollable sniggering) in the UK.
- The word "snigger" itself will likely elicit cries of "racism" in the US.
- In Spanish, embarazada means pregnant, not "embarrassed". Watch out for this if you've been drunk and need to apologise for your behaviour.
- And who could forget the wonderful Austrian village by the name of Fucking, whose residents used to spend surprisingly large amounts of money on replacing stolen road signs until they ended up putting a sign made of concrete?
- More recently, a beer named "Fucking Hell" has appeared, its name referring to this place and its colour, "hell" meaning "light" or "pale". This one was probably intentional though.
- Austria also has the more obscure but equally delightful "Windpassing".
- Someone in Honda discovered that "fitta" means female genitals in Norwegian and Swedish. Fortunately for Honda, this was before Honda's new hatchback subcompact car went on the market, and Honda had time to rename it to "Fit" or "Jazz" depending on the market.
- One Chinese word for "don't need" is "bu bi". It's pronounced like...
- There's also the phrase for "give us..." (written 给我们). It's pronounced "gei women." Cue snickering in pretty much all first-year Chinese-language courses.
- There's also "zou hou men," which, while it doesn't sound like anything in English, it colloquially means bribing and literally means "through the back door," or "back door bargaining."
- Also "bu shi" (is not), which sounds like "bullshit" with an accent.
- Then there's "bu shi mao" (it's not a cat) which sounds remarkably like the Dutch "poesje mauw", a child's way of saying, yes, cat.
- The character 福, which means "good fortune" in various Asian languages, is romanized as "fuk" in Cantonese, "phúc" in Vietnamese and "fuku" in Japanese.
- "That one there" (那个) is pronounced 'na ge', which becomes 'ne ge' in casual speech, which sounds like a very racist n-word.
- Horo's status in Spice and Wolf as The Tease is is further reinforced by the fact that "horo" is a Finnish slang word for "whore".
- There is the Slavic folk dance called "horo" (or "kolo", depending on the nation).
- In 1987, a German football player named Franco Foda played in Brazil. When he was announced, the stadium audience pissed themselves laughing. Why? His name just so happens to be Portuguese for "fucking for free."
- Not quite: "Franco" does mean "free" (a literary/seldom used word for it), and "foda" does mean "fuck", but it makes no particular sense grammatically. Still amusing though. Just like the similarly unfortunately named bass player for Stratovarius, Lauri Porra (Lauri Cum).
- "Gift" means poison in both Swedish and German (Modern German usage derives from the word 'gift'-as-in-present being used as euphemism for poison in the Middle Ages.).
- The British newspaper Metro features a daily sudoku puzzle with the title "Metroku". A bilingual reader wrote to the letters page and pointed out that, in French, this sounds exactly like "mettre au cul", or "shove it up the arse".
- Russian and Hebrew have somewhat similar phonetics, especially when the speaker has a Russian / Eastern European accent, which is often the case. This renders mundane Hebrew phrases like "worried about losing eligibility for a postdated check" or "new tabernacles (sukkot) will be built" virtually unprintable in Russian. And Russian is not exactly the language of prudes...
- In fact, the Hebrew word for 'Ugly' is also unprintable.
- Latin is a serial offender. "Labia" means "lips". In English, "labia" only refers to the "lips" of lady parts. The original Latin word and its meaning are preserved in Spanish "labios" and Portuguese "lábios".
- In Portuguese and in Spanish, "lábia" can also mean "meaningless conversation"
- The Latin word for "scabbard" is "vagina". The Latin word for "with" is "cum".
- In German, "Scheide" can mean both "scabbard" and "vagina".
- One particular Latin textbook had a recurring character known as "Sextus". He is very annoying. The Latin word for "annoying" is "molestus". So you have, repeated over and over throughout the book, "Sextus molestus", or, "Sextus is Annoying". There's a good chance that this was deliberate on the part of the publishers. Given the maturity level of the average high school freshmen, this causes problems.
- A classic among French students (well, it was a classic back when Latin was widely studied in high school) : conjugation for the verb "amare" (to love) goes like this : amabo, amabis, amabit, with the third one being pronounced exactly like "Ah, ma bite" ("Ah, my cock")
- There's also the Norwegian football team Fotballaget Fart.
- Based in Vang, no less...
- The word "douche" only means "vaginal wash" in English. In about a dozen other languages, it still has its original meaning of "shower". (Words that sound like "shower", meanwhile, tend to mean "rainfall" in some Germanic languages.)
- "The End" in Danish and Swedish is "Slut" (pronounced "sloot"). As a result, lot of older Danish movies end on that jolly note. Also, "service elevator" is "Godselevator".
- And when the Godselevator is in motion, a sign will light up reading "I Fart".
- There is a Vietnamese soup called "Pho" (diacritical marks omitted), but the phonetic pronunciation is "Fa". Many Vietnamese restauranteurs have amused themselves by naming their shops things that are perfectly fine if you pronounce it like an ignorant American. "Pho King" and variants are quite popular.
- Traffic signs reading "Infart" are quite common in Sweden.
- And in Germany, "Ausfahrt" appears on signs for highway exits.
- This is part of the reason the Welsh prophet/bard Myrddin became Merlin. The original name sounded a bit like "merde", which means "shit" in French, the native tongue of English nobility at the time, but in their literary language, Latin, the resemblance is much more striking—the Latinized version Merdinus literally means "Little Shitman" (merda = "shit" + diminutive -in- + masculine nominative -us). Changing D to L gave the less offensive "Merlinus", which became "Merlin" in English.
- In Denmark, a timetable will likely be labelled "fartplan". Cue sniggering English-speaking tourists.
- A popular Iranian cleaning product is called "Barf", the Persian word for snow. Most English speakers snicker at the idea of putting barf all over their dishes or filling their washing machines up with barf.
- In Italy and Brazil, when a toast is made it's common to say "cin cin!"/"tim tim" (pronounced "cheen cheen"). In Japan, doing this would be very unfortunate, as "chinchin" is slang for "penis".
- The same goes in Mexican Spanisn: Chinchin sounds like you're cursing twice. (as ¡Chin, Chin!, translated as Damn it, DAMN IT!)
- A non-dirty example: in some (all?) Star Wars works that get translated to French, half the characters' names are changed to reflect differences in pronounciation. Luke and Leia are left alone, but Han becomes Yan (because in French, the h is silent, so "Han" would sound like "Anne", not a sufficiently masculine name for that guy) and the chosen names of Sith change from Darth to Dark (because French has no th sound, so people would just pronounce it like "dart", and at least "dark" is appropriate in English). Additionally, Count Dooku had to have his name changed in the Poruguese releases because "Dooku" is pronounced identically to "do cu" which means "from the ass".
- Actually, in French it is not unknown for men to have "Marie" or "Anne" among their first names, the real problem with "Han" in French is probably that with its long "a" it is in danger of being pronounced like "âne" (donkey, ass).
- Another non-dirty example involves a German pastor giving a Christmas guest sermon in South Africa. He made a valiant attempt at Afrikaans, too; unfortunately, this lead to him saying that the shepherds were watching over their flocks by night, "en toe word die hele hemel hel" (and then all of Heaven turned into Hell). What he meant to say was, "en toe word die hele hemel helder" (and then the sky became bright). The confusion occurred because "hell" is German for "bright".
- Condoleezza Rice's first name causes endless mirth among Czechs, "kunda" being a dirty word for female privates and "lízat" meaning "to lick". Newscasters refer to her simply as "Riceová" or "the [former] American secretary of state".
- The webpage of a Canadian sociology professor, Ziva Kunda, has become legendary among Czech and Slovak internet users. "Kunda" is a variant of Country Matters and "živá" means "living" — incidentally, Ziva Kunda herself died in 2004. Ms. Kunda was apparently aware of the source of her popularity in that part of the world and did not find it funny.
- In StarCraft, the Terran and the Protoss fight part of the male anatomy in Israel.
- In Japanese, "kuma" means "bear". In Swahili, it's a vulgar slang term for vagina.
- One book by Fritz Spiegl relates the story of how, in the Second World War, the obvious thing to do with the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories was to abbreviate it to AMGOT. Unfortunately this turned out to mean something unprintable in Turkish and the abbreviation was hastily changed to "AMG". In a footnote, Spiegl adds that none of the Turks he knew was prepared to tell him what the meaning was. One, after he had finished laughing, said "no such word", which is strictly accurate — it's two rude words joined together.
- English "pedo" (shorthand for "pedophile"), Spanish pedo ("fart").
- The Dutch word for "removable" is "demontabel."
- To Americans, "bimbo" is a derogatory thing to call a woman. To Mexicans, who pronounce it as [ˈbim.bo] it's the name of their country's largest food corporation and a colloquial term for for "bread", much like Kleenex is for tissues.
- That brand of bread is available in the US; the label includes 'Say BEEM-bo' on it under the name.
- In German, "Bimbo" can be a derogatory term for an African, or a servant or general dogsbody.
- Any wonder why the Bimbo company, also a major bakery in the US, mainly make Arnold or Oroweat bread?
- While in Japanese, bimbo (na) means poor, as in, not having money.
- The fun part? "Bimbo" comes from the Italian word for "kid".
- The word for "Emergency" in German is "Not". Emergency exits are thus labeled Notausgang.
- Polish, Czech and Slovak: These languages are generally similar enough for Bilingual Dialogue to work, but the differences can lead to amusing misunderstandings.
- For example the Polish word szukać (to look for) sounds a lot like the Czech word meaning to fuck. This has lead to the following situation: A little Czech girl got lost somewhere in Poland. When she was finally found, she was apparently "intimidated by the language barrier". Especially after being told everyone's been looking for her.
- "Zachód" in Polish means west, but in Slovak means a toilet. They're both derived from root words meaning to go down.
- Czerstwy chleb in Polish means "old bread" while in many Slavic languages it means fresh. Further confusing in Polish "czerstwy staruszek" (staruszek means old man) which means he is in good form rather then bad.
- In Russian, "Cherstvy", when applied to a person, means "coldhearted".
- Orava with a capital "o" is the name of one of Slovakia's northwest historical regions. In Finnish, orava means "squirrel", causing laughter for all Slovak learners of Finnish from Orava.
- German tourists in Egypt occasionally got in trouble for saying the word Kuss—in German, it means a kiss, but in Arabic, it means, well, Country Matters.
- Arabic-language news media (e.g. Al Jazeera) were put in a bind when Jean-Marc Ayrault was appointed Prime Minister of France—you see, "Ayrault" pronounced in the French fashion (i.e. "air-oh") is one small sound away from sounding like `ayruh, which is Levantinenote Arabic for "his dick/cock/[insert vulgar word for male genitalia here]". They elected to pronounce the "lt" to avoid the problem...earning the ire of certain Arab intellectuals, many of whom are fans of the French.
- In the opposite direction (more or less), a fairly classical way of insulting someone in Arabic is to call them "nājis'', i.e. ritually impure. In colloquial use, where it is usually pronounced nijis, it's come to mean either someone who's just generally dirty or who whose habits you find unpleasant. In most dialects, this doesn't cause any funny business, but in Egypt, where the "j" is pronounced as a "g", it comes out as "nigis", which English-speakers might hear as...well...let's just say black Americans visiting Egypt have gotten suitably offended, but not in the way the Egyptian meant it to.
- Not dirty but still amusing: In the Korean martial arts style Tang Soo Do, what most people would call a bo staff (a long, smooth staff intended for striking, for the unfamiliar) is referred to as a bong.
- The title of the First Minister of Wales in Welsh is "Prif Weinidog Cymru." That's right. "Minister" in Welsh sounds exactly like "whiny dog." No doubt this has caused a lot of jokes in Wales.
- Lakota examples:
- The names Che and Sean sound like [cɛ] and [ʃã], meaning "penis" and "vagina". The words aren't considered "dirty", but still...
- Not really dirty, but cola sounds like [kʰola], "friend". This also applies to coda, due to the inherent Spell My Name with an S of Sioux languages.
- Really complicated one: Kanji sounds like [kãgi], "crow". Not much, until you remember what crow is synonymous with in Kansai-ben.
- Conversely, pi means "liver".
- Linguists use the following pseudo-French nursery rhyme to indicate the difficulty of parsing language when unsure which language is being spoken:
Homme petit d'homme petit, s'attend, n'avale
Homme petit d'homme petit, à degrés de bègues folles
Anal deux qui noeuds ours, anal deux qui noeuds s'y mènent
Coup d'un poux tome petit tout guetteur à gaine
- Inverted by English and Afrikaans with the sentences My pen is in my hand and My hand is in warm water, which are both written the same way and mean the same thing, but sound rather different. (And for a bonus, both languages know about The Problem with Pen Island.)
- In German, "Depp" means "idiot", usually of the rural variety, as in "Dorfdepp" ("village idiot"). Germans laugh more at Johnny Depp acting like a fool as Captain Jack. Reportedly, Johnny Depp has found it hilarious.
- "This isn't a library!" Except in French/Spanish/Portuguese a librairie/librería/livreria is a bookshop, and a library is called a bibliothèque/biblioteca/biblioteca.
- The last name of the Russian president Vladimir Putin is an endless source of comedy for many people from Spanish-speaking countries, since Putin is similar to the Spanish slur puto (Spanish for either faggot or the masculine form of "whore"). In fact, supposedly when Mr. Putin traveled to Mexico for a work tour as a President, the Mexican spokesman struggled to avoid laughing hard when presenting him to the Mexican audience.
- It's worse in French: putain (one-letter difference, and pronounced basically the same) means "whore" or "bitch", used as an expletive for "fucking". As a result, French language authorities have resorted to spelling his name "Poutine", which makes some sense (it produces the closest possible French equivalent to how it's pronounced in Russian), but is also exactly the name of a Canadian dish of French fries served with cheese curds and hot gravy. Cue snickers across Quebec.
- Made even better by a scandal involving a party calling voters intending to vote for another party telling them their voting station has been changed ... to the address of a Poutine store. Cue political cartoons about voter's oppression in Russia under the foot of Putin (not that there has been a lot, just a little more on the socialist side) comparing voter's oppression in Canada under a box of Poutine.
- Another Polish one: tampon means any bit of cotton wadding, particularly in medical or dental use. So the possibilities for mirth are endless when a language textbook openly talks about Ela going to the dentist and putting a tampon in her mouth.
- Be careful travelling to Korea in the winter. 'Shiver' sounds very close to something else there.
- There is a town near Manchester, England, called Sale. It tried to twin with a comparable town in France but got no offers. From a French point of view, who wants their town twinned with somewhere called Dirty? Especially when an extension of the word in French swearing is sale con, or dirty cunt....
- English "pawpaw" [ˈpɔːˌpɔː], a fruit similar to a papaya, sounds like German "Popo", a childish synonym for "ass".
- An example of this trope across two dialects of French; in French, the slang term for "children" is "gosses". In Quebec French, the same word is the slang term for "testicles". So when a French parent his telling a Quebecois tourist he hugs his kids before putting them to bed, the Quebecois gets a very bizarre mental image...
- The French word for "late" is "en retard". To English speakers learning French, "en" sounds very much like "un" (the indefinite article), so "Je suis en retard" ("I am running late") sounds an awful lot like "I'm a retard".
- Teaching 11-year old French students about English irregular verbs can be... patience-testing, at best. Amongst the first verbs on the list? Bite and burn, which read with a French accent, sound like cock and balls.
- Fit in swiss german translates to something like 'awake' or 'mentally present'.
- The Swedish word svalka means 'coolness' and has pleasant connotations, so Ikea named a series of drinking glasses Svalka. Unfortunately, Ikea also operates in Russia, and in Russian сва́лка (svalka, [ˈsvalˠkə]) means 'garbage dump'. The Russian Ikea renamed the glasses to Свальк (svaljk), distinguished using a soft l.
- The Russian word for boxwood is самши́т [sɐˈmʂɨt], like English "some shit" [ˌsɐm ˈʃɪtʰ].
- The Russian word for "sew" also sounds awfully like "shit" in English.
- "Knikker" is the Dutch word for "marble", but resembles British English knicker.
- In American Sign Language, the sign for "vagina" is made by holding your hands flat, fingers together, thumbs extended, and the tips of the thumbs and forefingers touching. Now think of how many times you've seen a hearing person making that sign or a close variation of it when they don't know what else to do with their hands. Notable example: Michelle Obama on the cover of the Dec 2011/Jan 2012 Reader's Digest.
- Great fun tricking new students of Russian into saying the phrase "brave (smelliy) like (kahk) sugar (sahar)" ("smelly cock sucker").
- Yakimanka is a street in Moscow. In Japanese, it sounds like "Fried Cunt".
- Yama is Russian for "pit". And Japanese for "mountain".
- Rather like the French example with "gosses", Chinese Dialects and Accents can give identical words very different meanings. One dialect uses haizi to mean "shoes" while it means "Child(ren)" in standard Mandarin. An adult claiming they've lost their haizi on the train can just be grumbling in one part of China and the cause of bloody panic in another.
- Another joke turns "31 people" (san shi i wei) into "Killed one person" (Saa shi i wei).
- "Kaka" means "cake" in Swedish. The first A is pronounced more like an "O" sound.
- Sora is the Japanese word for "sky" and the Finnish word for "gravel".
- The word written sein means "to be" in German and "breast" in French.
- And it sounds somewhat like the Hebrew word zayin*, which can mean "the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet", "arms" (as in weapons), or "cock".
- Israelis with the name Itai or Shiri (masculine and feminine first names, respectively) are often embarrassed to find out their names mean ‘painful’ and ‘arse’ respectively in Japanese.
- In the same way, if you're Japanese and your last name is Sakamoto, Yamamoto or Ito, get ready for being the butt of all jokes in the Spanish-speaking world, since Sakamoto sounds like saca moto (getting out [your] bike) and Yamamoto like llama moto (calling your bike). Señor Ito (Mr. Ito) sounds like señorito (a corny Young Master).
- Also, it goes without saying that there’s a lot of embarrassment involved in having the (fortunately farely rare) Israeli last name ‘Pines’ (pronounced ‘pea-ness’, but we all know what that really sounds like). Notable cases include:
- Israeli artist Ya‘akov Pines*. He mentioned how a reporter once asked him very politely whether he should change his name. ‘I told him, that gentile, that “Ya‘akov” was a fine Hebrew name!’
- Ofir Pines-Paz, Israeli politician, who was made Minister of Interior, making Anglophone news reporters everywhere giggle.
- Guy Pines, host of a popular entertainment news show, who often interviews Hollywood celebrities. He often checks into hotels saying his names is "Pines" (pronouncing it as the plural of ‘pine’ tree), and when he told Julia Roberts his name was Guy Pines, she said hers was ‘Woman Vagina’.
- The high-IQ group Mensa chose its name because it means "table" in Latin, symbolizing the coming together of equals, but didn't foresee a Mexican chapter of Mensa... and mensa means "*moron" in Mexican Spanish. "¿Eres mensa?" means "Are you dumb?".
- While not in dictionaries Mensa can be interpreted as the verb menstruate in Swedish; the contextual overlap is nonexistent but will produce a snicker or two should the club be brought up in an elementary school.
- In Japanese, the word for "day-care worker in a kindergarten, nursery school, etc." is pronounced "Hobo" (保母), which is not exactly a type of person an American would want watching their little ones.
- Italian penne (a kind of pasta) sounds like the Spanish word pene (penis), also an endless source for dirty jokes, especially when the aforementionated dish is cooked.
- Czech/Slovak/Polish fakt (meaning fact) is pronounced [ˈfakt], like fucked in Australian English. The Czech work is often used to ask "is that a fact?" or "really?". Many a foreigner felt offended.
- The Finnish poet Eino Leino is popular among Czechs though sadly not because they would be fans or great scholars of his work. It is his name that is well-loved, being a mix between an Awesome McCoolname and an Unfortunate Name. The rhyming itself is irresistible, but there is more. Eino is really close to a Czech interjection "ejhle", which means "lo and behold", while Leino sounds exactly like "lejno", and that is a word for excrement.
- Joe Biden's middle name is Robinette, which sounds like a feminised version of the French word for "water tap", "robinet" (pronounced [ʁobine]).
- The Russian name Серге́й (Sergey, [sʲɪˈrʲɡʲej]) sounds like Spanish ser gay [sɛr ɡej], "to be gay". Now imagine that your last name is also Putin (little faggot).
- In Finland, the word "home" means "mold" (as in fungus). Home videos with English texts used to cause much hilarity to kids back in the video era.
- There is a certain species of bird whose French name is "coq de roche". Unfortunately, it is far too easy to translate this to "rock cock".
- The first line of the chorus of Greek Cypriot singer Mixalis Xatzigiannis' song "Pies" means in Greek (paraphrased): Drink! Drink to the bottom! but to a Spanish speaker it sounds like: Feet! Have you tasted feet?.