“Marry me, darling, for I have cows!” — picking up girls in a disappearing tongue


galician girl and cow

Galician is uniquely rich in fixed expressions for that romantic-but-vexing moment when a man sees something he’d like to fuck. Many languages (French and Catalan come to mind) have their own clichéd versions of “do you come here often?” but Galician, in spite of losing its lexical footing a bit as it mixes with Spanish, is balls-out prolific with its pickup lines.

Galician is of course the language of Galicia, a mostly rural area in the northwest of the Iberian peninsula (you are perhaps more familiar with Galician’s southern cousin, Portuguese). As a function of its agricultural context, the language’s pickup lines evince an obsession with tractors (you can be as pretty as one, or as turbo-charged in your humping) and cows (owning them makes you desirable).

Most importantly, this is apparently the only language to have coined an onomatopoeia for finger-banging.

Galician women are known for being agarimosas (affectionate) and also for being decisive — once they set their sights on you they’ll stop at nothing to have you and keep you. But at the same time they can be relatively cold to strangers; my guess is that the following were developed over many evenings of compounding sexual frustration. (It’s certainly not the only example of linguistic creativity born out of misery.)

We’ll finish on a video of a rather inebriated Galician making use of that last item, fuch fuch. This video went viral, giving him renown throughout Galicia; one assumes that as a result of this performance he has never heard the sweet sound since.

Update: The video has been removed from YouTube and then reuploaded a few times; but hopefully the version below will work when you read this. If not, run a search for “fuch fuch”.

 

My favorite line: “It’s not polite to talk about people, but…”

I’d like to thank my Galician sources, Marina Sánchez and Xurxo Salgado, for their help in editing and translating these. As I was writing this, Marina was kind enough dispatch a last-minute addition:

Mose,

I’m in a family dinner right now and they’ve just reminded me of the following:

Pegariache unha lambetada de cona a cu e de cu a cona que non vas a saber si correrte ou cagarte de gusto.

I’d lick you up and down between your asshole and your pussy so much you won’t know if you feel like shitting or coming!

My god, what nonsense!

Thanks Marina. I hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your dinner.

 

Update: August 25, 2012

Nice to see some new readers: Ola Galiza!

In response to the more negative comments below: Nationalism (or regionalism, patriotism, whatever) is an understandable reaction; it’s also boring. Disagree with something I’ve said? Tell me what I’ve got wrong, and tell me what joking, flirting and sex in Galicia is really like. Just saying that I’m “tirando a nosa cultura polo chan” isn’t so useful.

My readers are not fucking idiots; they do understand that if you actually said these to a Galician girl you’d get (deservedly, and at the very least) slapped in the face.

I loved discovering a few things about Galicia (I’m surprised this isn’t evident to a few of you) and I’m happy to hear more — please continue to share in the comments. I’ve clarified some of the translations based on your comments, though translation is an art and it’s hard to make everyone happy.

And before you go thinking this is all about you, you may want to bounce around the blog a bit and learn about the ridiculous ways we screw in other parts of the world, e.g.: sloppy kissing in Brazilstages of sexual conquest in America, losing one’s virginity in Albania, etc.

94 Comments

  1. June 15, 2017
    Reply

    “I’m aware that these phrases are all mixed up with Spanish”
    Called ‘castrapo’, I believe. Not uncommon.
    Galego variants can be found within a few kilometres. For example, the G sound between Pontevedra and A Reigosa, 16km away.
    Years ago I saw a map showing, I think, 5 main Galego ‘zones’ and read that galegofalantes from Sanxenxo would have difficulty understanding folk from Lugo, for example.
    In short, it’s bit of a minefield. And that’s before you get to the argument about whether Gallego is the parent of Portuguese or vice versa.
    I await the criticisms of these anodyne comments . . .

  2. Noces
    June 12, 2015
    Reply

    Iago; coóuseche/colóuseche un “luego” donde debía ser un “logo” 🙂 . Non é fácil p’os que estudiamos Inglés na escola pasar directamente do Galego ó Inglés, e do Inglés ö Galego, pero resulta que para nós aínda había ser máis fácil de aprender que estudándoo a paratir do castelán.

    • June 19, 2015
      Reply

      Yeah, I’m aware that these phrases are all mixed up with Spanish; the goal was not to report on a “pure” Galician but rather how it is actually spoken right now.

  3. HUIH
    March 26, 2015
    Reply

    Joder, qué asco… odio ser un subser gallego.

    • Corredoiras@boimorto.
      June 13, 2015
      Reply

      Dásm’unha lástima…

  4. Teixujo
    February 20, 2015
    Reply

    I found it really funny, great read.

    Nena vouche faser a cona reversible (with seseo as I am from a sailor town).Girl gonna make you cunt reversible.

    But my favourite galician expression is,not sex related:nunca choveu que non escampara, take it me everywhere I go when I am low.

    Saude.

  5. jjjj
    December 4, 2014
    Reply

    1. Galician is not a dissapearing tongue.
    2. Galicia was during all it history a rural area, but reading this it seems that we are a region of “paletos” and “montunos”.
    3. We aren´t obsessed with tractors and cows, and owning some lands is not important in flirting.
    4. We say this phrases for joking, but we dont flirt using them. they only are used by a minority part of the population

    • jjjj
      December 4, 2014
      Reply

      i like the compilation, but i dont like the things that you say about galicia in the start of the article.

  6. May 16, 2014
    Reply

    Miña nai… Non tedes senso do humor. É unha broma!

    • ïscalle lura
      June 13, 2015
      Reply

      Non é unha broma, son recopilacións da nosa cultura; e non quere dicir que non saibamos falar doutra maneira, quere dicir que somos capaces de falar así tamén.

  7. Tipsy Pilgrim
    January 19, 2013
    Reply

    @Maria — I'm not changing the title, because even as you yourself describe the situation, it appears that "disappearing" is apt. But I do hope that it doesn't ever disappear; it's a lovely language! Let's do everything we can to maintain it (including its jokes, quirks, and obnoxious ticks).
    As for the comments about pickup lines in America or the UK, in my experience these places have hardly the richness and creativity in this field that one finds in Galicia. But if you can prove me wrong, I'd love to write about that too.

  8. Maria
    January 18, 2013
    Reply

    I'm Galician, and what actually bothered me is the tittle: disappearing tongue. I'm not a nationalist, but first of all, Galician is a recognized language. Then, "disappearing", might be true in some ways as prejudices make it be less spoken or written than years before, but is still spoken in the rural areas, studied at school and written by many authors, and I believe that the young generations are accepting it better than the ones that were born during the dictatorship.
    It is true that some boys, specially in some of the rural areas, use some of this expression, but I have seen teenagers using them as a joke, not for flirting, and I bet that they wouldn't work at all anyway. Also, I have lived in America, and have heard even worse expressions than this and I was asked more times to have sex in really nasty ways than when I lived in Galicia. So I would take all of these as no more than a joke and not something to get mad about, but I ask the author to please change the tittle, as it is insulting for me and any Galician speaker.

  9. maislistacati
    January 16, 2013
    Reply

    a xente, que pensa que por escribir un articulo é mais listo que millóns de galegos.
    Non tes cultura nin educacion rapaz@!!!

  10. a very angry girl
    January 16, 2013
    Reply

    This article is pure crap, I'm Galician, I have 12 years old and I'm from a cultured city, Santiago de Compostela, with educated people with historical buildings , very nice people and of course we are very polite, we are neither rural nor as vast as we are described here, this asshole things are saying just for some teenager that think is funny, but I think that kind of people is all over the world , I have been in England a lot of times (I have family there) and since then I have heard much more unpleasant things to people drunk on the streets of London, so if you go to galicia identify with so vast and rural examples, begin by your country

  11. xirux-nefer
    September 15, 2012
    Reply

    – first of all, many people here doesn't have a sense of humour. Many of these expressions and even worse ones were used for years by Heredeiros da Crus, which is a legendary galician rock band. This is very typical galician humour. Genuine galician type humour at its best.
    – second, dont use this with anyone in Galicia, or you will die… lol
    – third, the expression were the father goes to sleep out, should just be understood as "breaking a marriage", like "if you were married, I'll go to your house to fuck you and your husband will have no choice but to go sleep outside"
    I am galician and I love this kind of posts… only intelligent people can get the thing
    cheers!

  12. Chambanacona
    September 6, 2012
    Reply

    Mose Hayward porco ti es un porco.Vai facer unha reportaxe da puta que te pariu.

  13. Eva
    September 4, 2012
    Reply

    This is where I live……GALICIA……. this is where I was born, hope you enjoy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfLXH6daMyE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-1Fg6sMyl4
    hope you can say the same.

  14. nowImPissed
    September 4, 2012
    Reply

    Those are not sentences Galician people use to flirt, but to have a laugh. But i don't expect some british minds to understand it. This article says nonsense, and from my point of view, the writers and the so called "collaborators" should be "colghados dos collóns", that means, hung by their balls, for talking about what they will never be able to understand. You british are not supposed to understand shit, so stop messing around and go back to your fish and chips and your sexless life

  15. Jorge
    August 31, 2012
    Reply

    What a fukin' shit. Most of the expressions are wrong, and the translations even worse. These are just jokes here in Galicia, nothing but jokes. They've never been used as romantic lines. Never.
    And Galician is not a disappearing tongue. It's a shame that someone can write this shit about our culture and spread it around the world.
    Next time write about what is in your knowledge, prince.

  16. Botana
    August 29, 2012
    Reply

    "But at the same time they can be relatively cold to strangers; my guess is that the following were developed over many evenings of compounding sexual frustration. (It's certainly not the only example of linguistic creativity born out of misery.)"… Si, somos unhos acomplexados Leiran, non sabemos entender "bromas" tan directas como estas. Este home igual quere ter ironía, pero non lle da, quédase no medio e roza (eu digo que traspasa) o umbral da ofensa. Primeiro que aprenda a ser gracioso, logo que faga bromas.

  17. OviOne
    August 28, 2012
    Reply

    @Leirán Exactamente, estou de acordo en todo o que dis, en especial no dos complexos… Dixeron por aí arriba que hai 200 millóns de persoas (!!!) que falan galego. Simplemente iso, complexos.

    Un saúdo.

  18. August 28, 2012
    Reply

    Thanks to this most enjoyable polemic I’ve learned a few things:
    1. Lazyness (i.e. writting a comment in Catalan on an English language site knowing its author and other romance language speakers will understand it) can be easily –and surprisingly– misinterpreted as a call for Catalan independence.

    2. For some obscure sociological reason, in a fucked up country such as Galicia or Catalonia the extremes of self-hatred (sometimes disguised as harmless humour: “we are crap, ha, ha, that’s true”) and obsessive pride for one’s country or language (“we are touched by God and Americans are crap compared to us, ha, ha”) are more populated than in less fucked up countries (i.e. states, where they can spend more time writing about more interesting things like sex and drinking). (This, by the way, could be counted as a separatist statement.)

    3. Whether those mentioned in a joke based on national stereotypes find it funny or not does definitely depend on who tells it (and on where they stand in the continuum of self-hatred / obsessive pride).

    4. Only those who haven’t been to stupidly noisy, mexican hat crazed, stinky fake gaudinian, dog shit infested Barcelona can still believe the marketing lie that it’s actually a cool place. (This is not self-hatred, just come and see.)

    Mr. Tipsy, please, keep posting, I’m learning so much. Thanks.

  19. silvia
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    I am happy that not all the galician men are like the boy of the video. i think he's very disgusting. excuse my english, I'm only a poor galician girl without education and obsessed with cows and tractors.

  20. Leirán
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    Encantado con este artigo e cos comentarios. Hay que darse conta de que en Galicia hay xente acomplexada, porque a houbo desde sempre, e antes era motivo de vergonza falar galego e non saber falar ben castelán. Digo esto porque é a mellor maneira de entender algúns comentarios nos que se len protestas contra o artígo.

    Para os que protestan, que comprendan que todos sabemos que non se piropea así, que son frases inxeniosas e graciosas para facer rir. E con tal motivo de facer rir, algunhas veces sirven pra facer rir ás rapazas ás que se lle din, e poden ser de moita utilidade á hora de empezar unha conversación.

    Tamén hay o típico imbécil que lle molesta esta interacción entre galego e inglés, porque adoecen cando non fai falta o seu "culto" castelán para formar unha relación entre dous sitios tan alonxados un do outro.

    Máis adiante hei de facer un análisis sobre esta clase de frases, e hei de dar algúns motivos de por qué resultan graciosas ou inxeniosas.

  21. August 27, 2012
    Reply

    Sir , I’d like to say , sorry, but you totally missed the point with this article .
    That is not Galician but some kind of Mocklician.
    As a native speaker of the Galician language I couldn't recognise most of these expressions as being Galician but crude translations from Spanish slang, these are probably used as jokes by some people from the so-called Galician big cities (Vigo and Corunha) who are primarily Castillian speakers and consider Galician some kind of second-class language even if they are able to speak it. It's their way have a laugh at the accents of their countryside cousins.
    As your texts suggest, they usually add the "gheada" sound for “g” (something like the English sound of “h” in Hotel ) because with this sound any expression is apparently funnier for those Castillian speakers, even when most of us native speakers don’t pronounce it.

    As for the “disappearing tongue” bit , this must be another joke because , Galician is spoken by more than 200 Million and I understand you also speak our language , I think its Brazilian variant which, by the way, sounds more similar to the Galician phonetic than the Portuguese used in Lisbon .Well, we both Galicians and Brazilians actually still pronouncing all the vowels .
    Anyway , in short and since you understand Galician:
    Este artigo é uma trapalhada, meu !!

  22. Daruma
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    You're American, right?. This comment shows how they are all abnormal. From you can not expect anything good, criminals, I never mix with you.
    That sure as ye taken away from a forum in Portuguese but the Galicians are not Portuguese, and Galician and Portuguese is not the same, so all of this, I meteis it up the ass, ignorant monkeys.
    May you and hope the ass dean disappiar of this world, garbage is what you are.

  23. UnGallego
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    Manda carallo!!!!

  24. Emma
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    O que escribiu esto non sabe nin escribir ben inglés (eu son inglesa, con avós galegos), e non ten nin idea de como é Galicia, como se liga en Galicia, nin coñece o humor galego nin o británico.. en fin.. aí moita xente aburrida e ignorante.. vos deixo aquí un link para saber de verdade acerca da nosa terra:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/travel/galicia/9492347/romantic-holiday-galicia-cuisine.html

  25. August 27, 2012
    Reply

    Awesome 🙂
    I have one more to add:
    "Nena, comemos ou fodemos? Pan non hai…" >> "Baby, shall we eat or fuck? Since there's no bread…"
    But, of course, one should note that "foder" is not quite as strong a word as "to fuck", as far as I understand.
    Keep up the good work!

  26. OviOne
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    Galician sense of humor, it could be written an encyclopedia about it. You move 30 km. (20 mi.) away and you get completely new sentences and jokes. It's also funny to hear some old people when they pisses off (in this video you don't hear not much complexity, but it is still fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrArFo0z7qI). You also should listen to "Heredeiros da Crus", so you can explore the northern shores speaking. Galician could be so ingenious and funny, I was always surprised with it during my 18 years living in Galicia.

    See this: "eres máis feo/fea que cuspir no caldo" wich means: "you're uglier than spitting into the soup" assuming the double meaning of "ugly" also for something "not correct".

    I also want to say that "olá" it's only in Portuguese, in Galician, the correct graphy is "ola".

    Thanks for this cool collection!

  27. Meco
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    Its so anoying, because the people you talk about in your letters cant come here to defend their selves.Most of Galician rural people doesnt speak English.

  28. lu
    August 27, 2012
    Reply

    Some of these translations are inaccurate, review them please -nice suggestions were provided in previous comments.
    "Sex in Galicia" using these phrases? Good tag if you wanted to grab your reader's attention, but quite improbable tbh. And I personally don't like it. It looks like you'll get sex straight after saying things like "vouche comer a reghla a cullaradas"…xa sei quén dís, que dixo o outro. Tsk tsk.
    These phrases -if said, are always brought up for the sake of having a good laugh, mostly between mates/known people that perfectly know and understand that you're joking. Believe me, you won't have success if you use these phrases to flirt with a girl. They are way out of fashion/context/place in most of the cases, if not completely impolite.
    'Fuch-fuch'?!?…I am afraid you are the only person that has coined it as Galician! As it was mentioned before, this is a (funny) Galician guy whose video became viral in Youtube, I never heard this expression before nor my mates. Double-check these kind of affirmations before writing them, overall if you have Galician friends that you can consult with!
    As a side point, it may be worth to mention that some of those expressions -even though they can be understood by everybody in Galicia, are regional/local within the same Galicia.: i.e. "Ghastas pista" sounds Ribeira-like 100% (thanks to Heredeiros I suposse!) but in my town people would pronounce it without "gheada".
    Last, please modify/change the title of the post, my eyes bleed every time I read "disappearing tongue"!!
    As you can see, most of the critics you have received come from Galicians like me, who feel you have created a stereotype out of a few old joky phrases. Hope you make the most of the feedback you have received about this post and correct some of the things you have assumed as right.
    PS- Just a minor thing, "Olá" is not Galician. Maybe you wanted to write "Ola"?

  29. Marcos
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    As a Galician I've heard, of course, some of these pick up lines before. But saying they are common is actually quite far from reality. These are the classic phrases used mainly by construction or field workers that became famous sometimes for being a nice combination of rude and witty. But I have never heard them being used out of the joking context. And as you write them in the article, many of them are written with the spelling of some different dialects Galician has (the pronunciation changes a lot), and not in actual Galician in its official form.

    But, indeed, the biggest mistake of the article is talking about Galician as a dissapearing tongue. It is not only growing in number of speakers (everybody has to study in both Galician and Spanish in a 50/50 basis), but it has at the moment several million speakers. Including the Galician population (almost 100% of the natives are bilingual Spanish/Galician) and the massive amount of Galicians abroad, it's usually considered to have between 6 and 7 million speakers. That's a bigger number of speakers than many languages in the world, including Finnish, Slovakian, Estonian, Latvian, Slovenian, Bosnian, and many others. It also has way more speakers (maybe around 6 times more) than the Basque language, which is usually more known abroad.

    It is really funny (and interesting) to see these pick up lines being translated to English, but, when relating to the language or the region, you are writing things using guessing more than facts. I strongly encourage you to visit Galicia to be able to write a 2.0 version of this article 😉

  30. Xián
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    Great bullshit writen by an asshole. Galiza ceibe de españois e de eivadas mentais coma ti.

  31. pataca
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    "Os teus si que son ollos, non os das patacas" means, as you say, "Yours really are eyes, and not those of potatoes". However, there is an explanation for that:
    In Spanish and in Galician: the "eyes" (ojos) of potatoes is also the word for those round rough spots formed on their surface, from which new plants are born -may I remind potatoes are roots, just in case. I guess you have seen those spots on potatoes and even the new plant growing out of them, even though you don't live in a rural area, when you have left a potato for some time in your kitchen cupboard.

  32. morraço proud
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    vouche facer un fillo viquingo! I'm going to got you pregnat with a viking baby!

  33. Bipilar
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    Dissapearing language? Undeveloped area? You need context, friend. Maybe it's an undeveloped area comparing to other parts of Spain, but we don't live in the caverns and Galician language is co-oficial in our land, so everybody studies and speaks it.
    The article is good, but it can be offensive for us. I don't think you intend any wrong, but you could certanly sound less pejorative with a region that maybe doesn't have so much industrial power but, because of that, is lucky to preserve so many forests and beautiful beaches. Those phrases are only used as a joke, mainly from construction workers.

  34. DAVID
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    Para o fem fatal. Ti non sabes que o artigo é en galego? Parbo do carallo!! A pedi-la independencia as cortes do noso estado español, e do teu!!

  35. Nina
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    "E logho ti, de quen ves sendo?" = "Which family do you belong to?" (not *"Who is your father?")
    They are not specifically asking about your father, but about any relative they may know: your parents, your grandparents, your aunt, your uncle, your cousins…

  36. Anonymous
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    I´m from Galicia, from the rural Galicia, and I must say i never ever heard anyone use this expressions with me or with any other girl, this article is less more than offensive and stereotiped. Those expressions are only meant as jockes that nobody uses, people in the rural Galicia as not as stupid as they want you to believe, i guess this article was writen with the help of someone Spanish speaker from any of the main cities, they may like to make fun of themselves, but some of us are offensed to see our people and culture injured like this.

  37. Mose Hayward
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    Translations updated. Thanks folks for all your comments.

  38. Iago
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    I'm galician, and I have to say I think it's funny, all these sentences are usual language of men from rural Galicia, they are common in conversations among men, just for laughing, after some drinks it's also common to say some of then to a woman, but once again it's just joking, no one hopes to flirt with these sentences!!

    BTW, some mistakes/misunderstandings with translations:
    – Nena, non teño pelos na lingua porque ti non queres. – I don't have hair in my tongue because you don't want
    – Se foses a miña nai, o meu pai ia ir durmir ao palleiro. – If you were my mother, my father would sleep in the barn.
    – E ló ti qué? – how you doing? (it's common for Spanish people to misunderstand the use of the word "ló / luego" made by a Galician, the Galician sentence "y luego?" can be translated in Spanish as "y eso?")

  39. Iago
    August 26, 2012
    Reply

    I'm galician, and I have to say I think it's funny, all these sentences are usual language of men from rural Galicia, they are common in conversations among men, just for laughing, after some drinks it's also common to say some of then to a woman, but once again it's just joking, no one hopes to flirt with these sentences!!

    BTW, some mistakes/misunderstandings with translations:
    – Nena, non teño pelos na lingua porque ti non queres. – I don't have hair in my tongue because you don't want
    – Se foses a miña nai, o meu pai ia ir durmir ao palleiro. – If you were my mother, my father would sleep in the barn.
    – E ló ti qué? – how you doing? (it's common for Spanish people to misunderstand the use of the word "ló / luego" made by a Galician, the Galician sentence "y luego?" can be translated in Spanish as "y eso?")

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We read the comments; useful additions and corrections are quite welcome, and articles are frequently updated based on comments from readers. • We do our best to delete ethnocentric, xenophobic, and other useless comments. • Offended? Think we've got your culture all wrong? Nationalism (or regionalism, patriotism, whatever) is an understandable reaction; it’s also boring. Disagree with something? Tell us what you think joking, flirting, drinking, sex, dancing and other debauchery in your culture is really like. If you don't like these things, or want to pretend that your culture doesn't have a unique take on them, you're really in the wrong place. • This site, like any cultural anthropology, deals in generalizations. Of course not each and every person does blah, blah, blah... • And finally, before you go thinking this is all about you, you may want to bounce around the site a bit and learn about the ridiculous ways we screw, drink, and dance in other parts of the world.
 

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