In English, when someone says something incomprehensible, one can say they "spoke Greek". In Italian, the equivalente is "parlare Arabo" (lit. speak Arabic). What about Chinese? Is there a similar idiom?

  • answer in online dictionaries: e.g. see jukuu for "Greek to me" (10 pertinent samples), look up "Greek" in ichacha, , get transl. for "that's all Greek to me"
    – user6065
    Sep 9, 2017 at 12:45
  • "speaking Greek" an idiom? Webster's dictionary only has: Greek: 2c often not capitalized [translation of Latin Graecum (in the medieval phrase Graecum est; non potest legi It is Greek; it cannot be read)] : something unintelligible it's Greek to me (for transl. see comment #1)
    – user6065
    Sep 9, 2017 at 14:41
  • (see comment #1)"what he says is all Greek to me": "他所说的对我来说一窍不通",
    – user6065
    Sep 9, 2017 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


说天书/听天书 would be proper one in my opinion.

It means one talks about the book from the heaven and no one would actually understand it.

For example, 他讲的话, 我就像听天书一样。 我听物理课像听天书。 他在说天书。


说人话 (Shuō rénhuà | Speak people's language (not animals' language)!)

A: 我去年...然后, 昨天...翠花, 那个...

B: 说人话!

A: 我跟翠花分手了.

说什么鸟语 (Shuō shénme niǎoyǔ | Spoke some kind of bird's language)

A: 下午...然后, 她...翠花, 你...

B: 你说什么鸟语呢!

A: 翠花喜欢的是你.

舌头捋直了再说话 (Shétou lǚzhíle zài shuōhuà | Stroke your tongue straight first, then speak)

A: 你把舌头捋直了再说, 你说翠花喜欢我?

B: 没错 气死我了.

天上一脚, 地上一脚 (Tiān shàng yī jiào, dì shàng yī jiào | One foot in heaven, one foot on earth) equals to 前言不搭后语 (Qián yán bù dā hòu yǔ | The words before don't line up with the words after, i.e. there is no logic to what is being said)

A: 然后, 你知道, 我...

B: 你这天上一脚, 地上一脚(你说的前言不搭后语的), 你到底想说什么?

A: 其实我不喜欢翠花, 我喜欢你.

  • So numbers 1 and 3 would be exhortation to not speak Greek, whereas the others describe someone who is speaking Greek, right?
    – MickG
    Sep 9, 2017 at 12:54
  • @MickG Yeah. The first 3 are rude, but they are WAY frequently used phrases especially in closed friends, .
    – sfy
    Sep 9, 2017 at 15:00

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