The I Can Eat Glass Project

Some years ago, one Ethan Mollick created the I Can Eat Glass Project, which he described thus:

The Project is based on the idea that people in a foreign country have an irresistable urge to try to say something in the indigenous tongue. In most cases, however, the best a person can do is "Where is the bathroom?" a phrase that marks them as a tourist. But, if one says "I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me," you will be viewed as an insane native, and treated with dignity and respect.

Unfortunately, these webpages evaporated some years ago. Fortunately, the entire website is archived at The Wayback Machine, an excellent site for searching out extinct webpages. The copy you are perusing now has only a few changes from the original: the addition of the titular phrase in English As She Is Spoke, and a link to Barry Eshkol Adelman's "I Can Eat Glass" Apocrypha .


Spoken in: South Africa, Namibia
In Afrikaans: "Ek kan glas eet, dit maak my nie seer nie."
Alternately: "Ek kan glas eet, dit kan my nie seermaak nie."
Pronounciation: The g's are like the gutteral Dutch sound but "eet" is a long "ee", not the "ay" of Dutch. "My" is "may".
Note: This language is one of the most recent major languages, derived from Dutch in this century.


Spoken in: North Africa and the Middle East
In Transliterated Algerian Arabic: Nakdar nakoul ezjaj ou ma youjaach.
In Egyptian Arabic: Ana momken aakol el-ezaz, we dah ma beyewgaaneash
Notes: Egyptian Arabic is the most popular Arabic dialect, this is due tothe huge backing of T.V. and radio all-over the Arab world. It is also spoken by 50 million people as a mother tongue which puts it on the top of the list of all arabic dialects. Unfortunately anything that has to be written will be translated to classical form first that's why this and other Arabic dialects tend to be only spoken.


Spoken in: Online Portuguese community
In Aracnol: "poh sukumer vidro. nam-u mieh dzagradahvel."
Pronounced: "paw soo koomair vee-drew. nown mee Eh dzu grudah vell."
Note: Aracnol is an artificial language, developed when Portuguese-speakers were unable to use accents in email messages. It has since developed its own grammers and expressions. Compare it with Portuguese


Spoken in: Aragon (Spanish State, Europe)
In Aragones: Puedo (en) minchar (de) beire, no me'n fa mal
Pronounced: puedo (en) minCHar (de) beire, no men fa mal. (CH=English T)
Compare with Spanish


Spoken in: Armenia, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey
In Armenian: Abagee grnam oodel yev eendzy tche venassr.


Note: The status of this as a language is open to question, thus it is only available under Artificial Languages.


Spoken in: Austria
In Austrian: "I kaun Gloos essen, es tuat ma ned weh."
Pronounced: Ee cown gloas essn, ays doo-ad mah nayed vay.
Notes: Austrian is a German dialect, spoken throughout Austria (with local variations) -- comparable to Swiss German.

Bahasa Indonesia

Spoken in: Indonesia
In Bahasa Indonesia: Saya bisa makan gelas tanpa sakit
Pronounced: Suy-uh bee-sa makan gelas tun-puh sa-keet, with the accent on the first syllable of each word.
Literally: "I can eat glass without it hurting me."
Note: Bahasa Indonesia is the national language of Indonesia. It is derived from many of the dialects used in the country (there are hundreds of them) and also partially evolved from Dutch, Portuguese, and Indian languages.

Basque (Euskara)

Spoken in: Basque Country, Spain
In Basque/Euskara: "Kristala jan dezaket, ez dit minik ematen."
Pronounced: Cristala ean desaket, es dit minik ematen.


Spoken in: Bavaria
In Bayerisch: I koh glos esa, und es duard ma ned wei.
Pronounced: E ko glos asa, es dooard mo ned wee.


Spoken in: Bengal, Bangladesh
Transliteration: Ami Kanch Khetay pari; amakey kichu khoti karay na.


Spoken in: Bulgaria
Transliteration: Az iam staklo i to ne mi vredi

Cape Verdean Creole (crioulo or krilu)

Spoken in: Cape Verde, emigrants in Lisbon and Boston.
In Creole: "M't pod kum vidru, k st mguame."
Pronounciation: The first "m" means "I" and is just a sweet nasalation: you close your mouth and use your nose. It's something like a small "mmmh".
Note: This language is a mixture of Portuguese and African languages from Senegal and Guinea-Bissau.


Spoken in: Spanish mediterranean coast, southern France, Balearic Islands and a city of Italy
In Catala: "Puc menjar vidre que no em fa mal"
Pronounced: puk m@njA bIdr@ , k@ nom fa mAl where @=neutral


Spoken in: primarily Guam, where it has 60,000 speakers.
In Chamorro: Sia yo' chumocho krestat, ti ha na'lalamen yo'.
Pronounced: SEE-nya dzoo' tsoo-MO-tsoo kris-TAT tee hah na'-la-LA-min dzoo'.
Note: the apostrophe represents a glotteral stop.

Chinese (Cantonese)

Spoken in: Hong Kong & Guangdong province, China
In Cantonese: Ngo Hor Yi Sak Bor Laai, Kui Sern Ng Do Ngo Gar

Chinese (Mandarin)

Spoken in: China
In Mandarin:
Transliteration (using the Pinyin system): "Wo ke yi chi bo li, wo bu huei sho shang"
Notes: There are different systems for converting Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Haka, etc.) speech to roman text, one of them is Pinyin. As an example 'I' or 'me' in Mandarin is written 'wo' in pinyin. Every sound like 'wo' can be pronounced in 4 'tunes', or changes in tone. In this case 'wo' is in the third tone. To pronounce it, first the pitch of your voice goes down a little, then rises. In pinyin this is pictured by placing a 'v' on top of the o (like but just the other way around). Unfortunately, this is currently not supported by HTML characters.


Spoken in: Czech Republic
In Czech: "Muzu jíst sklo; to mi neskodí."
Pronounced: MOO-zhoo yeest skloh; toh mee NEH-shkoh-dee.
Alternately: "Muzu jíst sklo, to mi nic neudelá."
Pronounced: MOO-zhoo yeest skloh, toh mee nyeets NEH-oo-dye-lah.
Notes: In "muzu," there is a little circle over the u (like the å in Swedish or Norwegian). Also, there is an inverted circumflex over the z (an upside-down ^). There is an inverted circumflex over the s in "neskodí"m and in the alternate version, over the second e in "neudelá". The first version is generally used to describe realistic action.


Spoken in: Denmark, Iceland, Greenland
In Danish:"Jeg kan spise glas, det gr ikke ondt p mig".


Spoken in: The Oz books by L. Frank Baum and his successors. Spoken by fairies and humans in Burzee, the Nome Kingdom, and Antozia. From the language family Fairy, which is not descended from Nostratic.
In Dan-Rur: "Nel akkeai-ugoil ureil; ai moirshoai nel."
Literally: "Person-of-low-station to eat-is-able-in-absolute-present glass; this hurts-in-fiction person-of-low-station.
Pronounciation: Highly variable according location and species.


Spoken in: The Netherlands, St. Maartan
In Dutch: "Ik kan glas eten. Het doet geen pijn."
Pronounced: Ik kan khlas ayten. Hayt dot khayn pine.

English as She is Spoke

Spoken in: English-speaking regions by Portuguese travellers
In English as She is Spoke: "I can to eat glass, it make me no pain."
"English As She Is Spoke" is the title of a Portuguese-English phrasebook, published in 1884, by Pedro Carolino. Portuguese by birth and upbringing, he was completely unprepared for the task of producing such a work because of the fact that he had no training whatsoever in English. Not letting such a small obstacle stand in the path to (unintentional) fame, the author translated English words and phrases with a French-English phrasebook and a Portuguese-French dictionary. The results were less than accurate, but much more amusing than any intentional effort to produce a phrasebook in jest would have been. The book is finally back in print! and information can be found at: Craig Ganzer's English As She Is Spoke page.

Eskimo (Central Alaksan Yup'ik Eskimo)

Spoken in: Southwestern Alaska
In Eskimo: Cikunguaq nernarqaqa, akngirtanga.


Spoken in: Esperanto Clubs throughout the world
In Esperanto: Mi povas mangxi vitron, gxi min ne doloras.
Pronunciation: gx (g cirumflex) = dg as in 'edge'.


Spoken in: Estonia
In Estonian: Ma vin klaasi sa, see ei tee mulle midagi
Pronounced: Mah vUH-in klAAH-see sYEWah, say eye TAY mOOlleh mEEtakee
Notes: Estonian, a close relative of Finnish, is spoken by the approximately one million native inhabitants of the small Baltic state of Estonia, which has a large Russian-speaking community (approx. 500,000) left over from the half century during which the country was colonized by the Soviet Union. Estonia's independence was restored in 1991.


Spoken in: Southern Ghana
Trasnsliteration: Motum awe bodambo. Onye me hwee.
Pronunciation: similar to Twi, and o=long o.


Spoken in: Finland
In Finnish: "Pystyn syömään lasia. Se ei koske yhtn."
Pronounced:PUstun SUomaan LAHseeah. Se ay CASS-keh UH-tahn
Literally: "I can eat glass, it does not hurt (me) at all."
Alternately: "Pystyn syömään lasia. Se ei koske minuun yhtn."
Literally: "I can eat glass, it does not hurt me at all."
Note: The implied "me" sounds more natural in Finnish.


Spoken in: France, Canada, various former colonies
In French: "Je peux manger du verre, cela ne me fait pas mal."
However: French distinguishes between being able to physically and knowing how to. "Je sais" means "I can" in the second sense. Secondly, French distinguishes between the generic "le verre" ("glass" in general) and the particular "du verre" ("(some) glass"). ie if you know how to go about it properly, you can eat glass without it hurting ("Je sais... le verre").
This may thus be more correct: "Je sais manger le verre; cela ne me fait pas mal."
In modern colloquial French: "Ch'peux manger du verre, ca m'fait pas mal."
In seventeenth-century French alexandrine verse (as spoken by Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, and Molière): "Je puis manger du verre; cela ne me nuit point."
Note: The previously displayed alexandrine has 13 syllables. Although Classical French tolerated13, 12 syllables was, and is now, the norm.
Thus: "Je mange le verre; cela ne me nuit point."


Spoken in: Province of friesland, netherlands
In Frisian: ik kin gl^es ite, it docht me net sear
Pronounced: ick kin gle-es ee-tuh, ut doxt mu net seer
Notes: x=ch in german or x in russian, u and uh are pronounced like in circ_u_s and ^e sounds like "mess" but with two syllables.


Spoken in: Germany
In German: "Ich kann Glas essen, das tut mir nicht weh."
Literally: I can eat glass, it does not hurt me.
Alternately: "Ich kann Glas essen, das verletzt mich nicht."
Literally: I can eat glass, it does not injure me.
Colloquially: "Ich kann Glas essen ohne mir weh zu tun."
In the Schwaebisch dialect, spoken near Stuttgart: "I ko Glass essa ond des duat miar nex."

Ancient Greek

Spoken in: Spoken in Athens, 5th century BC
In Ancient Greek (Attic Dialect): "Dúnamai húalon esthíein; toûde oudamws huperalgew'."
Note: w's are omegas.

Modern Greek

Spoken in: Greece
In Greek:
Transliteration: Boro' na fa'o spasme'na gialia' chori's na pa'tho ti'pota.
Literally: "I can eat broken glass without it hurting me."


Spoken in: Israel
In Hebrew:
Transliteration: Ani yachol le'echol zchuchit, ze lo ko'ev li.


Spoken in: India
Transliteration: mai^n gilaas khaa saktii hu^n. mai^n ne chot diiyaa.
Pronounced: mai^n gilass kha sakti hu^n. mai^n ne chot diya.
Pronounciation note: the above is written pretty much like it reads, but pronounce the words ending ^n through your nose.


Spoken in: Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, The Usual Suspects
In Hungarian: "Meg tudom enni az üveget, nem árt nekem."
Pronouned: Mayg tudom aynee az uvaygat, naym art naykem.


Spoken in: Iceland
In Icelandic: "Èg get borðað gler, það meiðir mig ekki."
Pronunciation note: ð's are pronounced "th", as is the "þ" in "þad".


Spoken: Ireland
In Irish: "T m in ann gloine a ithe; N chuireann s isteach n amach orm."
Pronounced: taw MAY in ON glinna ah IH-heh; nee kurrun SHAY IS-chyok no em-OCK UR-em
Note: This is a more natural saying which translates as "I can eat glass; It doesn't put me in or out"
The grammatically correct form would be: "T m in ann gloine a ithe; N gortaonn s m ar bith"
Literally: I can eat glass; It does not wound me at all.


Spoken in: Italy
In Italian: "Posso mangiare il vetro, non mi fa male."
In the Venetian dialect, spoken in Venice, Padua and Verona: "Mi posso magnare el vetro, no'l me fa mae."
Pronounced: ME poh-so mahn-yah-reh el vetroh, no l may fah mah-eh


Spoken in: Japan
In Japanese:
Transliteration: "Watashiwa garasu o taberaremasu; watashi o kizutsukemasen."
Pronounced: wa-TA-shee wa ga-RA-su oh ta-BEH-rare-masu; wa-TA-shee oh KEE-zoo-tzoo-keh-ma-SEN
Alternately: Watashiwa garasu o taberarete, watashi o kizutsukemasen.
Alternately: Watashiwa garasu o taberarete, kizutsukemasen.
Alternately: Garasu o taberete, kizutsukemasen.
Note: The most correct version of the second phrase would actually read "Itaku wa arimasen," literally "it is not painful." The others are technically fine, but awkward.

Javanese (an Indonesian dialect)

Spoken in: Java, Indonesia
In Javanese: Aku isa mangan beling tanpa lara
Pronounced: Ah-coo e-sou mang-nghan bhe-ling tahn-pa law-raw
Notes: A Javanese traditional dance, called "Kuda Lumping" involves ethnic dancers in a trance, riding toy horses, dancing on fire and EATING GLASS.


Spoken in: Western Japan
In Kensai-ben: Garasu kuute mo kizutsukehen ya
Pronounced: Ga ra su koo tay moh key zoo tskeh hen ya


Spoken in: This is a Mayan dialect spoken in Northern Alta Verapaz and Soutern Peten in Guatemala, with some speakers also in Belize and El Salvador. Spoken by 350,000 to 360,000
In Kekchi: "Lain naru nincua' li lem. Moco ra ta sa' in sa'."
Pronounced: La EEN na ROO neen KWA lee lem. Mo co RA ta SA een SA.
Literally: "It is possible that I eat glass. It is not painful to my stomach."
Alternately: "Lain ninru chixcuabal li lem. Inc'a' niquinixrahobtesi."
Literally: "I can eat glass. It does not hurt me."


Spoken in: Sarawak, Malaysia
In Kelabit: "Uih kereb kuman gelas, na'am inih belu'an na'an."
Literally: "I can eat glass, not it hurt later."
Notes: Kelabit is a language from the interior of Borneo. They had no word for glass before the British arrived during WWII. Go here for some more information. Given the nature of the subject matter (eating glass) the translator assumed that most native Kelabit speakers would say that it would make them "sick" (as opposed to hurt or injured) or rather "not make mesick" (na'am inih naru' ma'it). The word glass in this context would probably be confused with a drinking glass. The only other word that they have for glass is the one meaning windowpane, which they have borrowed from Malaysian (Kelingai).


Spoken in: Star Trek Films, Klingon mailing lists
In Klingon:
Transliterated: HIvje' mep vISoplaH. mu'oy'moHbe'.
Pronunciation: khivjE' mep virshOplakh. moo'Oy'mokhbE'.
Literally: I am capable of eating the plastic of glass tumblers. It does not cause me pain. (No surprise, the Klingon Dictionary has no word for 'glass'.)


Spoken in: Korea
Transliteration: Yurilul mogulsu eetnoonday ah poo gee dough ahn a'yo.


Spoken in: Vatican City, Andover, Exeter
In Latin: "Vitrum edere possum; mihi non nocet."


Spoken in: Latvia
In Latvian:
Pronounced: Ass varu eest styklu, tus mun nakaitee.
Notes: "e" and "E" is pronounced as in word "beg", e in "nekaite" is the same sound two times longer. The "U" is as in word "push" and the "A" as U in word "but".


Spoken in: mathematics and philosophy
In Symbolic Logic:
p=I can eat glass
q=I Hurt
Note: p is "I can eat glass", q is "I hurt". p implies not q. p is true. Therefore, not q.


Spoken in: This is an invented language, generated from Loglan, which was described in Scientific American in the 1960s. by the Logical Language Group
In Lojban: "mi ka'e citka loi blaci .i la'edi'u na xrani mi"
Pronounced: mee KAhey SHITkah loi BLAshi (pause) ee laheDIhoo na KHRAni mee.
Pronounciation: the apostrophe is an unvoiced stop, usually rendered much like the English "h", the "x" is like German "ch", and the "c" is like English "sh". Vowels are like the European long vowels. The period represents a pause.


Spoken in: Luxembourg
In Luxembourgish: "Ech ka Glas iessen an et deet mer net wii"


Spoken in: Macedonia, a former republic of Yugoslavia
Transliteration: Jac mosham staklo da yadam. Ne ke me boli.


Spoken in: Malaysia
In Malaysian: Saya boleh memakan kaca dan tidak menyakiti saya.
Pronounced: Sigh-a boll mum-acarn ku-cha dun tiddah menya-keyti sigh-a.


Spoken in: Cameroon and Nigeria
In Mambila:
Transliteration: "ml foti yeh ba darega, ` ml ki nggweh"
Note: The contributer cannot vouch for the grammar of the first phrase - there's an ambiguity in the tense. He has used "ba", which is present continuous, but would need to check it with a native speaker.


Spoken in: the Netherlands, Flemish part of Belgium
In Nederlands: Ik kan glas eten, het doet geen pijn.


Spoken in: The Melanesian Pacific Isles
In Neo-Melanesian: "Mipela inap kaikai gilas na em i no inap killim mi liklik"
Literally: "I am enough to eat glass and it is not enough to hurt me a little bit"
Note: The degree of hurt expressed can be modified in this way:
Killim Liklik = Hurt a bit
Killim = Hurt
Killim Pinis (Kill 'im finish) = Hurt a lot
Killim I dai = Kill him dead
Second Note: This is the 'Pidgin' languages of the Melanesian Pacific Isles. A mixture of German, English, Dutch and various indigenous languages hung on a melanesian grammar frame.


Spoken in: Norway
In Norwegian: "Jeg kan spise glas. Det gjør meg ikke vondt."

Old Ozzish

Spoken in: L. Frank Baum's Oz by humans before the Era of the Wizard. From the language family of Imaginary-Nonestic, which Professor Dharnenblaug of the Royal Athletic College of Oz believes is descended from Nostratic.
In Old Ozzish: "Iklan-ketel zaglu uni; nal-kepa ni."
Literally: "To-be-able-to-eat glass I; not-hurt me."
Pronounced: As written, not as English speakers would pronounce it. Accent is on the penultimate syllable.


Spoken in: Computer Science classrooms
In Pascal:
"Var Eating_Glass: Boolean;
Pain: Boolean;
Eating_Glass := True;
If (Eating_Glass) then Pain := False;
Translation: I can eat glass. If I can eat glass, then it does not hurt.

Persian (Farsi)

Spoken in: the Middle East
Transliteration:Man meetoonam sheesheh bowkhoram; dard nehmeekohneh."
Note:"a" has short a sound, "ah" long a as in "father" "eh" short e as in "pez", "ee" long e as in "Greek", "oh" long o as in "show", oo as in food.
Literally: I can eat glass; it does not hurt.

Pig Latin

Spoken in: Middle school
In Pig Latin: "I-hay an-cay eat-hay ass-glay, it-hay oes-day ot-nay urt-hay e-may."


Spoken in: Poland
Transliteration: Ja moge jesc szklo, nic mi to nie szkodzi.
Alternately: Moge jesc szklo, nie boli mnie to.
Pronounced: MO-ga yeshtch shkwo, niah BO-lee mnia to.
Alternately: Moge jesc szklo, mnie to nie boli.
Pronounced: MO-ga yeshtch shkwo, mnia to nia BO-lee.
Notes: In the 1st sentence, you can omit "Ja", which means "I", but is understood anyway from the form of the verb "moge"="I can." Another thing: "boli" means "hurts" in the physical sense of pain, while "szkodzi" means "harm" or "injure" or "bother" in a general sense.


Spoken in: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and So Tom and Prncipe, as well as the controversal regions of East Timor and Macau
In Portuguese: "Posso comer vidro, no me fere."
Literally: I can eat glass, it doesn't injure me.
Alternately: "Posso comer vidro, no me magoa."
Literally: I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me.
Alternately [and most correct]:"Posso comer vidro, no me faz mal."
Literally: I can eat glass, it does me no wrong.
In Brazilian coloquial Portuguese: "Consigo comer vidro. Não me machuca."
Pronunciation: ay-oo kon-SEE-goo koo-MAYR VEE-droo. nown mee mah-SHOO-kah.
Note: In all of these, the "I" is implicit, to make it explicit, add "Eu" to the begining of the sentence.
In Galizan Portuguese, spoken in Galiza, Spain: "Eu sou capaz de comer vidro: não me lastima."
Pronounced: 'Ew 'sow ka'pas de ko'mer 'bidro -- 'nõN me las'tima
Alternately: "Podo comer cristal, non me fai mal"
Pronounced: pawdo koomair christal, noon mae fai mall
Notes: Galizan Portuguese (or Galizan, or "Galician") is a variety of Portuguese spoken in Galiza (northwest of Spain) by more than 2 milion people. Even though its spoken varieties have been strongly Castilianized through the centuries, structurally Galizan is basically Portuguese. Still, a strong case can be made that it is an independent language.

Provençal (also known as Occitan)

Spoken in: Southern France, Italy, and Spain.
In Provençal: "Pòdi manjar de veire, me nafrariá pas."
In the Gascon dialect of Provençal/Occitan: "Que poish minjar veire, no'm nhafraré pas."
Note: For information on Provençal/Occitan, go here.


Spoken in: Québec, Canada.
In Québécois: J'peux bouffer d'la vitre, ça m'fa pas mal.


Spoken in: Romania
In Romanian: "Pot minca sticla. Nu ma doare."


Spoken in: Russia
In Russian:
Transliteration: Ya mogu yest' steklo, eto mnye nye vredit.

Saint Lucian Patwa or Kweyol

Spoken in: St. Lucia
In Patwa: "Mwen sa manjé glas, i pa ka fé mwen mal."
Note from Paul Garrett, anthropologist: St. Lucia is an island of 238 sqaure miles, a neighbor of Martinique (to the north), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (to the south), and Barbados (to the east). English is the official language now, but St. Lucia was colonized by the French from the late seventeenth century until the English won it away from the French in 1814--and even after that, the French colonial influence remained stronger than the English for several decades. (It's now, as of 1979, an independent state within the Commonwealth.) A French-lexicon creole is still widely spoken--some old rural people are still monolingual in the language. It's generally referred to as "Patwa" by its speakers, and that's what I generally call it too. But there's a movement afoot to get people to start calling it "Kweyol" (acute accent on the E, grave accent on the O) as a matter of national pride, since some think that "Patwa" is derogatory, a relic of the colonial past. You can call it by either/both of those labels, or you can call it "St. Lucian French-lexified creole", which is more technical but more descriptive.

Scottish Gaelic

Spoken in: Scotland, by about 80,000 speakers
In Scottish Gaelic: 'S urrainn dhomh gloinne ithe; cha ghoirtich i mi.
Pronounced: SOO-reen gaw gloyn-yuh ich-uh; cha gorshtich ee mee.


Spoken in: Sicily
In Sicilian: "Puotsu mangiari u vitru, nun mi fa mali."
Note: Sicilian, an ancient tongue, is considered a dialect of Italian.

Sindarin (Elvish)

Spoken in: the works of J.R.R. Tolkien
In Sindarin: "Bathathon heled, im -cirath."
Pronounced: BA-tha-thon HEH-led, eem oo-KEER-ath
Literally: "I will consume glass, it will not hurt me."
Note: The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth by Ruth S. Noel suggests that the future tense can be used to imply ability. "Bath-" is a back-formed verb stem meaning "to consume," derived from Quenya (a related Elvish language) vasa according to patterns established by other words.

Singlish (Corrrupted Singaporean English)

Spoken in: Singapore
In Singlish: "Can eat glass, lah, never hurt me, hoh!"
Pronounced: /ken EE' gras lah, NEH-ver hu' me, HOH/
Pronounciation note: Vowels clipped and nasalised. The /'/ represents a glottal stop. The "hoh" is pronounced entirely through the nose.
Alternatively: "Eat glass also can! I never kanah, wan!"
Pronounced: /Ea' glas aw-so can! I NEH-vuh' ka-NA, WAAHN!/
Pronounciation note: Same as before. "Kanah" is a word of dubious spelling, origin and meaning, generally implying punishment, pain, and other such unpleasantness, and enjoys widespread use in army barracks.
Malay-based alternative: "Makan glass, BOLEH! I don't sakit, lor!"
Pronounced: /ma-kan glas BOH-lay! I don' sah-ki', laaw/
Literally: "Eat glass can! I don't hurt"
Note: The words "lor", "lah", "wan" etc. are universal interjections and are usually interchangeable. Mix and match the versions at will!
Note on Singlish: Not quite a dialect; it is a controversial symptom of the infiltration of Malay, Tamil and various Chinese dialects into the old colonial language, English. The grammar of this alleged "language" is highly malleable (and has been condemned by the Authorities).


Spoken in: The former Yugoslavia
Written as: Mogu da jedem staklo. To me ne boli.
Pronunciation: mah-GOO dah YAY-dem STAK-lah. Toh me ne bah-LEE.


Spoken in: Slovenia
In Slovene: "Lahko jem steklo, pa me ne boli."

South Sotho

Spoken in: northern regions of South Africa
In South Sotho: "Nka ja galase. Ekeke ya nketsa letho."
Pronunciation: Ngka zha galasay. Aykaykay ya ngkaytsa laytoo.


Spoken in: Southern Jutland in Denmark
In Soenderjysk: " ka e glass uhen at det g m naue."
Pronounced: Eh ca ehe glaass W-hen at de geh mae now.
Notes: Soendejysk is a dialect spoken in the southern part of Jutland in Denmark. It is a influenced by the German language. This is because this part of the country often has been occupied by the Germans during a variety of wars.


Spoken in: Latin America, Spain, the US
In Spanish: "Puedo comer vidrio, no me duele."
Literal Translation: I can eat glass, it is not painful to me.
Alternately: "Puedo comer vidrio, no me hace daño."
Pronounced: Poo-EH-doh coh-MER VEE-dreeo, noh meh AH-se DAH-nio.
Literal translation: I can eat glass, it does not do me damage.
Note: The second translation is probably more accurate.


Spoken in: Eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania)
In Swahili: "Ninaweza kula glasi, haiwezi kuumiza mimi."
Literally: "I am able to eat glass, it is not able to hurt me."


Spoken in: Sweden
In Swedish: "Jag kan äta glas, det gör inte ont."
Literally: I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt [me].
Alternately: "Jag kan ta glas, det skadar mig inte."

Swiss German

Spoken in: Switzerland
In Swiss: "Ich chan Glaas sse, das tuet mir nd weeh."
Pronounced: EEk kahn glahs ahse, das tooet meer nod weh.


Spoken in: Philippines
In Tagalog: Nakakakain ako ng salamin; hindi naman ako masasaktan.
Pronounced: nah-kah-kah-KAH-in ah-KO nang sah-lah-MIN; hin-DEE na-MAN ah-KO mah-SAH-sak-tan.


Spoken in: Ironically, Taiwan
Transliteration: Waah eh-dung jaah buh-lay; bei gahwah deiah-shong.
Literal translation: I can eat glass; won't do to myself injury.


Spoken in: Tamil Nadu (southeastern state in India) as well as significant populations in Sri Lanka and Singapore.
Transliteration: Kanadi sapatulum, orukedum varathu.


Spoken in: Thailand
Transliteration: Taa pom (chan) gin grajok, mai jeb bpuad.
Notes: Pom is the first person singular pronoun which would be most appropriate for male foreigners to use, chan is for females. There are other words which might be used by a native, depending on the person speaking and the person listening, but most variations away from pom/chan would be considered offensive.


Spoken in: Turkey
In Turkish: "Cam yiyebilirim, bana birsey yapmaz."
Literal translation: I can eat glass, it does not do anything to me.
Note: To look at a playful version of Turkish, see "Turkish Bird Language."


Spoken in: Central Ghana
In Twi: "Metumi awe tumpan. 3ny3 me hwee."
(Yes, those are 3's -- they represent a backwards "E" which is used in Twi.)
Pronunciation: The 3's are pronounced like short e's and the "hw" sounds like "sh".


Spoken in: Vietnam
In Vietnamese: "Tôi có thê' an thúy tinh, không hai gì."
Note: In addition to those marks, there is what looks like a small "u" over the a in "an", and a dot under the a in "hai".
Literal translation: "I can eat glass, not harmful" (implies 'to me').


Spoken in: Wales
In Welsh: "Dw i'n gallu bwyta gwydr, dwy e ddim yn gwneud dolur i mi."


Spoken in: southern regions of South Africa
Transliteration: Ndingayita ibotile. Ayisokuze indenze nto.
Pronunciation: All Nguni languages (of which Xhosa is one) equally weight each syllable: Djingayita eebodeelee. ayisokuzay indenzay do.


Spoken in: areas in which Central and Eastern European Jews have settled.
In Yiddish:
Transliterated: "Ikh ken esn gloz un es tut mir nisht vey."
Note: Compare this language with German and Hebrew, elements of which are incorporated into Yiddish.

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2002 Hermester Barrington