Foreign Phrases for Anglophone Anarchists

  • Posted on: 29 July 2006
  • By: worker

What do you call someone who speaks two or more languages? Multilingual.
What do you call someone who only speaks one language? American.

This is a guide to useful (and not so useful) phrases in Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish and Basque for traveling anarchists from Anglophone countries.
Originally published in How to Smash Everything: an Anarchist Sourcebook.

Disclaimer: The words and phrases included hereafter cover a variety of different situations that you might find yourself in while traveling. They are intended as a brief introduction and not as a definitive guide to each language. Pronunciation is approximated in text, but don't blame us if you can't get it right; your best bet would be to get a proper language book, preferably with an audio cassette or CD, or learn from a native speaker. You can also find numerous language resources online. Try Wikitravel's Phrasebooks for a start.

Have fun and good luck!
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Chinese (ZhÅ?ngwén): The Beijing dialect of Mandarin (known as Putonghua in mainland China, Guoyu in Taiwan and Huayu in Malaysia and Singapore) is the official language, but there are 13 other dialects of Chinese, including Wu and Cantonese.

Tones and tonal pronunciations:
1. first tone ( Ä? )
flat, high pitch - more sung instead of spoken
2. second tone ( á )
low to middle, rising - pronounced like the end of a question phrase (Whát?)
3. third tone ( ÇŽ )
middle to low to high, dipping - if at the end of a sentence or before a pause, it is then followed by a rising pitch
4. fourth tone ( à )
high to low, falling - Pronounced like a command (Stop!)
5. There is also a fifth tone, the neutral tone, which is used rarely, mostly for phrase particles.

NÇ? hÇŽo. -- Hello.
Shi. (“shü�) -- Yes.
Bu. (“boo�) -- No.
Xie xie. (“shi'e shi'e�) -- Thank you.
WÅ? chÄ« sù de. -- I'm vegetarian.
QÇ?ng gÄ›i wÇ’ yìbÄ“i / liÇŽngbÄ“i píjiÇ” hÇŽo ma? -- Can I have one / two beers please?
QÇ?ng zàilái yìlún. -- Another round, please.
Zhège duÅ?shÇŽo qián? -- How much is this?
Cèsǔo zài nǎli? -- Where is the toilet?
Búyào pèng wǒ! -- Don't touch me!
jÇ?ngchá -- police
Wǒ bèibǔle ma? -- Am I under arrest?
Wǒ xīwàng gēn lǜshī liánxì. -- I want to talk to a lawyer.
WÇ’ kÄ›yÇ? dÇŽ ge diànhuà ma? -- Can I use your phone?
Wǒ yào yīnghàn zìdiǎn. -- I need an English-Chinese dictionary.

Japanese (Nihongo): Japanese is spoken in Japan or Okinawa and pretty much nowhere else.

Hai. (“haiâ€? or “hÄ?eâ€?) -- Yes.
Iie. (“EE-yeh�) -- No.
Hajimemashita. (“ha-jee-mae-mash'-ta�) -- Pleased to meet you.
Genki desu ka? (“gen-kee des'-ka�) -- How are you? (lit. Are you healthy?)
Genki desu. (“gen-kee des'�) -- I'm good.
Wakarimasen. (“wa-ka-ree-ma-sen�) -- I don't understand.
Yukkuri o kudasai. (“yoo-kkū-ree oh koo-da-sai�) -- Slowly, please.
Ippai biiru o kudasai. -- One beer please.
Kampai! -- Cheers!
Kuso desu ne... (“k'so des' nay�) -- This is shit.
Museifu shugi banzai! -- Long live anarchy!
Museifu Kyousan. -- Anarchist Communism.
Midori no Museifu. -- Green Anarchy

German (Deutsch): While limited in usage, many Eastern Europeans also know or understand German, rather than English, as a second language. So if you are ever stuck in a Polish hospital with gastro-intestinal difficulties, a few words of German may go a long way (true story).

Ja. (“yaa�) -- Yes.
Nein. (“nine�) -- No.
Hallo. (“hah-LOW�) -- Hello.
Tschüs. (“tchuus�) -- Bye!
Eine bier bitte. (“ayna beer bitta�) -- One beer please.
Du stinkst nach sheisse, arshloch. (“doo stinkst nachk shyzuh arrschlok�) -- You smell like shit, asshole.
Hast du gerade gefuzt? (“hasst doo gehra-da gehfutst�) -- Did you just fart?
Auf machen oder wass? (“owf mahken odare vass�) -- You wanna make something, or what?
Gegen sexismus und homophobie. (“gaygen sexismuss oond homophobee�) -- Against sexism and homophobia.
Gegen rechts. (“gaygen rechkts�) -- Against the right.
Verpiss dich macker! (“vaerpiss dichk mahker�) -- Piss off, bro/frat boy/macho asshole!
polizei (“poleetzay�) -- police.
Fickt die Polizei! (“Fickt dee poleetzay�) -- Fuck the police!
Bin ich verhaftet? (bin ikh fayr-HAHF-tet?) -- Am I under arrest?
Ich will mit einem Anwalt/Arzt sprechen. (ikh vill mit IGH-nem AHN-vahlt/ARTST SHPREKH-en) -- I want to talk to a lawyer/doctor.
Meine sheisse ist wasser! -- My shit is water!

French (Français): French is spoken in France, Belgium and Switzerland in Europe, much of western Africa, Haiti, Martinique, Quebec and on several south Pacific Islands.

Oui. (“wee� or “wæ�) -- Yes, Yeah.
Non. (“noh.�) -- No.

Salut. (“sa-lū�) -- Hi/Hello.
Je veut... (“zshuh vuh�) -- I want...
...mon advocat. (“mon a-vÅ?h-cah.â€?) -- my lawyer.
...une biere s'il vous-plait. (“oon be-air si-voo plæ.�) -- a beer, please.
Combien? -- how much?
Je ne sais pas. (“zshuh nuh sæ pah.�) -- I don't know.
Je ne comprends pas. (“zshuh nuh com-prawn pah.�) -- I don't understand.
Repetez en anglais, s'il vous plait. (“ræ-pæ-tæ on-awn-glay, si-voo plæ�) -- Repeat in English, please.
Les polices sont dans le service des fascistes et des riches! (“læ po-leece sohn don luh ser-veece day fash-eest ay day reesh�) -- The police are in the service of the fascists and the rich.
Gauche! Gauche! Extreme gauche! (“gÅ?sch! gÅ?sch! es-træm gÅ?sch!â€?) -- Left! Left! Extreme left! (a protest chant heard in Montreal, Canada)

Spanish (Español, Castellano): Spanish is spoken throughout much of the western hemisphere, in Spain, the Philipines and parts of Morocco. Remember that in most dialects of Spanish, two l's are pronounced like a y is in English (castellano is pronounced “cas-tay-yan-o,� but in Argentina, ll's and y's are often pronounced like a “zshuh� or “juh� sound).

Sí. (“see�) -- Yes.
No. (“no�) -- No.
¿Como estas? (“co-mo eh-stass�) -- How are you?
Bien. ¿Y tu? (“bee-en. ee too�) -- Good. And you?
¿Que tal? (“kæ tal�) -- What's up?
Nada. Sin novedad. (“na-da. sin no-væ-dÄ?d.â€?) -- Nothing. Nothing new.
¿Saben sobre el manifestacion por los derechos de los inmigrantes mañana? -- Have you heard of the protest for immigrant rights tomorrow?
¿Donde esta...? (“don-day estah�) -- Where is...?
¿...el baño? (“ell bahnyo�) -- ...the toilet?
¿ estacion de la policia? (“la esta-see-own de la po-lee-see-ah�) -- the police station?
¿...el manifestacion? ("ell manifestass-eeown") -- the protest
Que se vayans todos, que no quede ni uno solo. (“kæ sæ vah-yen to-dohs, kæ no kæ-dæ nee oo-noh so-lo� or “kæ sæ vah-shzun to-dohs...�) -- All of them must go, not one can stay. (A favored chant of Argentines in 2001).
El pueblo, unido, jamas sera vencido. (“ell pweb-lo, oo nee-doh, ha-mas ser-ra ven-see-doh�) or El gente, unido, nunca sera vencido. (“ell hhen-tay, oo nee-doh, noon-cah ser-ra ven-see-doh�) -- The people, united, will never be defeated.
A las barricadas. -- To the barricades.
Sí, se puede. -- Yes, we can.
Una cervesa, por favor. (“oona sairvaysah, pour favor�) -- One beer please.
Gracias. -- Thank you.

Basque (Euskara): The Basque language is both unique and ancient, being perhaps the descendant language of the original indigenous precursors to the Indo-Europeans in Europe. The Basque Country (Euskal Herria) is split between Spain and France. History suggests that in a thousand years, there may not be a Spain, but if there are people, there will be Basques.

Kaixo (“kai-sho�) -- Hello.
Agur! (“ah-gur�) -- Bye!
Bai. (“bye�) -- Yes.
Ez. (“esz�) -- No, not.
Nola duzu izena? (“no-la doo-szoo ee-szay-nuh�) -- What is your name?
Nire izena ... da. (“nee-ray eeszaynuh ... da�) -- My name is ...
Zu nongoa zara? (“szoo nongoa szara�) -- Where are you from?
Ni Ameriketakoa naiz. (“nee ameri-keta-koa nai-sz�) -- I am from America.
Ni Kanadetakoa naiz. ("nee kana-deta-koa nai-sz") -- I am from Canada.
Ni amerikarra naiz. (“nee ameri-karra nai-sz�) -- I am American.
Ni kanadarra naiz. ("nee kana-darra nai-sz") -- I am Canadian.
Nekatu nago./Nekatu samar nago. (“nekatoo nahgo./ nekatoo samar nahgo.�) -- I am tired./I am rather tired.
Ni egarri naiz. (“nee eh-garri nai-sz�) -- I am thirsty.
Zer dago edateko? (“szer dago ehdatayko�) -- What is there to drink?
Nik ... edan nahi dut. (“neek ... ehdan nahee doot�) -- I want ... to drink.
kafe, kafea (“kafay, kafay-a�) -- coffee, the coffee.
te, tea (“tay, tay-a�) -- tea, the tea.
ur, ura (“ur, ur-a�) -- water, the water.
ardo, ardoa (“ardo, ardo-a�) -- wine, the wine.
garagardo, garagardoa (“gara-gardo, gara-gardo-a�) -- beer, the beer.
Ni gose naiz. (“nee go-say nai-sz�) -- I am hungry.
Zer dago jateko? (“szer dahgo yatayko�) -- What is there to eat?

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