The idiom "It's all Greek to me" means that something is not understandable. Different languages have different variants of this. How would I express this in Esperanto?

2 Answers 2


From here (but I’ve also heard it explained from people somewhere, maybe Evildea, if I’m not mistaken):

Ĝi estas por mi volapukaĵo.

Which comes from the other constructed language Volapuk which is regarded as “too hard” and therefore this meaning in Esperanto.

  • 2
    I'm not convinced "Volapukaĵo" means Volapukaĵo because the language is "too hard". I think it is more related to the strangeness of the words.
    – Vanege
    Aug 28, 2016 at 10:35
  • 1
    I think @Vanege is right, it's more about how different it is (same as Greek is different to English) but it is the right answer. Aug 28, 2016 at 11:38
  • You are probably both right. Still, why would a language be considered “hard” if not because it is very different (in whatever aspect) from the native language of the learner? Aug 28, 2016 at 12:13
  • @LyubomirVasilev A language may be hard because it is contrived or complex. For example, French may be hard to learn for a native Portugese even though the vocabulary of French and Portugese are very similar, because it has many irregular verbs and its conjugation system has many different cases. Aug 28, 2016 at 19:07

"Ĝi estas por mi volapukaĵo."

Is a great way of expressing this. "It's all Greek to me." means that something is not understandable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_to_me

Historically, Esperanto and Volapük have an intertwined history, Volapük was the first international language with a somewhat big following.

Volapük has logical grammar but the words are changed from their English and German roots in a haphazard way that actually make them not understandable. World -> "vol", "speak" -> "pük", "Diplom" -> "plom", "Problem" -> "blem", "Kompliment" -> "plim". (as written in Die Zamenhofstraße by Roman Dobrzynski, p. 178)

What does "löfob oli, o lanan obik mean? The language isn't meant to be readily deciphered by someone unfamiliar with it. In contrast to Esperanto: "mi amas vin, mia anĝelo" is easy to understand because of the cognates in the words. Volapük is based on (roughly) the same languages that Esperanto is based on.

It could be easy and understandable but it isn't! Volapük is all Greek to me. Urso mangxas

  • the picture link broke... :-/
    – kristan
    Oct 19, 2016 at 7:36

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