C'est de l'hébreu / C'est du chinois

  • Mezzofanti

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of pukka UK English
    "It's all Greek to me" is by far the commonest. Shakespeare's Julius Caesar has Casca say "Nay, but for my own part it was Greek to me", in which the meaning is simultaneously literal and figurative - i.e. Casca hadn't understood because Seneca was in fact speaking Greek.
     

    rosieg

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I have also heard very often the expression with "Dutch". In an informal situation, people also say "doubledutch" (He was talking doubledutch) at least in my part of Britain.
     

    PrincessLyka

    Senior Member
    Belgium, French/English
    Funny, because here in South Africa, it's all "French" to them !!!

    My mistake - people say "excuse my French" when they want to say something rude or swear. If they can't understand something, it is also Greek to them.
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    Funny, because here in South Africa, it's all "French" to them !!!

    My mistake - people say "excuse my French" when they want to say something rude or swear. If they can't understand something, it is also Greek to them.

    Not sure what you heard exactly in South Africa, PL, but in AE we also say pardon my French before (or right after) we use a strong word or expression that we think might offend someone

    I know you think Jim is a nice guy, but--pardon my French--he was a real son of a bitch with Mary when they got divorced.

    It's not the same as it's Greek to me --words or language that you cannot at all understand.
     

    Julz

    Senior Member
    I have heard "it's all double dutch to me", but also, and pardon the offensive nature of the following, "it all sounds ching chong to my ears"...which gives that idea of c'est du chinois.
     
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