Tag: German

emotions

7 emotions that English doesn’t have a word for

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 […]

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sky

Weather idioms: sun, snow, sea, and sky

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.

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Saudade is a Portuguese words describing a feeling of missing someone or something, similar but not equal to nostalgia

7 foreign words you need to know

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 […]

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wind

Weather idioms: winds and storms

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 […]

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Kafka

Carefully constructed: the language of Franz Kafka

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 […]

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Where is the etymology of our curse words?

Curse words, etymology, and the history of English

Have you ever noticed that many of our swear words 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 what scheissen and ficken […]

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rain

Weather idioms: rain

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 […]

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flower bouquet

Say it with flowers: floral expressions and phrases

With the opening of the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, visitors from all over the world will once again flock to London in their thousands to keep up with the latest gardening trends and enjoy the vibrant colours of the flowers on display. But besides their obvious visual attraction, flowers can also be of particular […]

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