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"butterfly" in different languages

Write "butterfly" in as many languages as you can.

For some reason I really like this creature. People tend to give it pretty names, and it often carries a poetic meaning, like "summer-bird", or even "butter-fly" :)

List the language, transliteration (if appliable), and the meaning (")

  • eng: butterfly
  • norsk/dansk: sommerfugl (summer-bird) <3
  • pt: borboleta
  • it: farfalla
  • ñ: mariposa
  • fr: papillon
  • ctl: papallona
May 19, 2017



I can't hear the word schmetterling without thinking about this video on Youtube =) Anyway, a short addition for your list:

  • nl: vlinder


I've always thought that video was unfair, "Schmetterling" is a beautiful word when pronounced normally (the same goes for all the other German words in that video). Also, its etymology is pretty cool.

Schmetterling: from Schmetten (“cream”), due to an old belief that witches transformed themselves into butterflies to steal cream and other milk products.

  • 114

I've always thought that video was unfair, "Schmetterling" is a beautiful word when pronounced normally (the same goes for all the other German words in that video).

Nicely demonstrated in this riposte video.



Haha didn't know that one, thanks! I'm still in denial though =p


Wow! This is beautiful.


Haha, you're absolutely right there! =) But as a citizen from a neighbouring country you have to make jokes about German(s), as they do about us hehe... many people here like to joke German is a nice language to yell in haha =)


Haha, I see! I think German got that reputation because of all its hard sounds, and mostly the "ch" sound, but ö and ü for example are really nice to hear :)

Have you ever seen this scene from Scrubs? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juoGcpMPpvg


Lol... well that video nicely illustrates both the "sweet" and the "harsh" pronunciations =)


When my art teacher is angry, he yells at us in German... He yells a lot, so I get to have some listening practice :-/


Well maybe it's a bit less nice if you're at the receiving end of the yelling =p (In any language for that matter ;)) At the least it's an opportunity to learn some words Duo doesn't teach I guess =)

[deactivated user]

    We do it for every country in every part of the world xDDD. We like to add to our verbs/nouns the root -en like comprarEN (to buy), pescarEN (to fish) to sounds like a german xDDD. I love it just because is different from my native tongue, it may sound "funny" or "rude" but i like probably because of these reasons, it is different xDDD.


    I laugh every time i see this video (and look what there is inside, the word, butterly ahahahaha).


    LOL that's the same video Jersebas posted in his first comment

    [deactivated user]

      What the xD? I didn't see it....geez i guess i need a new pair of glasses xD. About the other question (in the other post doesn't let me reply) chinese is surely easier for the grammar ( for what i've heard, i tried some lessons time ago so i can't tell you much) but surely the oral part is one of the most difficult thing.Sure, it is a tonal language, but it has 4 tones with a different kind of intonation that can be frustrating if you are not get used at speaking the language.Here is an example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_(linguistics)

      that "ma" can mean different things depending of the tone you are using (scroll down the page to see the meanings) so you must be careful every time you try to same something or you will be misunderstood easily. I don't say that's impossible but....it's really hard, but as you said maybe with a lot of practice is really possible.

      [deactivated user]

        蝶々/ chouchou in japanese, the only term that i know and is not in your list.


        That sounds interesting, what does it literally mean?

        [deactivated user]

          If we have to split the kanji you see literally the bug, insect-虫 plus the generation, the world-世 and under the tree-木 while this one-々 is the repetition of the first kanji, it is used to avoid the repetition of the same kanji.

          Funny because the second kanji because is similar to leaf 葉 where the first kanji above means grass/flower....and somehow i still confusing it especially when i don't read/study a single book in japanese since...months.


          Oh wow, I had no idea kanjis could be so interesting! So... chouchou means... "insect which originates under a tree"?

          [deactivated user]

            Probably :D. Kanji can be a pain in the neck ( because you have to learn at least 2200 kanji to read most of the stuff in japanese and if you don't have a good memory you are screwed xD) but at the same time they are fascinating, somehow they remind me german where the join of more nouns let to create another noun like:

            地下鉄 , chikatetsu, underground, where the first kanji means "soil, earth", the second one "under" while the last one emans "iron". Of course if we watch entily the kanji it can be really hard to remember it, but if we split it, it is not impossible to learn the meaning of each kanji.

            靴下 ,kutsushita where it means leather plus under so....shoe/s!

            It is a bit hard to explain but sometimes we cannot split it it too much because the meaning can be even confusing and totally different, so we need to learn it like an unique thing (like the first kanji of underground, there is the "cross 士" of the earth, but the other kanji beside 也 is a radical that means "scorpion", while the last one divided in two that means "gold 金" and the other one means "矢 arrow" (wtf? xD).

            If you are interested i learned this cool stuff in a book called remembering the kanji: https://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Kanji-Complete-Japanese-Characters/dp/0824835921/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0/142-8400726-0819924?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=XCBSRPWR5VPGHFX51W4X

            (psst, you can take a look on a pdf version on the web :P).I used only the first one then i used some memrise courses to learn all the vocab necessary to read at least some children stories. But i have to warn you, japanese have two, three more ways to read a single kanji (that's why the pain of the neck xD) that's why it is difficult ( actually i have never learned every possible way of reading a single kanji, i only have learned the single word ignoring them) like another example with 下:

            下手 heta, which it means, useless or not skilled in something (like in a sport), composed by under and the hand 手.If i associate words with the same kanji, probably i will learn automatically their reading (which is probably "te" in the first word, "ta" in the second one and "he" in the last one...probably i wrong, but sincerely i don't care much because at the end it is important to write/say the entirely word, not only a piece. If you have not patience, you can also try with chinese (which has fortunately one way and rarely 2 ways of reading a kanji) but the cons is that the oral part is almost impossible to emulate...try to listen some chinese audios on youtube and you'll probably start to runaway because it is impossible xDDD.I see that you are starting to study spanish and portuguese... which is a good thing because japanese has almost the same phonetic (and probably this is one of the many reasons that many start to study japanese, because it is easy to pronounce).


            I've heard that Chinese is much easier than Japanese, and I think tones can be quite fun. When you think about it, all languages have tones, it's just that in Chinese they're much more important :D Why do you think it's impossible to learn? Isn't it just a matter of practice...?


            Mapudungun: llampüdken, llamkellamke

            I'll add alleged etymology for Spanish word "mariposa". It is said it comes from "Mari, posa" (Mary, touch down), for an old child game/song.


            Ooh! Mari pousa... that makes sense.


            Fjäril - Swedish


            the Welsh is a lovely word too, pilipala


            motyl in polish

            nabi in korean


            Hungarian: "pillangó". We use this word for the colorful ones, but the order's name (latin:Lepidoptera) in hungarian is "lepke".


            aze: kəpənək
            rus: бабочка [babochka]
            tur: kelebek


            Hebrew: פַּרְפַּר (parpar)




            I'm getting an empty (white) page?!?


            That's unusual. I tried it in Firefox, Chrome, and IE so it probably isn't a browser problem.


            I tried both Safari and Chrome, neither did work... Also the main domain also results in a white page for me... strange... does somebody else have this problem as well or is it just my computer?


            Thanks, that one works for me


            Can you get another link?


            Vietnamese: Bướm :)


            Polish: motyl


            In Arabic, butterfly is farasheh or فراشة (I think)


            In Chinese the word "butterfly" is ”蝴蝶“

            [deactivated user]

              Dutch: Vlinder

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