Language Barrier

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

[Patrol car flashing lights at curb. Small group of high-schoolers corralled against wall]Police officer: So what happened –what did you see?
Sharp teen: No hablo inglés.
Officer, in perfect Spanish: Entonces, que pasó? Qué viste?
Smart teen: No hablo español!

–85th & Amsterdam

Overheard by: Christopher Stone

Man in paper hat, leather jacket covered in soda can tabs, and poofy skirt over jeans: She comes in and she comes home and breaks my heart, and the worst part is that I don’t understand her language. I’m better off with… [Steps back to peer at magazine a girl is reading] I’m better off with that one. What’s her name? Turn the page back one. Yeah, her. Tyra? Tyra. I’m better off with Tyra.

–Union Square

Overheard by: Brownsvillegirl

African pedestrian, checking out hot Asian girl: Hello.
Hot Asian girl, listening to iPod: Hi. (looks at pedestrian quizzically)
African pedestrian: Konichiwa. (smiles creepily at her)
Hot Asian girl: No inglés. (looks back at her iPod)

–Penn Station

Overheard by: ABC

Hobo: Can I get some change?
Drunk guy: I’m sorry, I don’t smoke crack. I can’t understand you.

–84th & Amsterdam

Hipster girl to friends: Oh my god, how lol are we right now?
Friend: Oh my god, so lol!

–20th & 8th, New School Dorm

Drunk guy on subway, trying to whisper: Um…for future reference, don't use that French accent next time we fuck.
Loud drunk girl, breaking into hysterical laughter: Ha! And then you're going to tell me not to fart on your balls!

–B Train

Overheard by: Glad I missed that party

Kid: But what if they don’t know what I’m saying?
Mom: Don’t worry. In Canada they speak English.
Kid, crying: But I don’t speak English! I speak American!

–Central Park

Train conductor: (mumbling)
British suit: So you understood what he just said?
New Yorker: Of course.
British suit: Well, what did he say?
New Yorker: He said, “Shut the fuck up, you fucking foreigner, you're on a train and you'll be home soon.”

–1 Train

Overheard by: KeivonK

White guy to girl: You know both these guys are Muslim, so don’t piss them off. Muslims don’t care if they die because then they’ll get 72 virgins.
Muslim #1: It’s not 72 virgins, it’s 45 virgins.
Muslim #2: I thought it was 40 virgins.
White guy: But a Muslim person told me that it was 72 virgins.
Muslim #1: What are you gonna do with 72 virgins, man?
White guy: The same thing you’re gonna do with 45 virgins, but I would get tired of telling them what to do.

–MetroTech, Lawrence St

Overheard by: Jannine Ramlochan