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An Idiom a Day Keeps the Doctor Away



BARCELONA, SPAIN (21 July 2015) Language is a funny thing. It can be used to express an infinite
amount of emotions and situations. Some of the most interesting facets of language are idioms. An idiom is a
phrase or saying where the combination of words has a figurative meaning, and where the words together
have a meaning that is different than the actual definitions of the individual words. However interesting,
idioms can prove to be a challenge when learning any language. An English learner may get confused when
you tell them that your new shoes cost you an arm and a leg, just as a Spanish learner may be confused
when you call someone a chorizo (usually a type of sausage, but in this case a thief).

Although idioms sometimes prove to be tricky, every language has them, and once you get the hang of
them, you will find that sometimes languages have idioms in common, or have their own idioms to fill in the
gaps. For example, me suena a chino in Spanish, and cest du chinois in French are the equivalents to Its all
Greek to me in English, but these languages compare the anomaly to Chinese rather than to Greek what
do you think the Chinese say? Whats more, the Spanish phrase llamar al pan pan y al vino vino and its
French counterpart, appeler un chat un chat are both used to denote the English phrase, to call a spade a
spade.

In many languages, although the idioms may sound different, they actually carry over between languages.
For instance, in English, one could say that a friend has a heart of gold, while in French, it would be said
that your friend has a coeur dor, translated quite literally. Although the French and English versions are the
same, in Spanish, your friend would be un pedazo de pan, literally meaning a piece of bread.

While some of the languages have similar idioms, as you can see others simply use different pairings of
words, but most of the time the phrase itself carries the same meaning. For example, in Spanish one would
say, Ests como un flan, while in English one would say, Youre shaking like a leaf. Although the words in
the different idioms give a different image, a wobbly dessert versus a leaf blowing in the wind, both mean
the same thing to the speaker. Another example would be the phrase, to be the black sheep versus tre la
brebis galeuse in French which calls the sheep mangy instead of black. This is common with many idioms
across different languages. Interestingly enough, the way the idioms are presented has a lot to do with the
culture of the different countries. In Spain, many of their idioms and cultural expressions have to do with
food something that is obviously very important in the Spanish culture. For example, ser pan comido (to be
easy as pie) or tener mala leche (used when someone has a bad attitude or temper).

However confusing idioms may be, theyre inevitable. Whether you speak English, French, Spanish, or even
Chinese, we use them each and every day, which is sometimes what makes translation so tricky. There are
an infinite amount of idioms in every language, just waiting to surprise you. Here at BBLTranslation, we
believe thats one of the most beautiful things about language it never ceases to amaze.