For those living in a bubble the past few months, this phrase stands for ‘You Only Live Once’, and has become a popular slogan amongst teenagers in America (of course now that it’s popular it will be slowly dying out soon). So I’m making the most of it by writing a blog post about popular sayings in other countries.
For better or worse, language falls victim to the ever-changing trends of the current generation.
You can attribute it to youth culture, the media, current events, or any combination of different influences. No matter what country you live in, your language will end up like the Bride of Frankenstein once pop culture gets its mad scientist hands on it.
So here are some examples of phrases that have become popular recently in other countries, thanks to pop culture.
1. “Τυχαίο; Δεν νομίζω!” [Tiheo? Then nomizo! (By chance/a coincidence? I don’t think so!)] — Greece
It became popular as the final line of a series of TV adverts (for a ‘directory enquiries’ telephone service, if I remember correctly). The ads have stopped (or I’ve stopped noticing them) so the phrase is used less often now, but it’s stayed in the public conscience and I reckon it’ll stay for at least a generation.
2. “Even Apeldoorn bellen…” (Have to call Apeldoorn…) — Netherlands
This phrase became popular thanks to an insurance company slogan. Apeldoorn is the city where the office is located. The sentence is used when someone has done something stupid.
3. “Me lo quedo” (I’ll have it. In regards to deciding to buy something) — Spain
This phrase originates from a Corte Inglés ad in Spain. Teens adopted the phrase to use in numerous situations.
4. “Dumura uğramak” (used to express surprise or astonishment) — Turkey
The word ‘dumur’ in Turkish was always an obscure technical term in biology meaning, exactly, ‘atrophy’.
A few years ago, it, for some strange reason, found popular use in a number of expressions with the meaning of ‘surprise’ or ‘astonishment’. Thus the expression ‘dumura uğramak’, literally to ‘undergo atrophy’, entered popular speech with the meaning ‘be surprised/astonished’.
5. “Des doods” (The ‘death’) — Netherlands (Dutch)
This phrase started with the Dutch expression “de poule des doods”, the group of death, when a Dutch football team has very strong opponents in an international championship. “Des doods” is an obsolete genitive form in our language and nowadays the Dutch generally use it tongue-in-cheek. Anything can be “des doods”: thunderstorms, snowflakes, cats, traffic jams, a mother-in-law or a car wash.
Thanks to those who submitted their examples for this blog post! If you have more to add, please leave your examples in the comments section.