What is soraismus?

Soraismus is mixing different languages (using words from a different language in one’s own) often incorrectly or without understanding the foreign word’s true meaning.

How to make soraismus?

Very simply, to make soraismus one has to know some foreign words. Then substitute these words into one’s native language.

Soraismus can be done by accident – not understanding the foreign language – or on purpose to make one’s language more interesting or humourous.

Examples of soraismus

“How are you today?”
“Comme ci, comme ca.”
(‘comme ci, comme ca’ is French for ‘so-so’ (literally: ‘like this, like that’))

“I love you, mon petit chou.”
(‘mon petit chou’ is a French term of endearment (literally: ‘my little cabbage’))

“We don’t know what to do. Can you help us? We need a little of your je ne sais quoi.”
(‘je ne sais quois’ is French for ‘I don’t know’. It is often used in English for special skills/knowledge that the speaker doesn’t have or understand)

“We have to hurry. Achtung, achtung!”
(a quite common misunderstanding of German: ‘achtung’ means ‘attention’, but having seen German officers in war movies many English speakers think it means ‘action’ (i.e. go fast). The German word for fast is actually ‘schnell’)

“We’ve just had a baby.”
“Mazel tov.”
(‘mazel tov’ is Hebrew for ‘good luck’. It is often mistakenly used in English to mean ‘congratulations’)

Soraismus for humour in foreign countries

It is quite common for people to mix/mess up languages when abroad.

“Can I have a glass of your finest pijiu?”
(an example from being in China = ‘Can I have a glass of beer?’)

“Can I have another beer desu ka?”
(a mess of Japanese: ‘desu ka’ is used to make a question in Japanese. ‘Can I…?’ is used to make a question in English. Therefore the question actually uses two questions in two different languages)

I drank too much vino. I have a bad guele de bois.
(Mixing of three languages: ‘vino’ is the Italian (and other Slavic languages) word for wine. ‘Guele de bois (literally: ‘wooden snout’) is the French for ‘hungover’)