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Gratuitous Foreign Language

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"I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse."
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (King Carlos I of Spain)

Truth #1: Foreign languages sound more exotic. Buying some body lotion is not the same as buying La Creme Luxueuse, and driving a car is not the same as driving a Motorwagen.

Truth #2: Unfortunately, some people aren't even that good with foreign languages they have been taught, and now people can use an online translator to translate things into languages they do not even know in the slightest.

The result: random dialog, often awkward or incorrect,note  thrown around to make a dialogue seem more exotic. It will often be heavily biased toward extremely basic words that are the most likely to be understood by monolingual readers and authors: "yes," "no," "hello," "please," "good", "sir," "ma'am," etc.

In Japan, the most common languages are English and German. In America, Spanish and French are more likely to be used. Rarely will this result in a full Bilingual Dialogue.

Using this in a work is sometimes corrected in translations of that work. Compare Black Speech (authors feel like adding an evil language to better designate an enemy) and Did Not Do the Bloody Research (authors throw in gratuitous swearwords in a foreign language or a different dialect of English, and get their actual levels of functional vulgarity completely wrong). See also Foreign Language Title. Contrast Surprisingly Good Foreign Language and Surprisingly Good English.



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中文 (Chinese)

    动漫和漫画 / 動漫和漫畫 (Anime & Manga) 
  • Very common in 3×3 Eyes: most demons have Meaningful Name in Chinese (for example Zhou Gui meaning "Sorcerous Demon" or Hua She being "Snake Monster"), and nearly all the Juuma battle larvae have chinese names (Tu Zhao "Earthen Claws" or Guang Ya "Light Fang"). The Big Bad's title is even "Gui Yan Wang" (mistranslated as Kaiyanwang), meaning the "King of the Demon Eye".
  • In Digimon Tamers, Terriermon's Catchphrase is "mou man tai", Cantonese for "no problem".
  • In Macross Frontier, Ranka Lee sings "ni hao nyan" during one of her concerts. The writers were probably aiming for "ni hao" meaning "hello" in Mandarin, and "nyan'" being the Japanese onomatopoeia for a cat meowing (used like a Verbal Tic). The problem is that placing an adjective after "ni hao" in Mandarin also means "you're very [adjective]" — and "nyan" sounds like Chinese for "sissy" or "gay".

    亚洲动画 / 亞洲動畫 (Asian Animation) 
  • Lamput: To keep with the episode's "martial art film" aesthetic, one of Fat Doc's lines of gibberish in "Martial Art" is accompanied by Chinese subtitles.

    同人小说 / 同人小說 (Fan Works) 
  • Having spent a considerable portion of his life is Korea, Steven in Faded Blue sometimes uses Korean words and honorifics.
  • Enlai from One Piece: Parallel Works has used Chinese a few times throughout the fic.
  • In Shards of a Memory, Master Shard would sometimes say "Ai yah" ("I don't believe it") in exasperation.
    Shard: And exactly how long did you have the cat before you mutated her?
    Michelangelo: Uhh... About thirty seconds?
    Shard: Ai yah.

    真人电影 / 真人電影 (Films — Live-Action) 

    真人秀电视 / 真人秀電視 (Live-Action TV) 
  • In Awkward., the Alpha Bitch leader of the so-called "Asian Mafia", Becca, often taunts Ming in Chinese.
  • Bones:
    • One episode revolves around a Chinese family's burial ritual. In contrast to Hugh Laurie, Emily Deschanel's Chinese is at least understandable.
    • A season 4 episode had some rich kids trying to sass Booth in (horrible) Chinese. Booth wasn't amused.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Mind of Evil", The Doctor speaks fluent-ish Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) during a peace conference attended by the People's Republic of China. Hokkien was chosen as that was the native tongue of Pik-Sen Lim, who played a major Chinese character in the episode, and it was the one that she was most comfortable teaching Jon Pertwee for the episode.
  • In the futuristic society of Firefly, the melding of societies has caused languages to become intermingled. Most prominent besides English is a "Mandarin" dialect consisting mostly of foreign curse words. The first episode shows signs that the writers truly intended for the characters to have a basic command of Mandarin, with one or two attempts at Bilingual Dialogue, but the actors were apparently so terrible at it that Chinese-speaking viewers had to be told what language they were supposed to be hearing. The rest of the show just uses Chinese for cussing.
  • One episode of House features a Chinese girl and her mom, who can speak English almost as well as Hugh Laurie can speak Chinese.
  • Po from Teletubbies is Chinese and peppers her speech with Cantonese such as "fa-ti" and "mun".
  • A Touched by an Angel two-part episode focused on the persecution of Chinese Christians, but since most of the actors — despite being Chinese — were born or raised in the U.S., their accents were atrocious.

    音乐 / 音樂 (Music) 
  • The song "Chong Ki Fu" from the Mexican composer of songs for children, Cri Cri, contains a few Cantonese phrases in its lyrics.
  • Gorillaz released a version of "Dirty Harry" in Chinese.
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Tong Poo"("eastern wind").

    剧院 / 劇院 (Theatre) 

    视频游戏 / 視頻遊戲 (Video Games) 
  • In Anarchy Reigns, Feirin and Airin pepper their dialogue with Chinese words with fairly accurate pronunciation. Their sister Rinrin, however, doesn't do this.
  • Claptrap in Borderlands 2 is fond of saying "Let's go!" in different languages, such as "Andiamo!" (Italian), "Allons-y!" (French) or "¡Vámonos!" (Spanish).
  • The opening stage of Cold Winter is set in a Chinese prison, and the soldiers speaks an odd mixture of Mandarin and Cantonese. Special mention to the enemy torturer who shouts, "Qing ni bu zhun xian hai wo!" note 
  • Destiny Of An Emperor has skills written in romanized Chinese. Unless you have a guide, good luck finding out what they do.
  • In Deus Ex, you can visit Hong Kong. Most people you meet there speak English, though there is a monk who speaks Cantonese with no translation given.note  There's also some Chinese text, but most of it is complete nonsense copy-and-pasted repeatedly.
  • Fallout 3 has several messages, recordings, and holograms in awful Chinese. Since Bethesda likes to use a small pool of voice actors for large casts of NPCs, they probably weren't willing to splurge on a guy who can actually pronounce the language.
  • The Dragon Driftway and Palace courses in Mario Kart 8 have Latiku's name in simplified Chinese printed in some areas.
  • In Persona 2, Lisa Silverman is a white girl who only knows Japanese, except for a few random Chinese phrases which she loves to use.
  • The Project I.G.I. sequel, Covert Strike, sees you taking on a corrupt Chinese general and his soldiers. His mooks' dialogue consist of stock Mandarin with suspiciously westernized accents, and some of them doesn't even make sense. Like asking "Tā qù nǎ'er? note ?"... even before they spotted you.
  • Sleeping Dogs has a bunch of "peppering Cantonese cuss words into English" and background NPCs who speak accurate but unsubtitled Cantonese, though Mrs. Chu is the only named plot-relevant character to only speak Cantonese.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon has an In-Universe example. The plot takes you to a hostess club where the girls are all allegedly Chinese, but don't know much Chinese beyond "Ni hao" (hello). They're all children or grandchildren of illegal immigrants, have lived in Japan all their lives, and most of them speak Japanese as their first language.

    西方动画 / 西方動畫 (Western Animation) 
  • In the The Amazing World of Gumball episode, "The DVD", after hijinks in accidentally destroying the DVD that Gumball and Darwin had rented, and trying to find ways to pay it, Darwin suggest on getting a job. When Gumball asks the part if they could speak Chinese, Darwin says:
    Darwin: 我真的不知道如何说中文,因为它真的很难说,我只知道一个小的中国说话,所以我不能说。(I don't really know how to speak Chinese because it is really hard to speak and I only know a little Chinese to speak so I can't speak it.)
    Subtitle: No.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender loves its little Chinese Easter eggs — scrolls and signs in Chinese characters, even if only visible for a split second, say exactly what you'd expect them to say. Most of them also get the grammar and even the calligraphy right. But there are a few mistakes, most glaringly the use of simplified characters in an era when everyone would be using traditional characters.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 has Chester V getting through to Flint with a Chinese proverb. Sam sets the record straight with another Chinese proverb.note 
    恶棍给的食物肯定有毒 (ègùn gěi de shíwù kěndìng yǒudú): "If a bully gives you food, it's surely poisoned."
    恶霸变成朋友,永远是朋友 (èbà biàn chéng péngyǒu yǒngyuǎn shì péngyǒu): "A bully turned friend will be your friend forever."
  • Ni Hao, Kai-Lan uses Chinese much in the same way Dora the Explorer uses Spanish.
  • Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat has a little of this, usually basic words and phrases. The pre- and post-show funding thanks were ended in the Chinese for "thank you".

    现实生活 / 現實生活 (Real Life) 
  • Kanji. While Korea and Vietnam have switched to its own writing system and the Latin alphabet respectively, Japan had retained its Chinese character system alongside placing it with its own kana system. And with centuries of massive influence, the Japanese have developed a sound system called on'yomi to pronounce Chinese loanwords, and have three types of sound-reading depending on the region and dynasty.

Čeština (Czech)

    Fan Fikce (Fan Works) 

Nederlands (Dutch)

    Computerspellen (Video Games) 
  • Myrthe is a missionary from a Netherlands-equivalent in Sakuna Of Rice And Ruin on spreading the teachings of Formos. In both English and Japanese dub, her pronounciation is a bit more slow, sentences a bit simplified, and occasionally uses Dutch words in her sentences. A case of Shown Their Work as the Dutch were the only ones allowed to trade with Japan during the Edo period.

    Fanfictie (Fan Works) 
  • Discworld fic The Black Sheep is set in the Discworld equivalent of Holland and uses not just Dutch, but also the related-but-different Afrikaans.
  • And then, of course, there's SOSchip, which manages to combine this trope with Surprisingly Good Dutch. When the author announced a probable Japanese dub, what then followed was a bunch of Dutch words being put into katakana and then romanji. It was hilarious. (HETTO KOFUSKIPU! MEKKU-FURANDADU!) note 

    Live-Actie Televisie (Live-Action TV) 
  • One episode of Friends has a lot of Dutch in it, with Ross pretending he speaks it (and failing pretty badly). The pronunciation isn't very good, though, so Dutch people might not recognize it as Dutch at first. But it does lead to some early Bilingual Bonuses, like the scene where Gunther tells Ross, "Jij hebt seks met ezels" ("You have sex with donkeys"), and the Dutch audience gets the joke — but the English-speaking studio audience doesn't get in on it until Ross looks it up in his dictionary.

    Muziek (Music) 
  • Jacques Brel's "Marieke" has the chorus sung mostly in Flemish ("Zonder liefde, warme liefde..."), which is kind of related to (but isn't really) Dutch and is spoken in the neighboring Flanders region of Belgium.

Suomi (Finnish)

    Kirjallisuus (Literature) 
  • In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Father Christmas Letters, the North Polar Bear has two mischievous nephews named Paksu and Valkotukka, which means "Fat" and "White Hair" (but, unfortunately, using a word that only applies to human hair). NPB himself is revealed to be named Karhu, which is Finnish for "bear".
  • His Dark Materials:
    • In The Golden Compass, there's a reference to the Nälkäinens, which means "the hungry ones".
    • The witch Serafina Pekkala has a distinctly Finnish last name, which is justified as she is from Lake Enara, Lyra's world's counterpart of Inarijärvi in Northern Finland. Pullman took the name from a Finnish phone directory.
    • Serafina names Will's daemon Kirjava, which means "multi-coloured".
  • In Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black, "Fontanus Uusikuu" just has the right magic feeling. The "uu" is a dead giveaway in which language to look, the meaning being "new moon".
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has random bits of gratuitous Finnish. For example, the name of the martial art Teräs Käsi means Steel Hand (the words should be conjoined in real Finnish). Juhani is misused as a female name. And the planet Taivas is Finnish for "sky" or "heaven".

    Lelut (Toys) 
  • Several Ko-Matoran have names that are actually Finnish words related to cold: Arktinen ("arctic"), Jaa (from jää, "ice"), Jaatikko (from ''jäätikkö "glacier"), Lumi ("snow"), Pakastaa ("to deep-freeze"), and Talvi ("winter").

    Elokuvat (Films — Live-Action) 
  • At one point in Charlie's Angels (2000), the Angels avoid eavesdropping by conversing in Finnish. The girls couldn't understand what they were saying, or even that it was Finnish to begin with. The translation and pronunciation were so mangled that in Finland, the conversation still had to be subtitled in Finnish (translating from the English subtitles, no less).
  • In Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, during the scene where M. Bison is, ahem, negotiating with a Cosmopolitan Council of crime bosses in Bangkok, one of the bosses (identified in the credits as "European") gets angry at his demands and declares "Perkele, tämä keskustelu päättyi tähän!", which is translated as "This conversation is over." Afterwards, the whole gathering stands up and leaves, only to get murdered by Vega.

    TV-sarjat (Live-Action TV) 
  • Norwegian sitcom Borettslaget features Finnish character Piirka, whose name which is Gratuitous Finnish in itself because it can't fit into the language's grammatical structure ("Pirkka" would be better). His attempts to speak Norwegian amount to speaking Swedish with a bunch of Finnish words mixed in (much of which was Finnish-sounding gibberish — his actor couldn't even speak Finnish).

    Mainonta (Advertising) 

    Pöytäpelit (Tabletop Games) 
  • Exalted has the monsters Niljake (approximately "icky/slimy thing", but could also be a family of mushrooms) and Karmeus ("horribleness").

    Sarjakuvat (Comic Books) 
  • In Fables, the Snow Queen is called Lumi, which is Finnish for "snow". Her siblings are called Kevat, Kesa, and Syksy, respectively "Spring", "Summer" and "Autumn" (albeit missing the umlauts). Why the Snow Queen isn't called Talvi ("winter") is anybody's guess.
  • The Transformers comic features the Cybertronian martial art Metallikato, which is Finnish for "loss of metal (via rusting and/or deficiency)" The Finnish translation of the comic spells it "Metalicato", presumably to make it look less silly.

    Videopelit (Video Games) 

Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian)

    Anime a me Manga (Anime & Manga) 
  • The English dub of Ranma ˝ has Principal Kuno peppering his speech with Hawaiian (in the original, he just used Gratuitous English).

    Fan moʻolelo (Fan Works) 
  • Power Rangers: Oceania takes place in Hawaii, and many characters occasionally use Hawaiian in their daily English vocabulary. Occasionally justified by terms that do not have an English equivalent.

    Kiʻiʻoniʻoni — Animation (Films — Animation) 
  • Lilo & Stitch, set in Hawaii, has a lot of Hawaiian words and some Hawaiian Pidgin English as well (particularly Nani and David, both of whose voice actors grew up in Hawaii). In particular, the opening uses an upbeat Hawaiian chant ("He Mele No Lilo", actually melded together from two different chants and leading to a weird translation), and "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" uses Pidgin English and surfer slang. "He Mele No Lilo" in fact can't be sung in Hawaiian without putting Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable.

    Pāʻani wikiō (Video Games) 
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: One time while babysitting, Tammy says that she needs to put all the keiki (Hawaiian for "child") to bed.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon takes place in the "Alola" region and has several examples:
    • Legendary bat Pokémon Lunala is from luna, Hawaiian for "leader" (and also Latin for "moon").
    • One of Oricorio's forms, called hula-style in Japanese, is called Pa'u-style in English (from pa'u, "skirt").
    • Some human characters have Hawaiian Floral Theme Naming: Professor Kukui, Hala, Hau, Kiawe (though in Japanese his name is Kaki, the Japanese persimmon), Lana (Hawaiian for "afloat"), Mao (Hawaiian cotton, renamed "Mallow" in English), and Māmane (Hawaiian for Sophora chrysophylla, renamed "Sophocles" in English).

(Hebrew) עִברִית

    (Anime and Manga) אנימה ומנגה 
  • The names of several Humongous Mecha in the original Mobile Suit Gundam and a few of its innumerable sequels are in badly mangled Hebrew. Examples include the Acguy (from Haggai, a minor prophet in the Hebrew Bible), Adzam (from Ashem, "guilty"), and Elmeth (from El-maeth, meaning something like "God of Death"). What's particularly odd about this is that these are all Zeon mobile suits, a faction with an infamous fondness for Putting on the Reich.

    (Literature) סִפְרוּת 
  • The Ars Goetia and The Key of Solomon include random Hebrew words for their pentacles.

    (Live-Action TV) סדרות מצולמות 
  • Frasier character Noel supposedly speaks Hebrew but doesn't always get it right. In one instance, he translates "school" as yeshiva, which is specifically for religious schools where students study Jewish law full-time. (He was probably looking for beit-sefer). He also pronounces it the Yiddish way, which no Hebrew language teacher would recommend.

    (Theatre) תיאטרון 
  • Leonard Bernstein's Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers mostly mixes English with church Latin, but "Sanctus" is sung trilingually in Latin, English, and Hebrew.
    Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh Adonai ts'vaot,
    M'lo chol haaretz k'vodo.
    Baruch ha'ba B'shem Adonai!

    (Video Games) משחקי וידאו 
  • Genshin Impact: The four Hypostases have been assigned codenames after the first letters of the Hebrew alphabet: Aleph, Beth, Gimel and Daleth.

हिन्दी (Hindi)

    एनीमे और मंगा (Anime & Manga) 
  • 3×3 Eyes also make use of Hindi, as many pieces of the lore regarding the Sanzhiyan Humkara are tied to Hindi Mythology and folklore. Parvati's main spell to summon her magic is "Baras Vidahi" (give me power).
  • An episode of Best Student Council features a girl from India. The only word she ever says is "Namaste" ("hello"), even in inappropriate situations.

    पश्चिमी एनिमेशन (Western Animation) 
  • The Simpsons episode "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore" has plenty of Gratuitous Hindi. And in Bangalore specifically, the local language is not Hindi, but Kannada — but Bangalore being India's IT hub, they get enough migrants from elsewhere in India that you could probably hear Hindi too if you hung around long enough. Good thing, too, because the voice actors would probably have had an even harder time with Kannada, which sounds like this.

Magyar (Hungarian)

    Anime és Manga (Anime & Manga) 
  • 11eyes uses a lot of Hungarian, most notably in the episode subtitles and in the Opening Narration. Most of it was probably Google translated, but the opening is actually narrated by a Hungarian voice actor.

    Rajongói Fikció (Fan Works) 

    Irodalom (Literature) 
  • The Dragaera novels, written by Hungarian-American Steven Brust, have a fair bit of Hungarian sprinkled in. The "Fenarian" culture which predominates among Easterners (i.e. humans) is Hungarian and uses Hungarian as its ancestral language, although written phonetically rather than in correct Hungarian spelling, which is brutal to the English-speaking eye. And sometimes it's not quite accurate, as in Vlad's one-time pseudonym "Lord Maydeer", which is supposed to approximate "Magyar" (the Hungarian word for themselves), which is more accurately pronounced "Majyar".

    Nyugati Animáció (Western Animation) 

    Színház (Theatre) 
  • In Chicago, Hunyak has a few lines in Hungarian (mostly in "Cell Block Tango"); Ekaterina Chtchelkanova generally mispronounces them in the movie version. In the script of the musical, many of the vowels in those lines carry incorrect accent marks, some of which are not found in the Hungarian language.
  • Fictional Czech playwright Jára Cimrman parodied Gratuitous Hungarian in Vražda v salonním kupé ("Murder in the Salon Compartment"), with a Hungarian train steward whose dialogue features a few actual Hungarian words that make no sense in context — they're just there to sound Hungarian to the Czech audience. But in the play's first act (styled as a mock-academic conference), it's "explained" that Cimrman knew no Hungarian and had only two materials in Hungarian at hand when writing the play: the menu of the Hotel Petőfi, and the Hungarian railway timetable.

    Videójátékok (Video Games) 
  • In Halo: Reach, the colonist farmers you encounter in some levels speak Hungarian. Jorge, as a Reach native, acts as translator. Most of the planet's locations and both of its moons are named in Hungarian as well. Jorge even mutters a line in Hungarian as he watches large portions of Reach being blown up from orbit: "Megszakad a szivem..." ("This breaks my heart...").
  • Though subtitled, all voiceovers in Sine Mora are in Hungarian.

Norsk (Norwegian)

    Bordspill (Tabletop Games) 

    Filmer — Spillefilm (Films — Live-Action) 
  • In The 13th Warrior, Antonio Banderas' character Ahmad Ibn Fadlan learns Norwegian by listening to men speaking (heavily accented) Norwegian around a campfire, which gradually evolves into English as he starts to learn more words. He eventually speaks up, alerting the men that he has learned their language. While they actually speak English to one another from that point onwards, they are — as far as the story is concerned — still speaking Norwegian.

    Fjernsyn — Spillefilm (Live-Action TV) 
  • The Bones episode "Mayhem on a Cross" features a couple of Norwegian police officers, who are thankfully played by Scandinavian actors who speak the language. Brennan, on the other hand, is not so lucky, as evidenced by the Running Gag where she tries to teach her co-workers how to pronounce the word skalle ("skull"), only to be even worse than everyone she was trying to teach. Norwegians found it hilariously absurd.
  • Doctor Who at one point visits "Dårlig Ulv Stranden" in Norway, which the characters inform us that means "Bad Wolf Bay" in Norwegian. While "Dårlig" can be literally translated as "bad", it's not used in this context (it's more used for feeling sick or being faulty or of inferior quality). "Stranden" means "the beach" rather than "bay." A direct translation of "Dårlig Ulv Stranden" would therefore be "The Poor Wolf Beach". A more accurate translation might be "Stygg Ulv Bukten"... but even this doesn't sound even remotely like a name you'd find anywhere in Norway.
  • The third season finale of iCarly, "iBeat the Heat," features a "really powerful Norwegian air conditioner" marked with the words "Avkjøle luften" and "Fortreffelig avkjøle." It's technically Norwegian, in that the words are Norwegian... but it was definitely not written by anyone who was fluent in the language. Especially "fortreffelig avkjøle" just translates to "excellent cool."
  • The pilot episode of Twin Peaks contains a visiting delegation of Norwegian businessmen. Their presence and behavior in the state of Washington is apparently an attempt at a joke — they're there to buy lumber and are very appreciative of the local nature and fresh air, none of which are in short supply in Norway.
  • The title of The X-Files episode "Død Kalm" is in Gratuitous Norwegian. It supposedly means "Dead Calm", and død really is Norwegian for "dead" (and also a fun word to look at) — but "kalm" isn't Norwegian at all, and reads like an English speaker forgot the Norwegian word and is trying desperately to make it up (and failing hilariously). The episode itself has many more examples of Gratuitous Norwegian in dialogue, particularly this conversation between Olafsson and the ridiculously-named Trondheim, which has achieved a certain degree of infamy among Norwegian fans.

    Vestlig Animasjon (Western Animation) 
  • The Steven Universe episode title "Chille Tid" is Norwegian for "Chilling Time".note 

Português (Portuguese)

    Animação Ocidental (Western Animation) 
  • In the Love, Death & Robots short Love, Death & Robots: "Ice" the people of the ice planet apparently speak European Portuguese for some reason. This is particularly odd since the original short story has a Conlang and some of its words are in fact peppered over in dialogue.

    Filmes (Films — Live-Action) 
  • In the 2004 version of Taxi, the German thieves who were the main bad guys in the original French film have been replaced by a criminal gang of Brazilian women led by a girl named Vanessa, played by real-life Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Naturally, all their scenes have them speaking in Portuguese.

    Jogos Eletrônicos (Video Games) 
  • On the Celeste: Farewell soundtrack, the second-to-last song is titled "Vovô e vovó", Portuguese for "Grandma and Grandpa".

    Literatura (Literature) 

    Música (Music) 
  • Faith No More has a Bossa Nova-like song named "Caralho Voador" ("flying penis"), which even features a verse in Portuguese. Mike Patton loves Brazil ever since his first visit in 1991, and even tries to speak in the local language whenever he returns.
  • From Sabaton's "Smoking Snakes": "Cobras fumantes, eterna é sua vitória!" ("Smoking Snakes,i.e.  eternal is your victory!")
  • The music video for Limp Bizkit's "Boiler" has a diner named "Bolacha Mole", which is "limp biscuit" in Portuguese.

    Romances Visuais (Visual Novels) 
  • The House in Fata Morgana features most of its original songs in Portuguese and its lyrics even foreshadow some of the future events in the story. However, at the same time, they are sung with a heavy Japanese accent and the grammar is so mangled that, even if you are a native speaker, you may not notice it's Portuguese at first.

Kiswahili (Swahili)

    Hadithi za shabiki (Fan Works) 

    Fasihi (Literature) 
  • The Imaro series uses numerous Swahili words as names for people and places, as it's set in an expy for ancient Africa. The word imaro itself is derived from imara, the Swahili word for "power".

    Filamu (Films — Live-Action) 

    Filamu ya Uhuishaji (Films — Animation) 
  • The Lion King used a few Swahili phrases, most notably the motto "hakuna matata" ("there are no worries") and the opening lines to "The Circle of Life" (which everyone likes to sing but nobody can remember or pronounce). Rafiki has a line to Simba in Swahili (Wewe nugu, mimi hapana, "you are a baboon and I am not"), the sequel has a song titled "Upendi" ("love"), and the Broadway musical adds the song "He Lives in You", which also has Swahili lyrics.
  • Madagascar 2 has a few instances of gratuitous Swahili; for example, Gloria's newly-introduced love interest is named "Moto Moto ("hot hot").

    Mfululizo wa televisheni (Live-Action TV) 

    Muziki (Music) 
  • Michael Jackson's song "Liberian Girl" opens with Swahili, as sung by a South African singer. Swahili isn't spoken in either Liberia or South Africa (or anywhere particularly close).
  • Lionel Richie's song "All Night Long" features gratuitous Swahili mixed in with gibberish.
  • German group Boney M.'s song "Jambo - Hakuna Matata", although mostly in English, featured some gratuitous Swahili as well (including the famous "hakuna matata", but predating The Lion King).

    Michezo ya video (Video Games) 

    Vitabu vya Vichekesho (Comic Books) 
  • In the Swedish comic book series Bamse, the main character's daughter's first words are "hakuna matata". Only one other character understood the phrase, and it became a single motto between them. And this was before The Lion King was made (and popularized the phrase), so it was intended that no one would really know what it meant.

    Uhuishaji wa Magharibi (Western Animation) 
  • In the X-Men: Evolution episode "African Storm", kiswahili is used by the Hungan, as well as by members of the tribe he leads.

Svenska (Swedish)

    Annons (Advertising) 
  • Ikea. Ah, the furniture chain Ikea. All their products are named after a specific Swedish word or a place name. Always creates unintended amusement for anyone fluent in Swedish. Who wouldn't love a sofa named Friheten The Freedom?

    Litteratur (Literature) 
  • Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry has a very important Dwarvish dagger called Lökdal — which means "onion valley" in Swedish. That's pretty hilarious, and it's unclear if it was deliberate.
  • In the Trylle Trilogy, several Trylle words are actually Swedish: changeling human children are mänsklig ("human"), the village where they live is Förening ("compound" or "association"), the village where the Vittra trolls love is Ondarike ("evil empire"), and the royalty titles include Markis ("Marquis") and Marksinna ("Marchioness").

    TV serie (Live-Action TV) 
  • In Mr. Robot, Tyrell Wellick (played by Swedish actor Martin Wallström) speaks to his wife in Swedish, who in turn responds in danish.
    • This is actually pretty common in Scandinavia. Norwegian, Swedish and Danish speakers usually train themself to understand the other language of their spouse but don't speak it. Conversely their children are usually bi-lingual in both languages.
  • In True Blood, Eric and Pam conversing frequently in Swedish. Thank heavens Alexander Skarsgård can actually speak Swedish.
    • According to Skarsgård, nobody bothered to hire an actual translator to do the dialogue and he was often asked to translate it himself and then coach the other actors on-set.

    Västerländska tecknade serier (Western Animation) 
  • In The Simpsons episode "Frinkenstein", Lisa spouts some gratuitous Swedish, which is based on a correct sentence (Tack för att ni förärat vår stad, "Thank you for honoring our city") but pronounced without the umlauts (which makes it sound more like a mangled "Thank you for honoring every city").

    Videospel (Video Games) 


    Anime & Manga 
  • The anime of Ah! My Goddess has Senbei, who shifts rapidly to Gratuitous French, Russian, Spanish, & Italian, as well as engaging in Brief Accent Imitation.
  • Altair: A Record of Battles is set in an Alternate Universe Europe, and the denizens of different countries tend to use a lot of Turkish, Italian, Spanish, French, and German words, amongst others.
  • CLANNAD is based off Gratuitous Irish — they were aiming for clann, meaning "family".
  • The ending theme to Dragon Half is a Surreal Theme Tune with random Gratuitous English, some Gratuitous Mandarin (yi er san si, "one two three four") and some Gratuitous Korean (kamsa hamnida, "thank you").
  • Durarara!! has a conversation in Russian between the black Russian Simon and a couple of Russian tourists. It's obvious that none of the voice actors actually speak Russian.
  • The Bleached Underpants remake of Fate/stay night was given the inexplicable subtitle "Réalta Nua", Irish for "(A) New Star".
  • Golden Kamuy is set in early 20th century Hokkaido and prominently features several Ainu characters. The author even has an Ainu linguist to help him write dialogue in Ainu so that he doesn't fall into a My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels situation.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers, whose characters are all Nations as People, tries to give all the characters an opportunity to speak a bit of their native tongue. The results are all over the place, but the Gratuitous English is some of the least comprehensive on the show. It's probably the only anime where you'll hear a Lithuanian speak English more comprehensibly than an American (not that either is comprehensible to begin with).
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi manages to avert this (at least in the original manga) for the most part; almost all the magic spells being in Latin or Greek, and are accurate the vast majority of the time. Unfortunately, the anime adaptation wasn't so lucky — but it made up for it with some Surprisingly Good English.
  • In Nichijou, Yukko's Catchphrase is "Selamat Pagi!", which means "good morning" in Malay and Indonesian.
  • RahXephon features copious amounts of gratuitous Esperanto and Nahuatl, the old language of the Aztec empire.
  • Stitch!, the anime version of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, changes locales from Hawaii to Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, and features the Okinawan language, or Uchinaaguchi.

    Fan Works 
  • In Blind Courage, the Sheikah's fictional language is Arabic. Zelda's Sheikah nursemaid Impa sometimes peppers her speech with Arabic.
  • Eyes on Me's Thunderbird uses Gratuitous Cheyenne throughout the story.
  • Like the source material, expect at least some Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic to make use of this, regardless of language. Mi Tru Lov, though, is exceptional amongst Hetalia fanfics in that the gratuitous word appears only in the first-person narration and is "swésor", the Proto-Indo-European word for "sister".
  • Octarian in the Splatoon 2 fic I've Got Your Back is predominantly Yoruba (a West African language). Marina's native language is Octarian and her friend Pearl quickly learns a few words from listening to her.
  • Lathbora Viran, like most Dragon Age works, peppers the writing with Elvish words. The author chooses to use English for most of the internal narration, despite the viewpoint character having Elvhen as their first language.
  • Legacy of ch'Rihan:
    • The main fic liberally peppers the dialogue with words and phrases in Rihan, and doesn't even use the word "Romulan", preferring "Rihannsu".
    • The side story "Aen'rhien Vailiuri" adds a few pieces of Farsi from Jaleh Khoroushi.
    • Peace Forged in Fire has so much untranslated Rihan that one of the authors provided a glossary when people complained. It's not quite as bad as Legacy of ch'Rihan, though; most of the list consists of ranks, and you won't see whole untranslated sentences.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet, being a Star Trek fic, uses a lot of alien words (particularly the Klingon tongue of thlIngan Hol), not all of which is translated.
  • The Son of the Emperor uses both German and French mixed in with English to show that the characters are speaking a foreign language.
  • Stargate SG-1 fanfiction also likes to use Gratuitous Welsh, as the Volians' language (from the Series 5 episode "2001") is related to Welsh, and the Ori arc was introduced with the legend of Excalibur and a very badly mangled pronunciation of "Myrddin".
  • Gratuitous Welsh can be found in Torchwood fanfiction (you know, because there are so many Aliens in Cardiff), despite creators and actors stating the characters probably don't know any Welsh, at least beyond simple phrases like "Croeso i Gymru".

    Films — Animation 
  • One of the Asterix animated films, Asterix Conquers America, portrays Native American language as made up entirely of American geographical names (which is less stupid than it sounds, when you realize that many of these names are Native words). That said, "Minnesota Manitoba. MIAMI!" means, when translated from three unrelated Native American languages (None of which are from tribes that lived anywhere near where the Gauls landed), "Clear blue water, lake of the prairie. SWEET WATER!", which makes precisely zero sense, even (or perhaps especially) in the context of a medicine man threatening his Gaulish prisoners.
  • Turning Red: One of Mei's friends, Abby, is Korean-Canadian, and sometimes starts shouting in Korean when agitated.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Die Another Day, a conversation takes place in what the characters say is "Icelandic", but is really German.
  • While the film itself is a complete and utter aversion, the script of Inglourious Basterds plays the trope straight. Most of the dialogue is written in English (with instructions regarding the actual language to be used during filming, and whether the exchange is subtitled or not) but some gratuitous phrases are left in. Example (French dialogue, subtitled):
    Col Landa: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Lapadite, but no wine. This being a dairy farm one would be safe in assuming you have milk?
    Charlotte: Oui.
    Col. Landa: Then milk is what I prefer.
  • Queen of Outer Space has Aliens Speaking English, but they also throw in some made-up 'Venusian' words when the gorgeous space babes are ordering our heroes about at raygun point. Which means that they're speaking to Mission Control in English, yet giving orders to their prisoners in Venusian which they wouldn't understand.

  • In James Clavell's Asian Saga's Tai-Pan, Sir Henry Longstaff, the first British governor of its Hong Kong colony, wondered why the Chinese natives got even more inscrutable in his presence and why he could hear the odd hastily suppressed chuckle as he passed. Rather like Biggus Dickus, a man who wanks higher than any in Wome, a clumsy attempt had been made to translate the name "Longstaff" into Chinese — the characters chosen to sign proclamations in Chinese by the British rulers meant "Huge Erect Penis".
  • Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess uses Turkish for all military terms. This makes sense since he spent much of his youth as a "guest" (i.e. hostage) at the Ottoman court and was trained in warfare there.
  • German philosopher Oswald Spengler's non-fiction book The Decline of the West has Gratuitous Hebrew, Gratuitous Arab, Gratuitous Russian, Gratuitous Hindi (or maybe Sanskrit), Gratuitous Chinese, Gratuitous Latin, and Gratuitous Old Greek (often even with Greek letters). It's mostly used for concepts which are specific to one culture and would be misunderstood if a common but incorrect translation was used.
  • The web-novel Domina loves this trope. It starts with lots of Latin, including the title of the book itself and every chapter. Later, one of the fey slips into bad Irish when she's angry, then Lizzy speaks Japanese to Akane. A few chapters after that, Lizzy and a giant have a conversation in untranslated Icelandic, and it's mentioned (and shown) that vampires tend to swear in Romanian. Considering that the city is supposed to be where the world dumps its criminals, it makes some sense.
  • The Dune universe is positively riddled with words seemingly inspired by or derived from Arabic and Farsi (which makes sense, as most of the future religions have some Islam in them). Even Hebrew shows up once or twice, in particular the title Kwisatz Haderach (probably from the Hebrew qfisatz ha-derekh, a magical teleportation ability ascribed to some real-world Chassidic holy men).
  • The Emberverse's writer S. M. Stirling sure loves doing his research, as is proven by the incredibly gratuitous Finnish, Irish, Icelandic, and Elvish. It includes debate on whether to use the Sindarin or Quenya dialects, or the "Common Tongue" (plain old English). Astrid has a Running Gag where she deliberately speaks Elvish around non-speakers just to piss them off. Some names are even taken directly from The Lord of the Rings, like Dúnedain.
  • The Ender's Game sequels have plenty of Portuguese-derived terms, as Orson Scott Card tried to parallel Ender's journey with his own stint as a missionary in Brazil. A few of the conversations are rather stilted and bizarre, but the oddities are small enough that they can mostly be excused as a different dialect (or just being several centuries in the future).
  • Hollow Kingdom (2019):
    • The chapter narrated by a camel in Dubai has various Arabic exclamations in what is otherwise an English monologue.
    • One chapter is from the perspective of a Bangkok elephant herd. The novel's Arc Words are the only part of the chapter written in Thai: "The One Who Hollows as well must return".
  • In Ghana, where His Only Wife takes place, English is the official language, but there are many other "government-sponsored" languages in use. It's not unusual for characters switch from English to Ewe and back, or to greet others with a Mia woezor (you are welcome).
  • In Mark Twain's travel stories, his buddy starts to insert lots of Gratuitous Foreign Language (Fijian, various Indian languages and others) into his story, for no particular reason except that "every travel writer does it like that". Twain chastises him for doing this.
  • Letters to His Son by British statesman Lord Chesterfield had Gratuitous Latin, Gratuitous French, Gratuitous Italian, Gratuitous German, and Gratuitous Spanish. And yes, he expected his son to learn all these languages.
  • In A Long Petal of the Sea it's all about the Gratuitous Catalan. Some of the Spanish Civil War refugees on board the Winnipeg sing poet Jacint Verdaguer's "L'Emigrant" as the ship departs. The chorus is quoted without translating:
    «Dolça Catalunya,
    pàtria del meu cor,
    quan de tu s'allunya
    d'enyorança es mor».translation 
  • Aragorn invokes this at the end of The Lord of the Rings when he wants to include his old Breeland nickname of "Strider" in his titles somehow. He settles on making it the name of his house, figuring that it'll sound fine if he uses the archaic elvish language Quenya to translate it as Telcontar.
  • Set in Lagos, Nigeria, My Sister, the Serial Killer has the characters speaking in English (Nigeria's official language) to each other. Protagonist Korede's mother often drops expressions in Yoruba, such as Jésù ṣàánú fún wa (literally: Jesus has Mercy on us) and others.
  • Nory Ryan's Song, being set in Ireland, has Irish words occasionally sprinkled throughout the narrative. Some important ones are fuafar (used by Nory to refer to anything she finds disgusting), sidhe (referring to The Fair Folk), madra (the Irish word for "dog", referring to Nory's dog Maeve), and Dia duit (Irish greeting for "God be with you").
  • In One's Aspect to the Sun by Sherry D. Ramsey, characters frequently break into Gratuitous Esperanto, German and Spanish, often in the same sentence (or possibly future Esperanto has grown closer to German and Spanish). For example, "Thank God!" becomes "Danke Dios!" (Esperanto would be "Dankas Dion!", German "Gott sie Danke!", and Spanish "Gracias a Dios!")
  • The main character of Phantalleum - Dual Crossage is called "Bodoh Sombong", which means "foolishly arrogant" in Malay.
  • Rose of the Prophet: The Tara-kan language obviously is a take-off of Arabic. The word "jihad" is thrown around and stated to mean "holy war". Jihad actually translates as "struggle", and has a fairly in-depth amount of context, though it can be used to mean holy war in very specific circumstances. However, that is simply one of many Arabic words used, along with "effendi", "imam", "sheik" etc.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has random bits from a number of languages:

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: the season 1 episode "Fancy Brudgom" has some Gratuitous Danish, with Peralta correctly mentioning that brudgom means "groom" and forlover means "best man" (although his pronunciation sucks).
  • Hiroshi Matsumoto of Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende fame did a skit where he gathered people from twelve different countries, got them to talk to him in their native languages on various topics, and responded while pretending to know what they are saying.
  • Horrible Histories' Owain Glyndwr song has gratuitous Welsh at the end.
  • The title character of I Dream of Jeannie speaks Farsi upon being released from her bottle in the series' pilot.
  • JAG: Mac gets to speak Farsi on several occasions. Catherine Bell speaks that language for real.
  • Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek was multilingual,note  and would often read clues dealing with foreign words in as close to that language's accent as possible. He also liked to throw foreign phrases at contestants who mentioned fluency in another language.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Zelenka will often spout unsubtitled Czech, which is nearly always a Bilingual Bonus and often breaks the fourth wall (in hilarious fashion). The team is also, by concept, international, and filming in the very multi-cultural Vancouver means that many of the extras are multilingual as well; you can hear snippets of French, Spanish, German, and others in the background.
  • Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak is of Polish ancestry, and will occasionally say something in Polish if a contestant also happens to be Polish.
  • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger throws in gratuitous Brazilian Portuguese for Japanese children's television.

  • BT's "Firewater" and "Memories in a Sea of Forgetfulness" both gratuitously feature Arabic lyrics, though the liner notes are entirely in English.
  • The title of Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto appears to be gratuitous Greek (mylo is "mill" and xyloto is "wooden" — they may have been aiming for "sawmill").
  • The song "Jorobita" by the Mexican composer of songs for children, Cri Cri, has Gratuitous Arabic in its lyrics.
  • The 12" of "Our Lips Are Sealed" by The Fun Boy Three includes a version in Urdu, for no particular reason.
  • The music video to Alison Gold's "Chinese Food" had subtitles that consisted of the song lyrics "translated" into random languages like Hebrew, Swedish, Japanese, and Italian.
  • The Irish doom metal band Mael Mordha use gratuitous Irish (which wouldn't be gratuitous per se, except few people in Ireland can actually speak Irish). They often insert random Irish words either to create a rhyme or to evoke a folksy feel.
  • P.D.Q. Bach's "Birthday Ode to 'Big Daddy' Bach" has one part mixing not only German and English but also Spanish and Japanese:
    Three times high! (High!)
    Number one! (Yes!)
    Three times high! (High!)
    Nummer eins! (Ja!)
    Three times high! (High!)
    Numero uno! (Si!)
    Three times high! (High!)
    Ichi-ban! (Hai!)
  • Sound Horizon is particularly fond of using foreign languages of all sorts in their albums, particularly after Aramary left.
  • Tears for Fears: Salam, the Arabic salutation meaning "peace," appears in the song "Floating Down the River".
  • The last chorus of the Frankie Yankovic version of the Too Fat Polka is sung partly in Slovenian: "Jer je nočem, ti jer zemi, ona debela/Ona debela/Ona debela" (pronounced: YAR yeh NEH-chem, TEE yer ZEH-mee, OH-nah deh-bel-AH), which translates as "Because I don't want her, you take her, she is fat."

  • One of the tables in Star Trek Pinball is named "Qapla'", which is Klingon for "success". As expected, the game itself is filled with Klingon voice clips.
  • In Corvette, the player must periodically enter auto races against various sexy models, some of whom will gratuitously issue a challenge in French, German, or Italian.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Rocket Age is set in an alternate 1930s, where all of the major Earthling powers are spreading out across the solar system. The game designers acknowledge that their translations can be a little off and encourage Game Masters to give their players free story points for pointing out correct translations and grammar.
  • Twilight: 2000 uses Gratuitous Polish, as its first scenarios are set in Poland. The result is like something out of Google translate. They also didn't include diacritics (not that they could if they wanted, because in The '80s no text editor could do that), but this occasionally changed the meaning of the word. Polish is also a highly inflected language, and the translators gave no thought to whether they were using the correct form of the word (e.g. the ship "Wisla Krolowa", aiming for "Queen of the Vistula" but meaning "Vistula the Queen").


    Video Games 
  • The Viking speech files in Age of Empires II are mangled Icelandic. The builder, for instance, says "Hussasmiþur" which means house-builder, instead of just Smiður or even Húsasmiður. It makes playing the Vikings a hoot, since it's so horribly pronounced.
  • All of the Arcana in Arcana Heart have attack names in many different foreign languages. For instance, Partinias, the Arcanum of Love, uses Gratuitous Greek (roz sfaira = "pink ball/sphere").
  • Locations names in Axiom Verge are in Sumerian, for reasons uknown.
  • In Civilization V and VI, every leader speaks in their native tongue (within reason), from Alexander speaking Ancient Greek to Montezuma speaking Nahuatl.
  • Cold Winter have a stage set in Egypt, where enemy mooks will randomly blurt "Allahuakhbar!" when killed. There's also a restaurant who have signs proudly proclaiming they serve "halal" (permissible food that doesn't contain pork, which Muslims can't eat) dishes, despite being set in a district where 90% of the population are already Muslim - the sign seems somewhat redundant.
  • When Psy is selected in Crossy Road, the game's logo is changed to Korean.
  • The Dalish Elves in Dragon Age pepper their speech with random Elvish. They do this deliberately, as they've lost so much of their language and culture, this is how they try to keep it alive.
  • In Haven (2020), one of the other books in the house where Yu and Kay find the Erotica Handbook (whose cover is adorned with Gratuitous Japanese script) has the Gratuitous German title Flurm Gliffen, which means something like "hallway slipping", while said book's apparent sequel has the subtitle Ostruisï, which is Italian for "obstructed".
  • The Wii version of Punch-Out!! features boxers from all over the world, and every non-English-speaking boxer (except for King Hippo) speaks in their native language.
  • Touhou Project:
    • The nonsense lyrics of the fan song "Marisa Stole The Precious Thing" include Gratuitous English, Gratuitous German, Gratuitous Mandarin, and arguably Gratuitous Japanese.
    • Nitori's spellcard "Kappa Pororoca" is half-Gratuitous Tupi (a Brazilian Native American Language), since pororoca is a Brazilian Tupi term.
  • Outriders has Jakub, a Polish mechanic and former Outrider who sometimes uses Polish words in conversations. Unfortunately, the pronunciation is often mangled due to his voice actor not being a native speaker.
  • In Overwatch, some characters will spout phrases in their native languages, such as Russian for Zarya, Korean for D.Va, German for Mercy, and Japanese for Genji and Hanzo. This can also serve as a clue to who's using an Ultimate: friendly characters will shout their Pre Ass Kicking One Liner in English, while enemies will shout them in their native tongue.
  • In Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Pavel the explorer has been to all sorts of foreign lands, but the only thing he has to show for it linguistically is random gratuitous words from every country he's ever visited. Spanish, French, Japanese, and Mandarin all show up.
  • The Richman series is known for this in almost all installmentsnote . Most characters speak Chinese Mandarin, but there are also characters who speak Hokkien, English and Japanese. Some games also have voice dubs in different languages but some characters will not change their languages at all.
  • The Soldier of Fortune games have Gratuitous Slavic (Russians and Czech mooks say the same phrases), Gratuitous Arabic, Gratuitous African language (mooks in Uganda and Sudan sound exactly the same), Gratuitous Spanish ("grenado" when throwing a grenade, which should be "granada"), Gratuitous Chinese, etc. Much of it is Foreign Sounding Gibberish.
  • From the Soul Series:
    • Algol's move list is almost entirely in Gratuitous Arabic, with some Aramaic (e.g. "Talitha", which simply means "little girl") thrown in for good measure. Some of them aren't actual phrases but rather star names (most of which are really in Arabic), although they managed to sneak in obscure stars like Algieba, Rastaban, and Alphard, as opposed to the more popular Fomalhaut or Aldebaran. The usage is as an allusion to Algol's name (also taken from a star) and place of origin (the ancient Middle East).
    • Zasalamel's move list is in Gratuitous Akkadian. Again, most of them aren't phrases but rather the names of Akkadian or Babylonian gods. Understandable, given that Zasalamel hailed from Algol's kingdom (or somewhere close to it) in roughly the same era.
    • Talim's move list incorporates some Cebuano phrases, as per her place of origin (the Visayas Islands of the Philippines). Which is kind of awesome, given that the laity would have trouble distinguishing languages from different Southeast Asian countries, and this is a regional language. Her name is even Cebuano for "sharp."
  • Star Trek Online: Practically everyone in the Klingon Defense Force peppers their dialog with phrases in tlhIngan Hol — even characters for whom it makes no sense, like six of their seven playable races.
  • Suikoden, whose world mingles elements of various real nations, will use foreign languages to name people, places, weapons, and other things. It esults in Gratuitous English, German, Russian, and any other language they thought was suitably Foreign Sounding Gibberish. The most epic examples, though, are the ending songs: the first game's is supposedly Portuguese, but it's apparently written by a Japanese man before babelfish existed and pronounced by Japanese singers, and the second game's is supposedly German (the game itself being called Suikoden Tierkreis), but the language was unidentifiable to the point that people were debating what language or dialect it was even supposed to be.
  • Thunder Force VI makes use of two Gratuitous non-Japanese, non-English languages: the Galaxy Federation's primary language is the ancient and long-obsolete Tangut script, and the Orn Empire's primary language is Mongolian.
  • Yakuza 4 brings us Gratuitous Tagalog in a Filipino massage parlor. All of it, from the title to the dialogue, is a "Blind Idiot" Translation that makes no sense in Tagalog.
  • Inscryption: One of the logs you unlock in Kaycee's Mod has a character with a Polish last name demanding something gets done "nah tick mass" ("natychmiast", immediately).

    Web Animation 
  • Foxy Gets Hooked: Chica, who has a noticeable Welsh accent, inserts a little Welsh into her sentences.
    Chica: Oh, what happened there, Foxy bach?note 
    Chica: Look, I have dim cliw.note 


    Web Original 
  • Inverted in Chaos Fighters, where the gratuitous local language (read:Malay) is used in an English work by a Malaysian. RAKSA cranked this up with gratuitous Kelantan and Terengganu accented Malay as early as the first chapter.
  • Ilivais X has Iriana make an elaborate speech while having an orgasm, which alternates between Vietnamese, Icelandic, French, Serbian, and Creole. None of which she actually knows, and all of which were churned out with Google Translate.
  • The Trope Epitaph page on This Very Wiki translates the "Here lies [X trope]" format into relevant languages when mourning tropes based on non-English concepts. Examples include "Yahaan nihit the namespace Bollywood/ ha," "Koko ni Harem Hero ga arimasu," and "Här ligger Stockholm Shnozzing."

    Web Videos 
  • Mystery Science Theater F1's main language is English, but Matt has spoken Portuguese (his native tongue), French, German, Japanese, Finnish, Russian, Swedish, and Dutch at some point or another, often untranslated.
  • The Sidepork Pandemonium episode of Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time (which already revels in Gratuitous Swedish) show the cook karate-chopping butter in half, indicated by a Korean flag in the top right corner and subtitles in Korean.
  • Pitchingace88 recites the opening line of some of his commentary videos using various foreign languages such as Indonesian and Tagalog.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time has Lady Rainicorn, who only speaks in Korean.
  • Kaeloo: Olaf interjects random Russian words into his speech.
  • The Lingo Show, being an Edutainment Show designed to teach preschoolers as many languages as it can, features Gratuitous Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Welsh, Polish, and even Gratuitous Punjabi, Urdu, and Somali.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: JunJun and his family are Philippine eagles who speak Tagalog sometimes. For example, JunJun uses words such as "salamat" and calls his grandmother "lola."

    Real Life 
  • The page quote is suspected not to be from Charles V at all, but rather an invention of one of his biographers. The best evidence for this is the fact that Charles was born in Ghent (now in the Flanders region of Belgium), considered himself Dutch, and grew up speaking Dutch, which the Dutch themselves have called "not a language, but a disease of the throat." On the other hand, the distinction between German and Dutch was not as clear then as it is now, and it is very possible that he was actually insulting God (or at least the Church), women, and men: circumstances at the time would have forced him to speak the languages he mentioned (the Spanish Church was unusually powerful, custom dictated you speak to women in the "nicest" language you knew, and French was the language of diplomacy), meaning the only one to whom he could speak his native tongue was his horse.
  • When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed. Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated". So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket. "When they're proofing signs, they should really use someone who speaks Welsh," said journalist Dylan Iorwerth.
  • Weapons of foreign origin are often referred to by their local names (even if these names simply translate into "sword" or "knife" or the like) to make them sound a lot more exotic and/or emphasize said foreign origin. It also applies for other terms related to martial arts as well, which is why people will insist on, say, "kata" rather than "form."
  • The Brazilian Federal Police, in one of many cases of being overtly creative naming their operations, had once an "Operation Satiagraha", taking the Sanskrit term Gandhi used for pacific resistence. There are also cases with more traditional foreign languages, such as "Operação Good Vibes" (investigating ecstasy traffickers) and "Operation Démarche" ("diligence" in French).


Video Example(s):


No Cantonese in School Uniform

Some schools in Hong Kong forbid the use of Cantonese (most Hongkongers' mother tongue) while the students are wearing their school uniform, which then leads to conversations like these when they interact with people who aren't subjected to the "weird school rule", as reflected in the skit.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BilingualDialogue

Media sources: