Interesting phrases from around the world
Google translate and a plethora of other language apps have revolutionised the way we communicate while we travel – yet language is a funny thing and technology can’t always help.
We asked you to tell us your local phrases, expressions of sentiment, weird sayings and favourite foreign idioms to show us just how wonderful language and cultural diversity can be.
Impress next time you are away with these little turns of phrase!
wie eine Made im Speck leben
In German you can say “to live like a maggot in bacon” instead of “to live a life of luxury.” This has become a completely natural phrase in the German language, but it paints a strange picture when you think about it. Anonymous, Germany
A wee cup of coffee.
“My Glasgow accent has greatly softened, but I do refer still to things being ‘wee’, instead of little or small. Graeme Taylor, USA/ Scotland
An expression to express something cool or to you like something, we use it in Mexico the same way some say “those shoes are cool” or “that hostel is great” Sofia Garcia Torrentera, Mexico
Bless your heart!
In Southern USA, (not meant as a compliment, depending on context.) David Matheny, USA
Z is pronounced like J in French – it means cheers! Milena Zivkovic, Serbia
What’s the craic?
Used in Ireland, meaning ‘what’s up?’ or ‘what’s the news?” Melanie Lane, Ireland
Me clavó el visto
A new phrase that came up after the “seen” feature on Whatsapp and Facebook messages. It’s when someone sees the message but doesn’t reply, in Argentina. Candela Glikin, Argentina
Ne pas être sorti de l’auberge
A relevant one for us, this French phrase literally translates as ‘to not be out of the hostel’, but is a commonly used saying for facing a complicated problem. Cécile, France
Päästää sammakko suusta
The Finnish say ‘letting a frog out of your mouth’ is synonymous with saying the wrong thing, along with many other nature inspired sayings. Anonymous, Finland
Raining cats and dogs
There are many explanations surrounding this strange British saying for heavy rain: cats and dogs cuddling into thatch roofs and falling out, myths of wolves representing the wind and black witches’ cats as signs of a downpour, a derivative of the old English word catadupe meaning waterfall – but the true origins remain a mystery. Anonymous, UK
Pelillos a la mar
An unusual Spanish turn of phrase translating to “little hairs to sea”, often used to cool down a heated discussion which seems to have no resolution. Brianda & Maria, Spain