Smile! Say cheese! (photography)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ajo fresco, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. ajo fresco

    ajo fresco Senior Member

    In English, when we're taking a photo of someone, it's common to say "Say cheese!" to get them to smile.

    I'm curious to know what words or phrases are used in other languages.


    Ajo Fresco
  2. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    Finnish: sano "muikku"! (say "vendace"!)
  3. enoo Senior Member

    French - France
    Well... as far as I know, in French it's often "Dites cheese !" :D
    Maybe some other words with the "ee" sound are used, but I only remember that one. (And when I was a kid I remember wondering what "tchiiiz" was)
  4. Awwal12

    Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    In Russian, the most equal phrase is "Улыбочку (, пожалуйста)!" - "A little smile (, please)!"
    [ʊlɨbəʨkʊ pʌʐalʊstə]
    There are other typical phrases of photographers, of course, but only this refers to smile, as the English variant.

    P.S.: Yes, there is also "скажите [skʌʐɨt'ɪ] "cheese"" - (say "cheese"), but it is very rare, and, of course, totally informal.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  5. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    In Brazil we mostly say Xis (pronounced shees), which is how we pronounce the letter x in Portuguese. There are also other words a group of friends may use, though.
  6. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I've heard this, but I've never understood the idea. In fact, the (i) is pronounced so shortly that one's mouth has no time to take the look of smiling, especially for a typical Finn who doesn't much move his/her mouth when speaking.

    In many cases when I've been the photographer, I've said a dirty word, and behold! everyone laughs. Click! (Can't be used with kids nor with older serious people.)
  7. miguel89

    miguel89 Senior Member

    Here we say: digan Whiskeeeeey!
  8. ajo fresco

    ajo fresco Senior Member

    A very belated and appreciative thanks for all your replies!

    I recently discovered this very thread has been referenced in, so your answers will be helpful to even more people!

    Ajo Fresco
  9. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    In there is a Czech phrase "Vyletí ptáček!" (or "Pozor, vyletí ptáček").

    It means "(attention,) a birdie will fly out". But it is usually used for attracting the attention of little children and they usually do not smile.

    Smile! in Czech formally:
    Usměj se! (imper. sing.) Usmějte se! (imper. plur.)
    Úsměv! (noun - a smile) Úsměv, prosím! (a smile, please)

    (Řekni) sýr! = (say) cheese!

    Sýr is pronounced seer.
  10. Favara Senior Member

    Catalan - Southern Val.
    Hey, we also say that in Catalan to make children look at the camera, mireu al pardalet! or mireu, que ix el pardalet!.

    I'd say the most usual "cheese!" in Catalan is Lluís /ʎu'is/, which is a masculine name (Louis). I've also heard lluç /ʎus/, meaning "hake" (the fish), but this might also be a corruption or a play on Lluís.
  11. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    In Turkish, there are a few, one of them is: 333! (üç yüz otuz üç)

    Yes it's sort of weird xD
  12. N-i-c-0-o New Member

    French - France
    In french, we can say either "cheese !" or the most common is "ouistiti !" which means marmoset.
  13. Orlin Banned

    Bulgarian: зеле (zele) - literally "cabbage".
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  14. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    I do not think we use a similar expression. According to, in Greek we say «Πες τυρί» (pes ti'ri). I'm afraid that's nothing more than a verbatim translation of the English "say cheese". We say «κοίτα το πουλάκι» ('cita to pu'laci, lit. "watch for the little bird") when children are involved in the photograph (and the photographer tries to attract attention). When adults are involved, the photographer simply requests «χαμογελάστε παρακαλώ» (xamoʝe'laste paraka'lo)-->"smile please"

    [c] is a voiceless palatal plosive
    [x] is a voiceless velar fricative, known as the hard ch
    [ʝ] is a voiced palatal fricative
  15. VRF

    VRF Senior Member

    La Coruña
    bilingüe francés - español
    in spanish, we say "pa-ta-ta"
  16. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    How come I haven't spotted this topic before? :)

    In Hungarian the classic old phrase is: Itt repül a kismadár! [here is flying the little bird], just like in Czech. I wonder where it comes from. From German?
  17. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    We also generally say: 'Look at the birdie' (Kijk naar het vogeltje), but do not make them pronounce any words. (We know that does not help ;-)

    (I do use a trick like the Turks, counting 1-2-3 and then going on, jumping to irregular numbers. That always helps produce a very natural smile...)

    Just wondering: don't those languages using words generally refer to words containing the sound /i:/? I thought for a second it forces people to close their mouth, which is a condition for smiles. Crazy?
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  18. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    That's what one would have guessed.

    But in Turkish we go for: 333 which is pronunced: üç yüz otuz üç!

    No i's

    We could have picked a more appropriate number:

    2022: iki bin yirmi iki

    But no...Oh well..We're weird I admit :p
  19. hollabooiers Member

    The Estonian version makes absolutely no sense at all. We say "Hernesupp!", which just means "Pea soup!"

    I suppose it's just meant to be random enough to make you laugh, but gee, you'd think they'd come up with something better than that. :p

    I'm actually not sure how common it is, but that's what I always heard as a kid.
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    You know: (your) /ÿ/ and /i/ are not as different as you think they are. the first is as closed as the second, but the lips are also rounded for /ÿ/, not for /i/. So, I don't want to insist, but... ;-)
  21. Messquito

    Messquito Senior Member

    台灣台北 Taipei, Taiwan
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    In Chinese:
    說「七(chi)」! Say "seven"!
    說「茄(chie)子」!Say "eggplant"!
    西瓜甜不甜?Isn't the watermelon tasty? 甜(tian)!(yes, )tasty!
  22. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Säg le - say smile.
  23. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    Smile はい笑って(hey, smile) hai waratte
    Say cheese はいチーズ(hey, cheese) hai chiizu

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