Read a German version of this text. On 12 September 1990, about ten months after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the foreign ministers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) met with their French, American, British, and Soviet counterparts in Moscow to sign the so-called Two-Plus-Four Treaty. This paved […]
Ever found yourself trying to describe that tingling sensation when a song or work of art is deeply moving? There’s a word for that in Spanish. That sense of annoyance when you walk away from an argument and immediately realize the perfect retort? There’s one for that too, in French! We’ve put together a few […]
English is a language rich with weather idioms – right as rain, every cloud has a silver lining, and many others – but other languages obviously have their own special takes on phrases and proverbs relating to the weather. In this post, we take a look at idioms in other languages that deal with the sun, snow, sea, and sky.
While Caroline James has already challenged the belief that there’s anything like an untranslatable word, we nonetheless felt inspired to explore the lexicon of foreign languages in search of interesting words that don’t have an exact equivalent in English. Such an endeavour can often yield amusing results, but also give insight into the peculiarities of […]
We recently took a look at idioms from around the world that use rain as a metaphor; today we turn our attention to those from German, Chinese, Russian, and more, that use winds and storms to get their point across. 1. In den Wind schreiben Language: German Translation: To write in the wind What does it […]
A few months ago I took part in a discussion of Kafka on Melvyn Bragg’s radio programme In Our Time. One of the other participants asserted that Kafka’s style describes horrific events in the emotionally deadpan tone of a bureaucrat report. This struck me immediately as wrong in lots of ways. I didn’t disagree, because […]
Have you ever noticed that many of our swear words (or curse words in American English) sound very much like German ones and not at all like French ones? From vulgar words for body parts (a German Arsch is easy to identify, but not so the French cul), to scatological and sexual verbs (doubtless you can spot […]
There are plenty of idioms in English that mention the weather – it is, after all, a British stereotype that we can’t hold a conversation without addressing the weather (and, no, it’s not always raining). That national obsession has influenced expressions like it never rains but it pours (misfortunes tend to arrive all at the […]