How different languages say “it’s all Greek to me.”

It’s interesting how speakers of different languages have different perceptions about what is a difficult and inconceivable language. This is primarily shown in how they describe something they find difficult to understand. While English speakers use the phrase “it’s all Greek to me” to mean that they can’t understand something, speakers of other languages use the same analogy but they reference other languages, not necessarily Greek. So, we’ve asked our followers at The Language Nerds about the equivalent of “it’s all Greek to me” in their languages and they were generous enough to provide highly valuable responses that we summed up here for you. Have a good read ?

1. Cantonese (Hong Kong)

It’s all chicken’s intestines to me. 

2. Mandarin

It’s all Martian to me. 

3. Portuguese 

It’s all Chinese to me.
It’s all Greek to me.

4. Bulgarian 

It’s Greek and therefore unreadable.

5. German 

It sounds like Spanish to me.
I only understand train station. 

6. Greek

It’s all Chinese to me. 

7. Moroccan Arabic

It’s the language of the ghosts to me. 

8. Italian

It’s all Arabic to me.

9. French 

It’s all Chinese to me. 

10. Czech 

It’s a Spanish village to me.

11. Polish

It’s Chinese to me. 
It’s all black magic to me.

12. Danish 

It’s Volapyk to me. (Volapyk is the first auxiliary language ever created).
It’s all Russian to me.

13. Egyptian Arabic:

Is this the hieroglyphics?

14. Turkish 

It’s all French to me. 

15. Finnish 

It’s all Hebrew to me.

16. Swedish 

It sounds like Greek to me.

17. Croatian 

It’s like you’re speaking Hungarian. 
It’s all Turkish villages to me.

18. Burmese

It looks like fried bean sprouts.

19. Syrian Arabic

This is Sanskrit to me.

20. Thai 

It’s an alien language to me. 

21. Catalan 

It sounds like Chinese.

22. Icelandic

This is Hebrew to me .

23. Japanese 

This is Gibberish to me. 

24. Latvian 

It’s the Chinese alphabet.

25. Persian 

I don’t understand Greek.

26. Macedonian 

That’s a Spanish village to me.

27. Punjabi 

Am I speaking Farsi? 

28. Yiddish 

It’s Aramaic to me. 

Here is an illustration that sums up the above:


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5 thoughts on “How different languages say “it’s all Greek to me.””

  1. When I was studying French in college during the 60s, we had a reading excerpt that contained the assertion: “C’est a moi, l’hebreu!” It’s all Hebrew to me! I see that the Finns and Icelanders feel the same way. My guess is that nearly all these expressions are making reference to the use of alphabets other than the Roman one to express people’s confusion. I did notice Hungarian was also in the list. This language uses Roman letters, but also employs several diacritics and has some very long “agglutinative” word/expressions. As for the difficulty a non-speaker may have with understanding a spoken language, that always stems from how different the foreign language is from his own. Thanks for posting all these expressions. It made for some amusing reading.

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