Say Cheese.

Say “cheese.”

Go to another country and they might know what you’re talking about, if you’re lucky. Obviously what you are trying to do is take a picture and need everyone to smile.

Apparently many cultures have different sayings to get their photo subjects to flash those pearly whites. In France, saying ‘cheese’ is acceptable enough that people will know what you are referring to, so it’s not a big issue there. But upon further questioning, many French children also use the word ouistiti, which means ‘marmoset’ (below.) My high school French teacher explained it simply, “It’s a kid thing.”

Fair enough. But that is a similar theme in America. I would bet a couple bucks that most of you aren’t waiting for your friend to snap a picture while yelling cheese. Here, it’s mostly a ‘kid thing’ too. It seems to have dissolved the older we got, not that I’m complaining. I hated it when I was little.

Now according to the wonderful world of the Internet, the Chinese say qie zi (which means eggplant), the Spanish say patatta (potato), Mexicans say ‘whisky,’ Iranians say sib (apple), Greeks with pes tiri (translates to say cheese), Germans say Käse (cheese), Korea has kimchi (a common food that is eaten there), and the Japanese sayチーズ (chii-zu which sounds like cheese.)

It is interesting to see all the different ways that people take pictures. I wonder why most of these words/phrases are foods.

Well at least now if you travel to one of these countries, you won’t look like a total fool saying cheese in front of a camera. You’ll just look like a fool in general.


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4 Responses to Say Cheese.

  1. vivianwu says:

    I liked the humor you added to this piece, it made your piece much more engaging for the reader and it set the tone for it as well. The way you included different ways people say “cheese” in other languages was great as well, I liked how you did more research into it to make your piece more informative.

  2. John Scanlon says:

    As a child, there was nothing more than I hated than someone yelling at me “cheese” when snapping a picture. I agree with you that it is childish part of our culture, but it is still has its influence in our American culture. I like the fact that you did your research and learned the various ways of saying cheese in another language. When I go study abroad in the next year or two, I’ll be sure to give everyone a good laugh by butchering their dialect and making them smile without exclaiming “cheese!”

  3. tejjybear says:

    I like the way you took such a simple concept and related it to a worldwide phenomena. The internet has really expanded cultural boundaries and integrated areas. This is the beauty of the modern world. The way you gave examples of what other nationalities say is very good, as it provides perspective. “Say Cheese” is common concept, and the world has adapted it to make it fit in their own ways.

  4. Rishi Ajmera says:

    This piece was really interesting because no one really questions that aspect of taking pictures. I really enjoyed how you compared it to cultures around the world as well. I was just curious as to how you came across noticing this and what reminded you about it for this piece? Great job of including phrases from other cultures!

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