Often, idioms act as advice. It should be no surprise that multiple cultures might have the same things to say to future generations. This week’s post takes a look at one English idiom as stated in five other languages. The English idiom of the day is You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Below are three lists:
-each idiom loosely translated into English
-the languages from which each idiom hails, &
-each idiom in its original tongue
However, I’ve changed up the order in each list. Your task is to match each translated idiom with its original language & original wording:
A. You can’t turn a buzzard into a sparrowhawk.
B. A monkey in silk is still a monkey.
C. To celebrate a wedding with dried figs.
D. Even if the monkey wears a golden ring it remains ugly.
E. If you’re born to crawl you can’t fly.
I. fare le nozze con I fichi secchi
II. rozhdennyj polzat letat ne mozhet
III. aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda
IV. al draagt een aap een gouden ring, het is en blijft een
V. on ne peut faire d’une buse un épervier
Before checking the first comment in the comment section, make a list of your corresponding letter, Arabic number & Roman numeral. Then, in the comments section let us know how well you did & what you have to say about sow’s ears, or silk-wearing monkeys, or maybe even dried figs.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: Translate.net, Adam Jacot de Boinod’s Toujours Tingo, & Learning English with Idioms
5/14/2020 09:34:23 am
And the answers are...
5/14/2020 11:01:26 am
I got them all right! It helps that I know Italian and French and a little Dutch. But I want to know what it means if you have dried figs at an Italian wedding. Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
5/14/2020 03:42:48 pm
Ronald A Perry
5/14/2020 03:55:58 pm
It seems the poor monkey is getting the short end of the stick in these idioms.
5/14/2020 07:40:56 pm
5/17/2020 10:17:30 am
When I read this I saw "dried FROGS" and thought, of course you wouldn't celebrate a wedding with dried frogs! I mean. . . who would do that?
5/17/2020 10:39:17 am
What? You didn't know Ellen & I said our vows over a lovely collection of dried frogs?
5/17/2020 12:28:54 pm
When I read this I read "dried FROGS" and thougt, dried frogs at a wedding? That could not be good.
5/17/2020 12:34:56 pm
Oops! Left my silly comment twice!
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I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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