Language Barrier

Businessman: She said there’s an area in Brooklyn where all they speak is Russian. You can go blocks without hearing English. They refuse to speak it.

–Midtown office

Man running by with dog to teenage girl: Woof!
Teenage girl to friend: He better have been talking to the dog.

–Central Park

Earnest toddler in stroller, pointing at gorilla: Nuula blujunbabalooo.
Babysitter: Seriously?
Earnest toddler: Yeah!

–Bronx Zoo

Overheard by: Olivia

Girl: Oh my god.
Guy: Can’t you just say OMG?

–The Whitney

Wannabe Jew: Shprehen ze Deutche?
Religious Jew: Huh?
Wannabe Jew: Isn’t that how you say “do you speak Yiddish?” in Yiddish?
Religious Jew: No.
(wannabe Jew looks around and walks away)

–Brooklyn Public Library

Saleslady: Hi, miss, can I help you?
Woman: No, that’s okay, I have my daughter with me.
Saleslady: Are you sure you dont need any help?
Woman: Yes, I am sure. My daughter is quite the fashionada. She gives me the best opinions.
Saleslady, to another saleslady: What’s a fashionada? New Yorkers have their own language or something.


Overheard by: ash sauer 

Law student to little girl with pink balloon dog: I really like your balloon! It’s so pretty!
Girl’s dad: What do you say?
Little girl: Woof woof!

–79th & 2nd

Professor: So what do we know about these debt notes?” (silence) So what do *I* know about these debt notes, that obviously you don’t know?

–NYU Law School

Overheard by: Ames

Professor: My favorite words to hear are “just do nothing.” My second favorites are “open bar.”

–College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx

Environmental history professor: Look at some of the items on this menu from a hotel of Chicago Thanksgiving dinner from 1872: loin of buffalo, antelope steak in mushroom sauce, ham of bear, black tail deer, leg of mountain sheep, buffalo tongue… Miss Palin, your table is ready.

–Classroom, Fordham University

Overheard by: Martin Van Nostrand

Linguistics professor, about Spanish‐speaking families who live in Spanish‐speaking neighborhoods: The only English these people hear is from their landlords and social workers.

–NYU Silver Center

Overheard by: Latka Hero

NYU professor: So we’re going to be walking, and you’ll notice I walk pretty fast. But we’re in New York, and you’re supposed to walk like you know exactly where you’re going in life and nothing is in your way. Because if you slow down you’ll get mugged. (beat) It’s dog eat dog, people.

–NYU Classroom

Russian literature professor: Oh my god, you just totally missed the point of Jesus!

–NYU Classroom

Dad: Do you guys want Turkish food for dinner?
Teen girl: Yeah, I’m down.
Dad: …Is that good…or bad?

–83rd & Columbus

Overheard by: Sydney 

White guy: Yo, what up my nigga?
Black guy: Chillin’, bro.
White chick #1: Did you hear what he just said?
White chick #2: Yeah, but it’s OK, he said nigga, not nigger.

–Sullivan Street

Overheard by: Uncle Ray Ray