How to say “Happy Thanksgiving” in 10 different languages

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated mainly in the USA and Canada to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest.

It possibly dates back to 1565, though the first Thanksgiving meal is generally thought to have taken place in 1621 in the Plymouth colony between the colonists and the Wampanoag tribe. It became a symbol of cooperation and interaction between colonists and Native Americans.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the USA in 1941 and is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November (November 26th in 2015), while in Canada it falls on the second Monday of October. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in other countries, except by expatriate Americans and Canadians. Thanksgiving celebrations involve a large family meal which traditionally includes turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, and also big parades.

‘Happy Thanksgiving’ in other languages:

French-speaking people in North America might wish one another ‘Bonne Action de grâce’ or ‘Joyeux Thanksgiving’. The Canadian French version of Thanksgiving Day is ‘Jour de l’Action de grâce’, and in France it is known as ‘le Jour de Merci Donnant’.

– In Spanish Thanksgiving Day is known as ‘el Día de Acción de Gracias’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!’. The festival is also known as ‘Día del Pavo’ (Turkey Day) by Spanish speakers from Latin America living in the USA.

– The Portuguese equivalent for Thanksgiving Day is ‘O Dia de Acção de Graças’, and for Happy Thanksgiving, ‘Feliz (dia de) acção de graças’.

– The German version of Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Herzliche Danksagung’ or ‘Fröhliche Danksagung’ and the day itself is ‘Danksagung’.

– In Danish Thanksgiving Day is ‘Helligdag’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Glædelig Helligdag’.

– In Dutch Thanksgiving Day is ‘Gedenkdagen’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Vrolijke gedenkdagen’.

– In Swedish Thanksgiving Day is ‘Helgdag’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘God Helgdag’.

– In Polish Thanksgiving Day is ‘Dzień Dziękczynienia’ or ‘Święto Dziękczynienia’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Święto dziękczynienia’ or ‘Wszystkiego najlepszego z ozkazji Święta Dziękczynienia’.

– In Mandarin Chinese Thanksgiving Day is 感恩節日 [感恩节日] (gănēnjiérì) and Happy Thanksgiving is 感恩節快樂 [感恩节快乐] (gănēnjié kuàilè).

– In Japanese Thanksgiving day is 感謝祭 (kanshasai) and Happy Thanksgiving is感謝祭おめでとう (kanshasai omedetō) or ハッピー感謝祭 (happī kanshasai).

 Cactus helps over 10,000 people to learn over 3o languages in over 200 destinations each year.

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Tennis fever: Top French tennis phrases

With Wimbledon upon us, it’s time to pick up more than your racquet…here are our top tennis expressions in French and English!

With tennis season in full swing – the French Open recently finished and Wimbledon finally here – it is customary for local tennis courts to become full as wannabe Federers dust off their racquets and tennis fever sets in.

This year why not impress your friends with more than your passing shot? Here we bring you essential tennis vocabulary and expressions in French, for use on or off court and preferably with a bowl of strawberries (fraises) and cream (crème) to enjoy afterwards.

Top 10 French Tennis Vocabulary:

Backhand Revers
Forehand Coup droit
Serve Service
Smash Smash
Game, set, match! Jeu, set et match!
Umpire Arbitre
Ballboy Ramasseur / ramasseuse de balles
Out! Out!
Foot fault Faute de pied
Tramline Couloir

Top 10 French Tennis Expressions:

Great shot! Joli coup!
You cannot be serious…that shot was in! Vous n’êtes pas sérieux… la balle était bonne!
Can I have another ball please? Je peux avoir une autre balle s’il-vous-plait?
I saw the chalk flying! C’était pleine ligne! (J’ai vu la craie voler)
Somebody’s mobile has gone off in the crowd Un téléphone portable a sonné dans le public
It’s another ace! C’est un autre service gagnant / ace!
He’s broken his serve! Il a fait le break!
That’s a killer drop shot C’est un amorti gagnant (qui tue)
The rain covers are coming out…play is suspended Les bâches imperméables sont sorties…le match est suspendu
It’s gone to a tie-break…there’s nothing between them! Ca va être un jeu décisif / tie-break…un rien les sépare!

Wimbledon takes place from 29th June – 12th July 2015. Cactus runs foreign language evening courses in Wimbledon and in other locations across London and the UK

English courses in London are also available throughout the year.

Tour de France: Essential cycling vocabulary this July

Shift your language up a gear with our French cycling vocabulary for this year’s Tour de France

Kicking off on 4th July 2015, top cyclists and cycling enthusiasts from all over the world will congregate on French soil for 21 days of gruelling, thigh-burning action that will cover over 3,500 km of mountains, valleys, remote countryside and busy cities. Although the course route changes each year, the race always finishes in Paris, with riders cruising to the finishing line, cheered on by thousands of supporters, along the famous Champs-Elysées.

It’s hard not to get into the spirit of things – even if you’re not a huge cycling fan – if you happen to be in a part of France where the race passes through. For the French the Tour can be an excuse for a great party, and the sense of anticipation is contagious. Families set up picnic tables at the side of the road to wine and dine, the adults sipping wine patiently in the shade whilst the children play around them, waiting for the riders to pass through. When the drone of the helicopter finally announces the arrival of the front riders, everyone jumps to their feet and prepares to applaud the multi-coloured lycra-clad bodies flying past – a true spectacle in itself, to say nothing of the countless publicity vans, police bikes, camera bikes and support cars that follow. You can support the race anywhere along the way by checking out the Tour map online.

Whether you’re watching the race live in France or on television at home – or even planning a cycling holiday yourself to France – you’ll impress your friends by picking up a few cycling terms to shout out at opportune moments.

Here’s our list of essential Tour de France vocabulary:

Le cyclisme Cycling
Un cycliste Cyclist
Un domestique Support rider
Un échappé Breakaway rider
Le peloton Pack / bunch of riders
La tête de course Leader of the race
Une équipe Team
Une étape Stage / leg of the race
Contre la montre Time trial
Le parcours Route
La course Race
Une montée Uphill slope
Une descente Downhill slope
Changer de vitesse Change gear
Ralentir Slow down
Dépasser Overtake
Un vélo de course Racing bike
Un vélo tout terrain Mountain bike
Une crevaison Puncture
Un bidon Water bottle
Un casque Helmet
Le maillot jaune Yellow jersey (worn by the overall leader)

Get up close to the action by taking a language course in France this July! Cactus runs French language courses in 15 locations across France, including Paris and other locations near to the Tour route.

If you can’t make it to France this year, why not learn the language closer to home? Cactus also runs French evening courses in London, Brighton, Manchester and other major UK locations.

How to say ‘Happy Christmas’ in 20 languages

Wherever you’ll be celebrating Christmas this year, spread the cheer by learning how to wish even more people ‘Happy Christmas’!

Catalan Bon Nadal
Croatian Sretan Božić
Czech Veselé Vánoce
Dutch Prettige Kerstdagen
Finnish Hyvää Joulua
French Joyeux Noël
German Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek Kala Christougena
Hungarian Boldog Karácsonyt
Icelandic Gleðileg jól
Italian Buon Natale
Norwegian God Jul
Polish Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Portuguese Feliz Natal
Romanian Crăciun Fericit
Russian С наступающим Новым Годом (S nastupayuščim Novym Godom)
Spanish Feliz Navidad
Swedish God Jul
Turkish İyi Noeller
Welsh Nadolig Llawen

Another great way to say ‘Happy Christmas’ is to surprise your loved one with a Cactus gift voucher for use towards a language course of their choice.

Just click on the link to order online quickly and easily, with no worries about it being delivered in time for Christmas as it will be sent by email straight to your Inbox! Alternatively, please call one of our language course advisers on 0845 1304775 for more information or to purchase a voucher.

10 best chat-up lines in Spanish

Don’t let the language barrier stop you from chatting up the man or woman of your dreams!

Read on and you’ll have the confidence to walk right up and deliver a killer line, just when you need it…

1. ¿Crees en el amor a primera vista, o tengo que cruzarme contigo otra vez?

Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk past you again?

2. “Perdóname, pero he perdido mi número de teléfono. ¿Me puedes dar el tuyo?”

I’m sorry, but I’ve lost my phone number. Could you give me yours?

3. “Hola, soy tu hombre perfecto. Alguien ha dicho que me estabas buscando.”

Hello, I’m your perfect man. Somebody said you were looking for me.


4. “Hola, soy un ladrón, y estoy aquí para robar tu corazón.”

Hello, I am a thief, and I’m here to steal your heart.

5. “Debo estar muerto ya que estoy viendo un ángel.”

I must be dead because I’m looking at an angel.

Latino Dancers. Painting of Merenge or Salsa Dancing Couple

6. Esta es una canción excelente. ¿Quieres bailar conmigo?

This is a great song. Would you like to dance with me?

7. ¡Ay que curvas! – ¡y yo sin frenos!

Look at those curves – and I don’t have brakes!

8. Tu papá debe ser pirata, porque tú eres un tesoro.

Your father must be a pirate, because you are a treasure.

9. “¿Cómo te sientes al ser la más bella muchacha en esta sala?”

How does it feel to be the most beautiful girl in the room?

couple and bar sign

10. “¿Puedo comprarte una bebida?”

Can I buy you a drink?

Language note: These chat-up lines are mostly aimed at men chatting up women, but can easily be modified if you are female. Equally they are in the informal ‘tu’ form, but can be modified into the more informal ‘usted’ form.


How to say Happy Easter in 10 languages

French Joyeuses Pâques
German Frohe Ostern
Italian Buona Pasqua
Spanish ¡Felices Pascuas!
Dutch Vrolijk Pasen
Polish Szczęśliwej Wielkanocy!
Danish God påske
Portuguese Feliz Páscoa
Catalan Bona Pasqua
Romanian Paşte Fericit

Cactus Language offers a range of language courses in the UK, the US and worldwide!

20 essential holiday phrases in Portuguese

Hello Olá
Goodbye Adeus
Please Por favor
Thank you Obrigado
Yes Sim
No Não
Excuse me/sorry Desculpe / perdão
My name is… O meu nome é…
What is your name? Qual é o seu nome?
Nice to meet you Prazer em conhecelo
Where do you come from? De onde você vem?
I come from Great Britain/America Eu sou de Grã Bretanha / América
How are you? Como vai? / Com vai você?
Where is…? Onde está…?
I would like (2 bottles of water) Eu gostaria de duas garrafas de água
How much is that? Quanto é isso?
How do I get to…? Como eu chego à…?
I don’t understand Eu não entendo
I’m sorry, I don’t speak Portuguese Eu sinto muito, eu não falo português
Do you speak English? Você fala o inglês?

Cactus Language offers a variety of Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese language courses in the UK, US, Portugal & Brazil.

Our favourite French words & expressions

As much fun as learning a language can be, it can also be really frustrating. Throughout my seven years of learning French at school, I must admit I had more than one of those moments where I wanted to hit the roof… although that may have been due to my French teachers.

Although I disliked French lessons and homework at school, I have to confess that I do actually really like the language. Not only because it’s supposedly the language of love and because it sounds lovely, but also because it’s incredibly funny. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples:


One of the great things about the French language is that words can look very exciting, thus tricking you into thinking they are referring to something exceptional and spectacular.

Funiculaire unfortunately only refers to a cable car, which is not that exciting at all.

quatre-vingt-dix-neuf = ninety nine

To this day I have always struggled with the way the French count. Literally translated quatre-ving-dix-neuf means 4 times 20 + 10 + 9. So if you are bad at maths, don’t even try counting in French!

Oeuf [œf]

Step 1: Take something as simple as an egg, add an incredibly strange spelling and an even funnier pronunciation and you get oeuf.


Step 2: Take the word for egg, add a “b” and trick people into thinking the two things are related.

I’m sparing you the possible embarrassment on your next trip to France by telling you that there is no actual connection between oeuf and boeuf (=beef).


Despite its spectacular spelling – which I always got wrong in school  – ennuyex has a rather boring meaning – which is boring. (That’s the actual translation!).

Doigts des pied

Apparently there are no French words for toes but because there are moments in everyone’s life where it’s inevitable you will talk about them (e.g. whilst getting a pedicure or after breaking one of them and explaining to the doctor where it hurts) the French invented this very cute expression that literally translated means “Feet fingers”.

Talkie-Walkie instead of Walkie-Talkie

I tried to find a logical explanation for this. Then I realized: there isn’t one. So I came up with two possible reasons: a) this was originally a typing error which found its way into everyday-French b) it is just the French trying to be different.

Lunettes & Verre

I already stated that there are no French words for toes but that doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of words in the French language. Did you know that the French differentiate between glasses as in eyeglasses (lunettes) and glasses as in glasses of water (verre)? No? Well, now you know.

Parler le francais comme une vache espagnole

I’m not really sure why the French dislike the Spanish but literally translated this sentence means: speaking French like a Spanish cow. It is used when someone hardly speaks any French… or has a Spanish accent?