Sunday, December 27, 2009

International Words for the Bathroom - Annie

When traveling abroad, I always try to learn at least a few phrases in the local language. My favorites include: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and "please give me chocolate ice cream!" However, the most useful phrase of all is: WHERE IS THE BATHROOM? Since I began my toilet paper ambassadorship a few weeks ago, I've continued to collect different ways to ask for the bathroom in as many languages as possible. New York has a fairly diverse array of people, so it has been a really fun project… although it has been a challenge to find an appropriate way of writing it with English letters to convey the correct pronunciation, so please excuse my spelling!

Actually, in English alone, we really do have quite a few options. We can say that "nature calls" or ask to powder our nose. We can ask for the restroom, the washroom, the can, the john, the toilet, the throne, the commode, the powder room, the facilities, or the little girls' room or little boys' room. If we're British, we would ask for the water closet, the loo, or the WC. I hadn't heard of "the bog" until corresponding recently with a friend from Canada, but that's an option too. Apparently, you can also say: "I need to spend a penny!" (Assuming, of course, that the other person understands what you're talking about!)

Every language has numerous ways to ask, so my list was getting long. Just today, I realized that I might be able to find more by using the incredible tool known as the internet, and my list has suddenly expanded even further! Thank you, Wikipedia! My new favorites include the Tagalog language (from the Philippines), which calls it the "comfort room" or "the CR" and the polite Japanese way of asking, "may I wash my hands?" Other useful ones might be the Pig Latin, "Excuseay emay, erewhay isay ethay athroombay?"

Take a peek:

In Afrikaans: Waar is die toilet? or Waar is die badkamer?

In Albanian: Ku është banjo?

In Arabic: Wain al hamam? or Wein ha mam? or Ayna Al Hammam?

Egyptian Arabic: Men Fadlak, Fen El Hammam?

Moroccan Arabic: Fin el bit al ma?

In Austrian: Tschujdigung, wo isn dees Scheisheisl?

In Bengali: Bathroom Kothay?

In Bulgarian: Къде е банята? Kade e banyata?

In Catalan: On és el lavabo?

In Chinese:

Cantonese: Ching men, sei sou gan (washroom) hei been? (polite)

Chi soh (toilet) hei been? (casual)

Mandarin Chinese: Qing wen xishoujian/cesuo zai nai li? Qing wen, ce suo zai nar?

In Creole: kot twalet la ye?

In Croatian: Oprostite, gdje je kupaonica?

In Czech: Kde je záchod? or Prosim Vas, Kde jsou toalety?

In Danish - Hvor er toilettet? or Undskyld mig, hvor er badeværelset/toilettet?

In Dutch: Waar is de batkamer? or Pardon, waar is de W.C.

In Esperanto: Pardonon, kie estas la banejo?

In Estonian: Vabandage, kus on tualet?

In Fijian: Au sa via mi (i need to pee)

In Finnish: Missä on kylpyhuone(vessa)? Missä on vessa/WC

In French: Où sont les toilettes?

In Gaelic/Irish: Ca bhfuil an leithreas?

In German: Wo ist die Badezimmer? Or Wo ist die Toilette, bitte?

In Greek: Parakalo, pou ine i tualetta? or Pou einai i toualeta?

In Hebrew: Slikha, ehfo hah sherooteem?

In Hindi: Mere ko bathroom jaana hai? or Saunchalay kahan hain?

In Hmong: Honm naj nyob qhov twb os?

In Hungarian: Elnézést, hol (van) a vécé?

In Icelandic: Hvar er salernið/klósettið?

In Indonesian: Permisi, di mana kamar mandi?

In Italian: Dov'e il bagno?

In Japanese: Toire wa, doko? or more politely, Otearai wa doko desu ka? (Where can I wash my hands?)

In Korean: Hwajangsil odie issuimnika? or Huajiangsiri eodiyijjo?

In Lao: Hong nam yuu sai?

In Latin: Ubi est latrina?

In Latvian: Atvainojiet, kur ir tualete?

In Lebanese: Waynil hemehm?

In Lithuanian: Atsiprašau, kur yra tualetas?

In Malay: Tandas/bilik air kat mana?

In Malayalam: Bathroom evide ah?

In Maltese: Fejn qiegђed it-toilet?

In Mongolian: Uuchlaarai('ʊ:tʃ|ɑ:ræ )

In Nepali: Baatroom snaan kaksha kahaan cha?

In Norwegian: Hvor er toalettet? or Hvor er doen? (casual way) or Hvor er dassen? (teenage way)

In Persian: Bebakhshid, dastshoee kojast?

In Polish: Przepraszam, gdzie jest toaleta?

In Portuguese: Aonde esta o banheiro? or Faz favor, onde é o lavabo?

In Punjabi: Bathroom/Gusal Khana kithe hai?

In Romanian: Unde este toaleta, va rog?

In Russian: Gde tualet? or Skazhite pozhalusta, gde toalet?

In Samoan: E, 'O fea le faleuila?

In Senegalese: Fun moy douche bee?

In Serbian: Izvinite, gde je kupatilo?

In Setswana: Kopa toilet or toilet e kae?

In Slovak: Prosím vás, kde sú toalety?

In Spanish: Dònde està el baño?

In Sranan Tongo: Pe a wc de?

In Swahili: Choo iko wapi?

In Swedish: Var är toaletten? or Ursäkta mig, men var finns toaletterna?

In Tagalog: Pwede po bang malaman kung nasaan ang banyo? or Saan po ang baño? or Saan po ang CR? (for "comfort room")

In Tamil: Bathroom enga irukku?

In Telugu: Bathroom ekkada?

In Thai: Hong nam yu nai kha/khrab? or Hong suam yuu thi nai? or Hong nam yoo tee nai?

In Tigrinya - Sha'uq abey alo?

In Turkish : Toalet/WC nerde?

In Urdu: Bathroom kidhar hay?

In Vietnamese: Cho hoi, nha` ve^. sinh o da^u va^.y?

In Visayan/Bisaya: Asa ang banyo?

In Welsh - Pardwn ble mae`r ty bach?

In Zulu/Xhosa/Siswati: Celi itoilet? or Ikuphi itoilet?

(note the "c" is a click. sort of like the click in English when chastising, usually spelled "tsk tsk.")

These phrases should help you find a bathroom, wherever you find yourself on Earth. But of course, if you find yourself in outer space, you might need the Klingon phrase from Star Trek: nuqDaq 'oH pacha''e'?

If you have questions or comments, write to me at: !

No comments:

Post a Comment