Viral Video Alert: How Languages Sound to Foreigners

When we don’t understand a language, our minds naturally focus on things outside of comprehension. We focus on how the dialect sounds. We notice the accents, the tongue rolling, the dips and the particular pronunciations. You may only speak a few languages, but you’d be surprised to discover how many you recognize based on sound.

Similarly, I’m sure we’ve all wondered how our own dialect sounds like to a foreign ear. Is it pretty? Do our words sound beautifully slurred together or do they rise and dip in an intriguing manner?

Well this Finnish woman has certainly thought about it and seems determined to master the art of various accents.. without actually learning different languages.

19-year-old Finnish YouTube user Sara is seen in this video spending nearly two minutes speaking absolute gibberish. She may not know many languages, but she certainly sounds like she does.

Throughout the video, Sara mimics what various languages sound like to her. While she may throw in a few correct words here and there, she clearly does not know how to actually speak the languages. She reminds us that correct speech is not the purpose of her video anyway. She simply wants to demonstrate how different languages sound like to the foreign ear.

During her demonstration of an American accent, she says “Yeah, I mean, uh. Trevor-mis-underpairing-like-monin-fair. Follow me, like a pending friend-tricket. Balone-a-value precise-y. Hello?”

Clearly, she only knows a few words in English, but her ability to capture the accent is undeniable.

She also does a version of Japanese. Unfortunately, many viewers have said this is her weakest accent. Additionally, she ends the video with an “East Asian” demonstration that sounds closer to South Asia’s Vietnamese accent.

Of course, we understand that what we hear is simply a demonstration of how languages sounds like to her. This doesn’t seem to stop people from putting in their two cents. While the majority of viewers are impressed by her skills, there have been some people who are insulted that their language was not perfected and is shown in this manner.

Whatever the opinions may be, there is no denying this video is going viral. Less than a week since its release, the video has already gained nearly 4 million views on YouTube.


Asian Woman Kicked Out of McDonalds Because of Her English Skills

Receipts for Asian customers labeled “Ching Chong”, music videos that insult and stereotype our women, people ranting on the internet about how Asians annoy them –   Yup, we’ve seen a lot of disrespectful things thrown towards our community. Well unfortunately, this is another one to add to the list and get just as angry about.

In Vancouver, a 51-year-old Chinese woman is demanding a printed apology from the franchise owner and manager of a specific McDonalds for the manner in which they treated her. According to Hai Xia, a McDonalds manager refused to serve her and kicked her out because of her English skills.

Xia, who speaks English as a second language, was allegedly trying to explain to the workers that her order was incorrect, but she was dismissed by the manager because she apparently didn’t “understand English”. Additionally, the manager added that they didn’t speak Mandarin although Xia was speaking English.

Was this manager simply having a bad day? Its possible. Xia noted that when another worker came over to ask what was going on, the manager scolded him for interfering. Clearly, this manager woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But is this any excuse for discriminating against someone for their limited skills in a second language? Absolutely not. Is it okay not to serve someone just because you don’t have the patience to be decent? Nope.

McDonalds claim that they are taking the complaint very seriously and officials will meet with Xia to resolve the issue next week.

Lost in Translation: 14 Amazing Asian Words with No English Equivalent

With over 170,000 words in current use, the English language is pretty expansive. But to believe that it (or any other language for that matter) can express every emotion, situation and feeling that we experience is a bit absurd; we’ve probably found ourselves searching for the right word, always seeming to come up short. For your vocabulary-expanding benefit, here’s a list of some words from some Asian languages that have managed to find that right word where English could not.

1 Boketto (Japanese): the action of just staring out blankly without any thoughts

2 热闹 (Pin Yin: Rènào): implies crowdedness and lots of noise and activity, but in the positive sense

3 Pambahay (Tagalog): your “house clothes (aka sweatpants, t-shirt, etc.)”
or clothes you’d wear in private spaces

4 Sayang (Tagalog): interjection that connotes frustration over a near-miss

5 Betsubara (Japanese): translates loosely to “extra stomach”; is meant to describe a woman that always has room for dessert

6 撒 娇 / 撒嬌 (sa-jiao), sai-nai in Taiwanese Hokkien: Sulky, whiny, cutesy, coaxing, coy, spoiled, clingy, and coquettish are all used to describe it, but no single English word encompasses it. (From my interpretation, it’s like aegyo in Korean.)

7 Yuanfen (Chinese): a fated relationship or a relationship that has been destined

8 Gigil (Tagalog): the urge to squeeze or pinch something because it’s so cute

9 Nunchi (Korean): the understated or subtle ability to be able to read another’s feelings or mood by listening to them, like emotional intelligence

10 Greng-jai (Thai): That sense you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a burden for them

11 잘한척 (Korean): Romanized roughly as “jalhancheok”. It roughly means when one shows off or is cocky for something that he/she doesn’t deserve to gloat over

12 Mencolek (Indonesian): describes the prank people play on each other when you tap someone on the shoulder from behind to trick them

13 Kilig (Tagalog): the inexplicable feeling of being intoxicated by when something romantic happens; feeling as if you’re on “cloud nine” because of love, or at least the idea of it

14 Koi No Yokan (Japanese): when you meet someone for the first time, feeling that you two are going to fall in love

Know of any other words? Let us know in the comment section!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7