You can spend years studying a language to be able to speak it, read it and write it. The annoying thing with language is that it acts like a living breathing organism, new words are added to the lexicon, idioms are cemented and turns of phrase frequently used. When these turns of phrase or sayings are translated from their native language though, hilarity ensues, here are a few weird and strange sayings from around the world.
Bang your butt on the ground – French
This saying is something I imagine Miley Cyrus doing while performing live, but in actuality it just means rolling on the floor laughing. I genuinely wanted to see a Frenchman twerk, but as always the French have grossly disappointed me (why would you name something escargot only for it to be snails?!)
I’m not hanging noodles from your ears – Russia
So from the expansive Northern country of Russia comes a saying that involves Italian or at best Chinese food and it means I’m not kidding. I agree that noodles are easier to hang from ears opposed to piroshky (a Russian dumpling) but they could have used some local cuisine to hang off of said ears making it more authentic. ‘I am not pouring caviar on your ears’ for example, your welcome for the suggestion Russia.
Flat out like a lizard drinking – Australia
As you can see, even English speaking countries aren’t immune to their slang being lost in translation. Although at first sight this idiom may indicate that the person saying it is inebriated but in actuality it’s the exact opposite, it indicates that the person is busy, like the rapid tongue movements of a lizard drinking water. Ah, Australia your like England’s special little cousin with adorable chlamydia carrying mammals.
God Gives Nuts to a man with no teeth – Arabic
You can probably suck on an almond long enough to make it soft. I think I just came up with my own idiom…anyway this saying basically deals with the inherent irony of life, and the hilarity of someone trying to eat something hard without teeth. No? OK, so I was informed that it only has to do with the inherent irony of life.
Live like a maggot in Bacon – Germany
As if you’d be surprised that such a stomach-churning saying comes out of the country synonymous with…wait for it…really messed up porn (look I love to push the envelope but there are some jokes that even I won’t dare utter). It means living well, because they could have said something like: happier than a pig in sh*t, happy as a butcher’s dog or as happy as a kid in a candy store but no they took the most heavenly type of meat and combined with the most disgusting form of insect larvae. Which results in the linguistic equivalent of their porn industry. Nein! Germany, Nein!
He’s been screwed by a hare – Belgium/Flemish
In relative juxtaposition to the humorless soul-damaging German saying above, the Flemish Belgians (home also of the homonymous waffle) have this hilarious saying to insinuate someone is in a hurry. This saying is so funny, in fact, that at no point while I was reading it, did I question the circumstances where a Belgian might be caught with their pants down around amorous rabbits. But now that I mentioned it…
Bunch of Codswallop – England
Lest us attempt to analyze this quaint saying from across the pond. We have Cod, which we know is a delectable white fish often used in the characteristic British fast food Fish and Chips. Then we have Swallop, which means absolutely nothing with slight ties to hogwash, which also means nothing. OK, I think I caught myself in a cognitive loop so let me wrap this up: codswallop means a big fat lie. It was so painfully obvious, how did I miss it?
The Dog’s Bollocks – England, It’s the Shit – U.S.A.
OK, so the English language has tomes-worth of vocabulary to express admiration, awe and veneration of something stupendous, just read an Oscar Wilde book to see, the dude’s writing is super flowery. For some reason, though the preferred way to express admiration (by teenagers and young adults primarily) in the U.K. and the U.S.A. is with a parallelization of said stupendous thing to canine gonads and faeces respectively.
Are there any other sayings from your own native language or a language you know? Well, help us break the internet by writing them below. No Codswallop please.