When moving abroad and facing the colossal task of trying to make new friends, language is probably the biggest barrier of them all. But it’s remarkable how little of your adoptive country’s local tongue you need to know to break down that initial wall. Most people around the world love to hear foreigners trying to speak their language, and as daunting as it may seem, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best ways to start a conversation.
We’ve compiled a list of ten endearing everyday phrases that every expat should have up their sleeve. Whether you’re entirely new to the language, or an expert speaker looking to perfect your local flair, these sayings are so entirely natural to natives that you will be bound to impress!
Phase: “Parler Français comme une vache espagnole”
Translation: (Literally: to speak French like a Spanish cow) To butcher a language.
Phrase: “Les carottes sont cuites”
Translation: (Literally: the carrots are cooked) Nothing can be done about it now.
Phrase: “Pedir peras al olmo”
Translation: (Literally: to ask the elm tree for pears) To demand the impossible.
Phrase: “Ser uña y carne”
Translation: (Literally: to be nail and flesh) To be inseparable friends.
Phrase: “Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca”
Translation: (Literally: to have a cask full of wine and a drunk wife) To have your cake and eat it.
Phrase: “Dalle stele alle stalle”
Translation: (Literally: to go from the stars to the horse stables) To fall from grace.
Phrase: “Cabeça d'alho xoxo”
Translation: (Literally: head of rotten garlic) To be forgetful.
Phrase: “Descascar o abacaxi”
Translation: (Literally: peel the pineapple) To solve the problem.
Phrase: “Arbeit ist die beste Jacke”
Translation: (Literally: work is the best jacket) You should do something useful.
Phrase: “Es past wie ein Faust aufs Auge”
Translation: (Literally: it fits like a fist in the eye) It’s a perfect fit!