Assorted ’useful’ foreign phrases

These phrases come mainly from phrasebooks and language courses. Some of them are intended to illustrate particular grammatical points, others I just found amusing. Finding occasions to use them might be quite challenging, but you’ll probably have fun trying. Maybe you could use them as ice breakers, chat-up lines, as part of a comedy routine, or for some surreal conversations.

Belarusian | Breton | Cebuano | Cherokee | Chinese | Cornish | Czech | Danish | Dutch | Esperanto | Finnish | French | German | Greek | Haida | Hawaiian | Hebrew | Hindi | Hungarian | Icelandic | Indonesian | Irish (Gaelic) | Italian | Japanese | Jèrriais | Kannada | Lakhota | Latin | Laz | Lojban | Manx | Old Norse | Polish | Portuguese | Quenya | Romanian | Russian | Samoan | Scottish Gaelic | Serbian | Shanghainese | Sindarin | Slovenian | Spanish | Swahili | Swedish | Tahitian | Tamil | Tibetan | Turkish | Urdu | Uzbek | Welsh

Run away Calum! They have salted gannet!

Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig)

Cò an caora sin còmhla riut a chunnaic mi an-raoir?
Who was that sheep I saw you with last night?

Cha b’e sin caora, ’se sin mo chèile a bha innte!
That was no sheep, that was my spouse!

Dè th’ort fo d’fhèileadh?
What do you wear under your kilt?

An toir thu dhomh pòg?
Will you give me a kiss?

Obh obh, tha leòmhann anns an taigh agad a-rithist.
Oh dear, there’s a lion in your house again.

Tha guga math dhut.
Salted gannet is good for you.

Tha a h-uile duine ag iarraidh guga.
Everyone wants salted gannet.

Bha Iain a’ feitheamh rium anns a’ phreas.
Iain was waiting for me in the cupboard.

Cùm sùil air na drathaisean. Tha Màiri a’ tighinn.
Keep an eye on the underpants. Mairi is coming.

Ghoid Màiri na drathaisean. Tha i gu math neònach.
Mairi stole the underpants. She is really strange.

Tha Niseag ag òl IRN BRU.
Nessie is drinking IRN BRU.

Reic mi croit. Cheannaich mi bàta-luath.
I sold a croft. I bought a speedboat.

Dìneasar a’ coiseachd le cù ann an Inbhir Nis.
A dinosaur walking with a dog in Inverness.

Tha an Lia Fàil anns an t-seada agam.
The Stone of Destiny is in my shed.

Tha broc seunta anns a’ choille.
There’s an enchanted badger in the forest.

Tha mi a’ goid craobh.
I’m stealing a tree.

Tha m’ uncail neònach a’ fuireach ann an taigh-solais.
My strange uncle is living in a lighthouse.

Tha buntàta aig Peadar. Tha e nas toilichte a-nis.
Peter has a potato. He is happier now.

Obh obh, tha Iain rùisgte a-rithist.
Oh dear, Iain is naked again.

Innis dhomh gu bheil sgadan anns a’ bhaga.
Tell me that there is herring in the bag.

‘S e cailleach-oidhche a bh’ ann an Naomh Anndra.
St. Andrew was an owl.

Coinnichidh sinn agus ithidh sinn guga.
We’ll meet and eat salted gannet.

Bhàsaich an rìgh. Dh’òl e cus IRN BRU.
The king died. He drank too much IRN BRU.

Ruith air falbh, a Chaluim! Tha guga aca!
Run away, Calum! They have salted gannet.

Cheannaich mi bò air loidhne. Tha mi gòrach.
I bought a bull online. I’m stupid.

Bha an sgadan dìomhair anns an drathair.
The secret herring was in the drawer.

Bha mi a’ bruidhinn ri broc seunta.
I was talking to an enchanted badger

Cuidich mi! Tha spùinneadair-mara anns an taigh agam.
Help me! There’s a pirate in my house.

Bha an sgadan dìomhair anns an drathair.
The secret herring was in the drawer.

Chunnaic mi an gèadh greannach.
I saw the grumpy goose.

Dh’ith mi currain-gheala anns a’ Chuimrigh.
I ate parsnips in Wales.

Bha am buntàta ro dhaor, bha ar-a-mach ann.
The potatoes were too expensive, there was an uprising.

Tha an ceann-suidhag iarraidh guga.
The president is wanting salted gannet.

Chunnaic mi bà-ghèidhealach air rothair.
I saw a Highland cow on a bicycle.

Tha an coileach a’ draibheadh tractar.
The cockerel/rooster is driving a tractor.

Seallaidh mi a’ chearc sheunta dhaibh.
I will show them the enchanted chicken.

Chan eil brògan gu leòr aig a’ cheud-chasach.
The centipede doesn’t have enough shoes.

’S e peacadh a th’ann am marag-dhubh Shasannach.
English black pudding is a sin.

Cùm air falbh bhon t-sìthean.
Keep away from the fairy mound.

Chunnaic sinn aon-adharcach geal anns an Òban.
We saw a white unicorn in Oban.

Lorg Iain eileamaid ùr anns an amar.
Iain found a new element in the bath.

Dh'ith e cus guga. Tha e beò air èiginn.
He ate too much salted gannet. He is barely alive.

Most of these phrases come from the Scottish Gaelic course on Duolingo.

You can find more examples at:

People who have contributed to this section

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Information about Scottish Gaelic | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Terms of endearment | Colours | Time | Dates | Comparison of Celtic languages | Celtic cognates | Celtiadur | Tower of Babel | Songs | Links | My podcast about Scottish Gaelic | Learning materials

Silly phrases

My hovercraft is full of eels | Stop the world, I want to get off! | Say cheese! | Colorless green ideas sleep furiously | I am the king of the chickens | Thingamajig

Silly phrases in particular languages

Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish German, Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh

Other phrases

Index by phrase | Index by language | Index by language family | Phrase finder


Green Web Hosting - Kualo

Why not share this page:

If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.


Note: all links on this site to, and are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.

Get a 30-day Free Trial of Amazon Prime (UK)