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 […]
This post is available in English and Portuguese. Jump to Portuguese translation I never thought I’d stand on the top floor of a building in São Paulo to see buildings extending out in all directions. View of São Paulo from Edifício Copán In fact, I never thought I’d go to São Paulo! But a trip […]
Learning a new language often allows for lots of fun cultural titbits, including unexpected literal meanings of common idioms. The Portuguese language is filled with fun idioms that literally translate into situations that sound amusing to English speakers. Of course, these idioms are no stranger than lots of idioms that you would find in other […]
Portuguese and English have been part of my life as far as I can remember. I was brought up in Brazil and got used to switching from speaking Portuguese to English then back to Portuguese. Word games were part of my childhood and I would translate some expressions literally just for a laugh. Vamos dar […]
Although we have a plethora of words in our vocabularies to describe colour, it’s unlikely that we each perceive colour in the same way. What if your red is actually my blue, or my yellow is your green? We may never know if a Parisian’s rouge is identical to a Varsovian’s czerwony, but we can […]
Today’s English owes much to many of the world’s languages, from French and German to Chinese and Hindi. Our interactive map below is the first of an occasional series which will offer you a glimpse of the range of linguistic influences that English has absorbed.
Click on the map to see how English has been shaped by French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Flemish. Your armchair travels should give you some interesting discoveries: could you guess the origins of fluff, anchovy, vamoose, and baize?