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fluent in 20 minutes

Minchia ch’è beddu! 20 Minutes to Feigning Fluent-ish Sicilian

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Neapolitan in 20 Minutes: Learn Just Enough for Any Conversation in Southern Italy

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On Learning Just Enough Bosnian Slang to Toast, Gripe, and Propose Marriage

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If you want to joke, flirt, and gripe with the locals in Sicily, you could do so in Italian. But if you manage to do so in Sicilian you’re going to have way more fun. Sicilian is the language of the island of Sicily. Some refer to it as a “dialect” — but, prior to …

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If you want to joke, flirt, and make a proper toast in the south of Italy, you could certainly speak Italian. Or English — or Bosnian, Galician, or Russian, for that matter, as Italians are generally delighted to carry on a conversation without the slightest comprehension. But if you really want a truly local adventure, you must speak at least a little Neapolitan. …

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Bosnian is uniquely rich among its Slavic brethren in shortened informal expressions. Here’s a quick guide; master these few words and you’ll sound like a local.

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  The world thinks it knows what a French person sounds like: a derisive laugh that somehow pulls phlegm through the nostrils, a sarcastic oh-la-la between pinched puffs of smoke… But what do the French think the French sound like? And what can you say and do to pass as one of them? As part of our Fluent …

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As part of the our Fluent in 20 Minutes series, this post provides EVERYTHING you need to participate in conversations with Brazilians, whether or not you have any idea what anyone is saying. Why learn (a bit of) Portuguese? Well, there’s good evidence that this language has the best music, and then there are the Brazilians themselves, their dancing, …

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Your buddy is tipsy. Would you rather express this with a gesture referencing an 18th-century alcoholic carpenter’s tzar-given neck tattoo, or just mime tipping a bottle to your lips? Almost invariably, Russian gestures are more interesting and/or emphatic than their international counterparts. We at TP suggest that the following be immediately adopted into everyone’s physical …

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  Surrounded by Americans? The following key gestures and words will allow you to fake a high level of American English, even and especially when you have no idea what anyone is saying. This is derived from the Tipsy Pilgrim Language Method, which targets language’s true purpose: amusement. Rarely, we believe, does/should language serve a communicative …

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Learn to speak languages with without pesky bullshit like comprehension or communication.

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You can’t speak Portuguese without moving your hands. And, as you might expect from a people with their own style of kissing, Brazilians have a grand repertoire of unique gestures. Among them: “big fat liar”, “this person’s quality stuff”, and “in the hood”.

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Galician is uniquely rich in fixed expressions for that romantic-but-vexing moment when a man sees something he’d like to fuck. Many languages (French and Catalan come to mind) have their own clichéd versions of “do you come here often?” but Galician, in spite of losing its lexical footing a bit as it mixes with Spanish, is balls-out prolific …

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Welcome to Verlan, France’s answer to Cockney rhyming slang or Pig Latin (and an exact parallel to Serbian’s Šatrovački). Verlan became common in the ’80s among poor young folks in Parisian suburbs, and was diffused through hip hop and pop music. Today, anyone of the MTV Europe age or younger employs it to some degree. The …

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The world’s sexiest women are Catalan. They’re gorgeous, laid back, kinda grungy, and infinitely sweet.* So what do you gotta do to bang, smooch, or marry one? Former dictator Francisco Franco has inadvertently given us a leg up, with the collective mindfuck he caused by banning the region’s language. Today’s Catalans get very excited about …

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This is just one of the countless gestures integral to communication in Brazil, and never taught in any Portuguese class. The estalo brasileiro, or Brazilian snap, is used to indicate speed; sometimes it’s used to (rather rudely) tell someone to pick up the pace. To snap like a Brazilian, start with your hand pretty much …

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