Non-English or Multingual (incl. English) jokes and puns?
May 17, 2014 7:48 PM   Subscribe

I was recently in a situation where French jokes, French-and-English jokes, and French-and-English-and-Arabic jokes would have been handy. Just to be ready for the next time this happens, what are your favorite jokes that are in a language other than English or that combine two or more languages (one of which, ideally, is English)?
posted by Going To Maine to Writing & Language (27 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
A French cat and an English cat had a boat race. The English one was named "One Two Three Cat", and the French cat was named "Un Deux Trois Cat". Which cat won the race?

The English one, of course, because Un Deux Trois Cat sank.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:52 PM on May 17, 2014 [14 favorites]

Link to video for better delivery: You know why they only eat one egg for breakfast in France?
posted by McSly at 8:02 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

my favourite vegan restaurant here (Montreal) calls their no-cheese cheesecake 'gâteau faux-mage', which never fails to delight me.
posted by spindle at 8:26 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a joke from German tv about "Kentucky Schried Ficken," which means "Kentucky screams 'Fuck!'"
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:27 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

An American was visiting a restaurant in Quebec, and when he got to the sink, both faucets were labeled "C".

Later, he asked about it. "We are bilingual, of course! One C stands for 'cold' and the other for 'chaud'!"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:31 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sort of fits the bill? There's an American Sign Language joke that goes like this: you repeatedly sign the word for "milk," which is sort of the movement of milking a cow, as you move your hand left to right in front of your face. You ask the victim of your upcoming pun, "What is this?" The answer? Past Your Eyes (Pasteurized) Milk.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:33 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I went looking for a better telling than my personal recall could produce of this one, which I also totally remember as a dad-joke from my childhood. (I don't know the blogger or anything, I was just Googling, most of what I remembered was the punchline.) To reproduce here in case the post goes away at some point:
This guy goes into a department store, but he's from Mexico, and he doesn't know any English. He goes to the salesman to get some help, but the salesman doesn't know any Spanish. Being a good salesman, he tries his best to make it work.

"¿Dónde están los calcetines?" the guy asks, and the salesman says, "Um...are you looking for a shirt?" and he indicates his shirt, and the man shakes his head, so the salesman says, "Do you mean pants?" The man shakes his head again, no.

The salesman lifts the leg of his pants and points to his sock. "Socks?" he asks.

"¡Ah! ¡Sí! ¡Sí! ¡Eso sí que es!" the man says.

"S-O-C-K-S?" The salesman says. "Well why didn't you say so!"
posted by Sequence at 9:36 PM on May 17, 2014 [11 favorites]

In Alice in Wonderland, the Rabbit at one point says that he is "digging for apples". This is a reference to pomme de terre, the French word for potato, which translated word-for-word means "apple of the earth."

One of my Cantonese-speaking cousins-in-law invented the joke, "What is a police officer's favorite animal?" "The lion." "Lion" sounds like the Cantonese phrase for "to catch a criminal".

"SEMPER UBI SUB UBI", sometimes found on Latin Club T-shirts, is a silly phrase which, translated word-for-word, means "Always where under where." Of course this is entirely meaningless in Latin, and only makes sense if you're an English-speaker who has taken a Latin class.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:38 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Madrid. Woman knocks at a door, and a man opens it.

Woman: "¿Es aquí donde dan clases gratis de inglés?"

Man: "If, if! Between, between!".
posted by kandinski at 10:51 PM on May 17, 2014 [6 favorites]


Como esta frijole cabrito?

Soy bean muy bueno.
posted by rudd135 at 10:59 PM on May 17, 2014

A knock knock joke in French, sort of:

Frappe Frappe!
Qui est la?
Lhasta qui?
Of course I lost a key, otherwise I wouldn't have had to frappe!
posted by KathrynT at 11:58 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

HAY anyone want a Latin-Mandarin word I made up?

qitaque -- and so the others

(itaque = ita + que, "and so"; qi ta = "the others")


(Puerto Rican) Spanish [apologies if this is offensive -- the teacher told us this joke in high school]:

A woman is applying for a job. Part of the application is an English proficiency exam.

The examiner asks, "Could you please use 'yellow', 'pink', and 'green' in a sentence?'

"Why, of course, that's easy," she says. "When the phone goes 'griiing, griiiing', I pink it up, and say, 'yello?'"


English - Mandarin:

Old old Chinese man is at border patrol, answering questions before gaining entry with his tourist visa. The old man doesn't understand English one bit.

"Who was the first president of the United States?" asks the agent.

The old man thinks. It's only the first question, so the agent must be asking my name.

"Wo xing Deng", he says.

Agent is duly impressed, and asks, "What is the nature of your business?"

The old man thinks again. It's the second question, so maybe they're testing loyalty to China to make sure he doesn't overstay his visa: they must be asking the name of the person responsible for the opening-up and reform.

"Deng Xiaoping", he says.

Agent is pleased and impressed. Economic stimulus, via outlet malls!

...there was a third question but I can't remember it. Of course it ends with the old man being let through.
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:13 AM on May 18, 2014

Why did the Chef kill himself?

Because he lost his huile d'olive!

(From this thread, where you can find a lot more.)
posted by lollymccatburglar at 1:08 AM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

German breakfasts? That's what you call a Wurst Käse scenario.
posted by lollusc at 2:13 AM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

German + English:

What comes between fear and sex?

(Vier, fünf, sechs, pronounced fear, foonf, sex, is the German for four, five, six.)
posted by daisyk at 3:35 AM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Why do French people only eat one egg for breakfast?

Because one egg is un oeuf.
posted by crocomancer at 4:04 AM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

A Frenchman visiting America was complaining to friends back home. "They give these huge portions for everything except soup. As soon as the soup is ready, they announce, "Soupçon!"
posted by Mchelly at 4:40 AM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Norwegian/English: It's not the fart that kills, it's the smell.

Fart means speed, smell means impact.
posted by flod logic at 6:16 AM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

What do you say if you find Zola in your hot tub?
posted by tardigrade at 7:00 AM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Quote from George W. Bush (Best said in a drawling Texas accent): Now, the problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur.
posted by Capri at 8:19 AM on May 18, 2014

My three-year old bilingual French-American son discovered this one as we were practicing spelling in English: What's the funniest word? P-I-Z-Z-A. Because it's got a zizi in it!

(zizi is French for weenie)

Only works in American English, because Canadian and British pronounce Z as zed.
posted by Liesl at 8:37 AM on May 18, 2014

the russian word rendered in cyrillic as XOP is pronounced "whore", with the wh part aspirated, but it means "chorus". who doesn't love a good roosky whore?
posted by bruce at 9:26 AM on May 18, 2014


Comment s’appelle un chien qui vend des médicaments?
Un pharmachien!

What do you call a dog that does magic?
English: A labracadabrador! French: Un magichien!
posted by wiskunde at 9:47 AM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Look at that S car go
posted by Jakey at 12:22 PM on May 18, 2014

There were two cats that had a race across the channel. One called one two three, and the other called un deux trois. Who won? One two three because un deux trois cat sink. (quatre cinq)
posted by soelo at 1:58 PM on May 18, 2014

In English:

JOKER: "Okay, I'll say 'I one a dog turd', then you say 'I two a dog turd' and so on. Right, I one a dog turd."

VICTIM: "I two a dog turd."

JOKER: "I three a dog turd."

VICTIM: "I four a dog turd.

JOKER: "I five a dog turd."

VICTIM: "I six a dog turd."

JOKER: "I seven a dog turd."

VICTIM: "I eight a dog turd."

JOKER: "Yeurgh! You ate a dog turd?"

In French:

JOKER: "Okay, you say 'Bread One' in French, then I'll say 'Bread two' and so on."

VICTIM: "Okay. Pain une."

JOKER: "Pain deux."

VICTIM: "Pain trois."

JOKER: "Pain quatre."

VICTIM: "Pain cinq."

JOKER: "Pain six."

VICTIM: "Pain sept. Ow!"

JOKER: "What? You told me to pincette!"

In Greek:

JOKER: "Okay, you say 'A Me' in Greek, then I'll say 'B me' and so on."

VICTIM: "Okay. Alpha me."

JOKER: "Beta me."

VICTIM: "Gamma me."

JOKER: "γαμώ you? You'll have to buy me dinner first!"
posted by the latin mouse at 1:33 AM on May 19, 2014

Friends told these last night.

Q: Where is a French person always from?
A: D.C.!

Q: What salad is appropriate to eat at 6:00?
A: A six-heures salad!
posted by batter_my_heart at 9:25 AM on May 25, 2014

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