Speak the language of the streets in a foreign language with the Dirty Everyday Slang books.
Credit: WorldIslandInfo.com

Stop Looking Like a Tourist - Speak Slang Like a Native

Hate sounding like a tourist when you visit another country? If you’re learning another language, you probably won’t learn to speak like a native from a textbook or your foreign language teacher. The Dirty Everyday Slang series helps you pick up hip phrases, sweet nothings or downright dirty words to take your language skills to the next level.  These books can help you impress the girl next door with a few romantic French words.  Or give you a way to curse out someone at work in German, without them having a clue about what you’re saying.  Speaking in another language also gives you the chance to discuss secrets out in the open, without giving anything away. If nothing else, these books are great for laugh at your next party.

Don’t be too quick to write these books off as nothing more than dirty word primers though. You’ll probably be surprised at how many useful phrases and tips these books pack in. If you can only afford one book before your trip, you’ll get more practical phrases and cultural tips out of a Dirty Everyday Slang book than a book of travel phrases. You learn cool phrases you can use to hang with the in crowd but also find plenty of common, everyday phrases that will come in handy as well. 

You can probably get more helpful phrases out of these 120 to 160 page books then you can out a semester or two of a college foreign language class (for way less than even one of the textbooks you’ll need to buy for the class). Each book contains a handy pronunciation guide and a rundown on the basics of the language. You’ll also learn useful tips on the rhythms, cadence and regional peculiarities of the language to help you sound more like a native and use the right words in the right locations. You’ll also find explanations to adjust the phrases for males or females. 

Native Speakers Tell You How to Play It Cool

These books often assume you already know enough of the language to get by.  Your two years of high school language class years ago will probably be fine.  The goal is to add some street smarts to your standard textbook foreign language phrases. At the very least, you’ll be able to tell if someone’s insulting you in another language and maybe learn a few choice words to throw back at them.

While goal of the books in this series is to help you talk like the natives, it isn’t always grammatically correct. It’s also not appropriate to use in every situation or with everyone you meet.  If you use what you learn with people your own age, who aren’t strangers, in situations where you know what’s going on, you’ll probably be okay.  The books are usually written by at least one native speaker and one or more enthusiasts of the language. The authors regularly visit the country where the language is spoken to provide a selection of up-to-date words and phrases. 

The books are broken into sections, with titles in English, which are all dedicated to different real-life situations. The Howdy section includes a variety of formal and low key greetings, a Party section talks about phrases to use for shopping, vacations, the beach and other celebrations, while the Hungry section offers food and eating phrases, along with plenty of info about food culture for the country. You’ll find other culture tips too, such as what to wear to a soccer game and surefire ways to insult someone you're hoping to get to know a little better.  The books translate humor well, which can be tough to explain when you’re talking about different languages and cultures. 

When in France, talk French like a native.
Credit: Tom Raftery

The French Text Differently - They Don't Do It In English

Be forewarned that the Sex category for each book is definitely a  down and dirty collection that covers just about anything a person might want to do, have done to them or not ever be a part of. The best part is finding out the literal translations the books include for many of the phrases in any of the categories.  It can be hilarious to see how differently people express similar ideas in other languages.

Take the phrase “I owe you one.” The Portuguese say, “Quando voce casar a/o mulher/marido e toda/o sua/seu.”  The literal English translation:  “When you’re married, I’ll never try to go after your wife/husband.”  Huh?? And pay attention when the book tells you something that seems harmless is a really big insult in another country – they know what they’re talking about.

The best thing about this book is you can learn how to speak another language like a real person instead of a college professor.  You can also learn phrases you’d probably be embarrassed to ask someone how to say.  These books teach you how to speak in the real world. Or just find some cool pick up lines to use on the ladies at the club.  She might have heard: ”Damn, you fine!”  from plenty of guys.  You might get a way better response if you try it in Russian: “ Blin, nu ti I shi-KAR-nii!!”   

When learning a new language, you might feel hesitant to speak with native speakers. Learning the phrases in this book allows you to learn to communicate in a more relaxed way. Natives have definitely been impressed when I’ve used some of the phrases I've learned from these books (or at least they’ve laughed a lot).  Even cooler? You can even learn how to text in another language. Want to text your friend in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower:  Skip LOL and use MDR instead. Translation: mort de rire (dying laughing).

Foreign Language Fun - Say It Five Times Fast

The books do a great job of providing insight into the history, customs and everyday life of another county, and they do it in a funny way. It’s more like a friend giving you advice than a textbook. The drawings in the book are funny too. These books get a thumbs up from natives and are a fun way to show an interest in your significant others language or your new friends.  It makes a great gift for friends who are studying another language or students planning to study abroad.  

Take this book along on your next trip, whether you plan to visit for a week or study abroad for a year.  This book is way more than a list of dirty words.  It’s a really complete cultural overview with sections to inform, entertain and educate you on the finer points of a foreign language. Of course, the key to any book of slang is that it needs to be up-to-date with the way people on the streets are talking. If reading about Talk Dirty Italian has you saying “Non vedo l’ora!” (“I can’t wait), you don’t have to. You can order and download to Dirty Italian, Dirty French, Dirty Portuguese, Dirty Russian and Dirty German to your Kindle in under a minute.

The club is the perfect place to try out your cool new pick up lines.
Credit: Fitsum Belay