“I doubt that the evil spirits of the past, under which we in Europe have already suffered more than enough this century, have been banished for ever.”
“Ayayay!“, “Ouch!” “Aua!“… Europeans may have centuries of wars, self-destruction and a shared history of suffering behind them, they are still divided in the way they express their pain! Whenever this feeling is transcribed into words, they do not share the same reaction at all! Pain is not a sound in itself, but every language needed to put this feeling into words to define this distressing or unconfortable experience. It comes to the following list of interjections used all throughout Europe to express pain… Get ready to suffer in all languages!
Ayayay – ay
Spaniards are known for being quite vocal. They will tend to show their suffering with the (very) long interjection “Ayayay“. But if pain can’t wait, they will rather opt for a shorter (but nevertheless efficient) “Ay”.
Ái – ói
There are a couple of (weird) creatures in Iceland, but probably no crocodile. In case: if you get hurt, just go with an “ái” or an “ói” to get understood. How convenient? The same goes if something happens to you in… Lithuania!
Welcome to Celtic Ireland and its weird traditions! Here you’ll be expected to express your suffering with a celtic “aigh” – the English “ouch” is also applicable, but well, don’t avoid annoying Irishmen with British manners…
In the Land of the Midnight Sun, Norwegians don’t have time to be expressive. They simply use the effective and effortless “au” to communicate their pain. Everything is down to the tone in which they pronounce it!
Ai – aija – au
In the country of Santa Claus, you are not expected to experience pain. But if you happen to fall from Santa’s sledge, you can express your sorrow in three different ways!
Au – ai – auw
We all know that Dutch language is neither simple to learn, nor easy to pronounce. But when it comes to express your suffering, you don’t need to master Vondel’s language to shout “Au!“, “ai!” or “auw!“.
Aua – autsch – auweh
From Frankfurt to Berlin, Hambourg to Munich, you will often hear the German scream “aua!” and sometimes its equivalent versions “autsch!” and “auweh!”. Easy to remember, they are also much shorter than the German longest word…
Ahi – hui – ahia
Our Italian friends have the reputation to be bad drivers. So before you hit the road (or something else) you better learn some basic Italian terms to express your pain: “ahi!“, “hui!” and “ahia!“. They may become handy some day…
Au – jau
Do not expect Czech people to hesitate long whenever they get hurt. They will shout a powerful “au!” or a vocal “jau!” to indicate how much they suffer. You may even hear it when they are confronted to their most disgusting dish…
Ata – auuu – auć
Ever heard about the legend of the Wawel dragon? If not, then it’s this way. Once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why it’s important for Poles to have words to express their pain…
Ai – oi
Estonians have these special swings called Kiiking where they need to pump back and forth until they get enough momentum to make a full 360-degree turn. It’s quite impressive… but whenever they fail: “ai!” and “oi!“…
Beware of bear traps in Belarus! We can insure you that if you happen to step in one, you’ll not only shout the most powerful “aj!” you ever shouted, but you’ll probably add in some swear words of your own.
Romania – Moldova
Auch – auč
What about going cycling in Slovenia? After all, the country sometimes called the Sunny Side of the Alps is full of green lands. Better get prepared: in case you fall of your bike, just scream “auch!” or “auč!” and you’ll already feel better.
Croatia – Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jao – joj
Sounds like something Santa Clause would say… But the Balkan countries rather use the interjections “jao!” and “joj!” for less pleasant situations. Like when one of their strange customs go wrong and turn into a nightmare…
Uf – уф
In North Macedonia, you may have to first learn a different alphabet before being able to express your pain in the local language… The Macedonian interjection for pain is actually quite different compared to the other European expressions.
Au – of – uf
With “au!”, “of!” and “uf!”, the Albanian interjection for pain sounds similar to a dog barking. And there might be a reason why! Ever walked on a piece of lego, or kicked your toe to a furniture? No? Try the, and let’s see if you don’t end up barking as well
Greece – Cyprus
Ah – ahh – of
And here we are. At the end of our journey.. You’re lucky, Turks tend to express their pain in quite simple terms. Of all these interjections, remember one thing: be careful, so that you’ll never have to use them!
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