In some other language, please?
March 17, 2019 1:32 PM   Subscribe

It's common in, but not limited to, a science-fiction setting for one person to give a long-winded technical explanation of something and someone else asks "In English, please?" Lots of examples discussed here. How is this phrased in other languages?

More specifically, I'm asking if in the movies, television, literature etc. originating in the other languages on this planet, there is a similar convention where one person asks another to re-explain whatever they just said "but in [Japanese/French/Swedish/OUR_LANGUAGE], please?"

If not, are there some other witty phrases commonly understood to mean "Please dumb down your answer for me" and if so, what do they literally mean?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Relevant achewood
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:21 PM on March 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

French here!

To a friend:
* En français, s’il te plaît.
* Pourrais-tu me la refaire en français ?

To several friends, or to a respected colleague:
* En français, s’il vous plaît.
* Pourriez-vous refaire cette explication en français ?
posted by XiBe at 2:52 PM on March 17, 2019

relevant ProZD
posted by praemunire at 3:00 PM on March 17, 2019

Two related phrases from role-playing games:

"Info dump" to describe the inelegant and immersion breaking lecture, and

"SPACEBAR!" as a cry by players to the Game Master to end the lecture early and return to to interactive and fun part of the game. This last one is interesting, because it is a rare example of computer gaming influencing tabletop gaming, when almost always the cultural transfer goes in the other direction.
posted by seasparrow at 3:36 PM on March 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

In Spanish, people say háblame en cristiano, literally "talk to me in Christian!"., basically meaning "in layman's terms".
posted by nomis at 4:06 PM on March 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

In Dutch, we might say 'En nu in gewone taal, graag?' meaning 'And now in ordinary language/speech, please?' But something like 'Can you explain that in common/normal Dutch?' works too.

If you want something dumbed down, you might ask for it to be explained in 'Jip en Janneke-taal'. Jip and Janneke are characters from a series of children's books which are seen as written in very plain and simple language.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:14 PM on March 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

"Explain Like I'm Five"
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:45 PM on March 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just to clarify, I'm not looking for other ways to ask in English, nor examples where one character asks someone else in English.

I'm asking how the request is made in non-English media (film, TV, books, etc.) -- do they just substitute "OUR LANGUAGE NAME" for "English" or use some other phrase?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:05 PM on March 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is internet slang/a meme so I'm not sure that it's ever made it off the internet into physical media, but in Japanese there's a phrase that goes 'Japanese is ok' (nihongo de ok) i.e. It's fine to speak Japanese.

It originates from a mid-noughties 2ch thread where someone writing as Ultraman (a Japanese alien superhero who only speaks using the sounds 'jwa! jwa jwa wa wa jwa!') made a thread where Ultraman would listen to your troubles. Someone posted "jwawawjwawa, jwajwajwawajwa?" and Ultraman replied, "Nihongo de ok."

Generally it's used when people are mumbling or they're talking unclearly/nonsense, but I've heard it used in the sense that you describe.
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 6:05 PM on March 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

In Swedish there’s the expression ”prata som folk,” or ”talk like people,” i.e. regular people.
posted by bluebird at 2:50 AM on March 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Although on re-reading your question, I guess ”prata som folk” is more a general complaint, not really a request in the moment. So never mind.
posted by bluebird at 2:54 AM on March 18, 2019

In German, I would probably say, "und jetzt noch mal auf Deutsch?" (And now the same thing in German?)
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:58 AM on March 18, 2019

A non-idiomatic example: the standard verb for "to explain" in Hungarian is magyarázni, which etymologically would broadly mean "to say in Hungarian".
posted by jackbishop at 5:29 AM on March 18, 2019

In Polish it's "and how is that in Human?" or "Talk to me in Polish..."
posted by I claim sanctuary at 6:08 AM on March 18, 2019

In spanish you can also hear "En román paladino".
posted by gregjones at 12:22 PM on March 18, 2019

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