Whilst English is a complicated language, currently made up of over 200,000 words, there are multiple occasions every day when an English word just isn’t enough to convey an emotion.

Language learning app Babbel has uncovered the top ten words from other languages that you didn’t know you needed – and how to use them. So here are the words you must know to speak like a local.

  • Mad at Donald Trump for another outrageous remark? Describe him as having a Backpfeifengesicht (pronounced: back-fy-fen-guh-zisht) – in German it’s a face badly in need of a slap. “When I see Trump on TV all I see is a Backpfeifengesicht” (I feel like this example of how to speak like a local is going to be used quite frequently in my house!)
  • Ever tried getting a seat at your local cafe but all the spaces are taken? Yes, us too. The French would call these table hoggers seigneur-terraces (p: sen-yeur te-razs) – coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables for far longer than they should. “Urgh, I can’t bear this place, it’s full of seigneur-terraces”
  • We all know a Linslus (p: lin-sloose). The Swedish name for someone who always wants to have their face in a photo is a perfect way to describe the Instagram-obsessed. ”Have you met Kelly? She’s such a Linslus – just look at her feed” (again, another useful word to speak like a local to add to my vocabulary).
  • Are you longing for something? Yearning for that missing part of you? Feel that there is something within you that isn’t fulfilled? Yet you can’t for the life of you figure out what the hell it is? You could well be suffering from Toska (p: tuska). This word is a Russian term that sums up the knowledge that something is missing, spiritually, but one doesn’t know what and it leaves them in a frustrated position. “I’m feeling a bit Toska, right now. I think I need to meditate over it a bit more”
  • If you’re in need of some light relief, then why not Mencolek (p: Mnn-dull-ay) someone today. For Indonesians, it’s that trick where you tap someone on the opposite shoulder for them to look round to see no one standing there. An oldie, but certainly a goodie. “Damn Charlie, I fall for his Mencoleks every single time”
  • Did you watch A Star Is Born? Chances are if you were Italian you’d call it Commuovere (p: c’more-ver-eh). That is, a heartwarming story that made you cry. “Gurl, did you see A Star is Born? Such a Commuovere, I couldn’t stop”
  • All too often we find ourselves replaying conversations and arguments after the moment has passed. The Germans have a word for when the eureka moment hits and you have the perfect shady comeback that would have dragged your opponent, but it’s now too late to say – it’s called Treppenwitz (p: trep-en-vitz). “Every time I argue with my husband I always have the best Treppenwitz”
  • If you have kids, or find yourself surrounded by children often you may find this next word useful. The Russian’s have a word for a person who asks too many questions, and it’sPochemuchka (p: push-a-mooch-ka). “Seriously, Janet! Stop being such a Pochemuchka. I’m not even kidding”
  • Who knew the Norwegians were such a passionate bunch? More known for their pragmatism than their romanticism, they do however have a word that sums up the feeling of falling in love, rather than the act of being in love. It’s called Forelsket (p: for-elle-skit). “I’m seeing this new guy and I can’t help but feel Forelsket”
  • In English we might say Bougie, but the Swedish call it Vaska (p: Vass-ka). The term was founded by the well-to-do of Stockholm, having so much money they could buy two bottles of Champagne and instruct the server to pour one down the sink. “Last night was so Vaska”

For these and more words that you can’t do without, download Babbel. Babbel is a language learning app and e-learning platform, available in various languages including French, Italian, Spanish and many more. The app is easy to download and gives a language learning experience that will have you talking like a local in no time.

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  • Sad to say, I had issues with pronunciations. Lucky I won’t be needing to use any of them any time soon


  • An interesting article,Vaska is my favourite!


  • A great communicating tool. It sound pretty amazing.


  • bahaha some of these a pretty funny, particularly like Backpfeifengesicht …..I know a few people this word would apply to


  • It is hard enough remembering the names of some things that are interstate within Aust. Some words are pronounced differently, e.g. the word “school” – SA and Vic. Some plants have different names depending which state you live in the plant may have 2 or 3 in other states


  • Love the words but so hard to pronounce. :)


  • That gave me a laugh and is also interesting


  • Love it, great expressions ! I might add here and there a Dutch word :)


  • That was so educational. Great article.


  • I found all of these words hard to pronounce. I think it would take me a very long time to learn one of these languages.


  • Some of those are pretty funny.


  • These are all too hard!


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