“It’s Raining Husbands” and Other Idioms Translated into Different Languages

“It’s Raining Husbands” and Other Idioms Translated into Different Languages.

This is an interesting article from Lingholic. Just to add to the fun, I’m going to talk about a few idioms and proverbs from different languages that I know!

ಮಂಗನಿಗೆ ಮನಿಕ್ಕ್ಯ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಹಂಗೆ. – Maṅganige manikkya koṭṭa haṅge. – As if giving a monkey a pearl.

This Kannada proverb is used when somebody does something for or gives something to somebody else, and that person has no need for it. This is usually in the context of that person not being able to use it or appreciate it.

l’espantacriatures – an intimidating person

This is an idiom from Catalan, and literally means “child-scarer”. The word criatura means child, and espantar means to scare. It’s pretty obvious that a person who scares children is intimidating!


Em casa de ferreiro, espeto de pau. – In the house of the blacksmith, a wood skewer.

This is an interesting proverb in Portuguese. It’s talking about a situation in which something or someone doesn’t belong. And that thing or person shouldn’t be there, or do whatever they’re doing. A wood skewer doesn’t belong in a blacksmith’s house, because it would burn and be of no use. It’s kind of like getting in someone’s way.

l’attaccabottoni – A person who corners and presses others with long and sad stories. 

This is an interesting Italian word, because it is one of several very specific words in Italian that we might find very useful in English. I wasn’t aware that this was a type of person until I learned the word. It literally means “attacks the buttons”. Ordinarily you’d think this is like the phrase “pushing someone’s buttons” in English, but it has a completely different meaning in Italian!

(नमक मिर्च/मसाला) लगाना – (Namak mirch/masala) lagaana – to put salt and pepper/spice

This Hindi idiom is pretty useful if you have a lot of friends who gossip. A lot of Indians and Indian Americans use this phrase in English, too! By putting salt and pepper (or masala, which means spice), you’re hiding other flavors or you’re changing the taste a lot. As you might be able to tell, this means to change the story or make it more dramatic or scandalous to make it more interesting when you tell other people.

This was a little short this time, but I hope you found it interesting! Follow Lingholic for more cool stuff on languages. Their tips are really good!

Why America Isn’t As Multicultural As You Think (And What We Can Do About It)

It is not rarely that I hear the glories of America’s multicultural and multiethnic history, and that it has always been accepting of immigrants and creates a place for mutual understanding. While it’s certainly true that cultural pluralism was effectively born in the United States, modern-day America is not as integrated as you would be lead to believe.

The majority of the immigrant population lives on the coasts, where bigger cities and more job opportunities exist for newcomers to the country. While there is certainly little you can do about the lower numbers of immigrants elsewhere, it’s not an excuse for lacking in cultural education. We live in the Information Age, where literally thousands upon thousands of articles, e-books, and websites are at your disposal to learn about essentially anything.

America has always had what is called “a cult of ignorance,” as described by Professor Traphagan in an article by the Huffington Post (linked here). Media and education treat other nations as exotic, different, and most of all, implicitly inferior. We are taught that the United States is successful and powerful because it allows its citizens certain rights and liberties that other countries do not. This creates not only a national superiority complex, but also brushes to the side all the nations that immigrants come from. By implying that other nations are lower than ours is, we cultivate a culture of anti-foreign beliefs.

To remedy the ills of anti-immigrant sentiment and cultural ignorance, I think that it is necessary to implement foreign language education at an age much earlier than middle school. Beginning at least in second or third grade, children become increasingly cognizant of the fact there are other races of people, different lifestyles, and of course, that there are other languages. In middle school, children, due to the vast amount of information on the Internet and the prevalence of technology, have formed many of their own opinions, habits, and even personal beliefs regarding other people. While children are young, we ought to be instilling in them the idea that the world is a big place, where people are different, and one of the best ways to do so is teaching them foreign languages.

Therefore, I propose multilingual education beginning in third grade. In a hypothetical model, children would select the language they want to learn (with some guidance from parents, of course), and learn it alongside other coursework. Recognizing that some parents might take issue with this program, foreign language would optional until high school, where it actually becomes a requirement for graduation. However, foreign language should eventually become a core subject, not an elective or minimal requirement. By engaging children in environments different from the ones they usually encounter, they can develop a broader perspective from which to view the world and their other learning.

Different languages have different ways of looking at things, evidenced in different expressions, untranslatable words, and the varying ways in which words are put together. It has been shown in several studies (some of which you can see here)that students with foreign language skills often perform noticeably higher on standardized testing, especially in the areas of writing and reading. In addition to teaching children more about the world in general, it would accelerate their learning, and also get America ahead academically.

Studies have shown that children who grow up in environments where they acquire a second language have significantly better cognitive abilities, have better problem-solving skills, and are generally much more receptive to new ideas (not necessarily ideological). Not only do children acquire another form of communication, but they also have a new medium of understanding of the world around them. It is better for children to develop their understanding of the world in two or more lenses, rather than acquiring the lens later on in life, where their views of the world are largely solidified and immutable. To make America truly multicultural, the next generation needs to know what that means, and the best way to do that is through exposure.

So that’s my piece for today. Leave some comments, if you have your own thoughts on this. Please share this post and other previous articles on other sites, such as Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, so that more people can contribute to the discussion!