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I would wish it on English…

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 22, 2009 1 Comment

Apparently, in Corsican they have a saying: “Mariteddu Tamant’e Un Ditu Ieddu Voli Essa Rivaritu“: literally, “a husband must be respected even if he is very short.”


On my jetlag-fuelled morning Interneting, I excavated a fascinating article on Digg called “Weird and wonderful foreign phrases…that just don’t translate” from the UK Mirror. The article reviewed a book called Toujours Tingo: More Extraordinary Words To Change The Way We See The World by Adam Jacot de Boinod. Among the gems offered up by the article include:

Pesamenteiro – Portuguese: one who joins groups of mourners at the home of a dead person, apparently to offer condolences but in reality is just there for the refreshments.

Kanjus Makkhic[h]us – Hindi: a person so miserly that if a fly falls into his cup of tea, he’ll fish it out and suck it dry before throwing it away. [UB’s Note: in Hindi, “milk” may be replaced by “tea” as well; the beverage is variable between the two.]

Tartle – Scottish: to hesitate when you are introducing someone whose name you can’t quite remember. [UB’s note: why on earth don’t we have this in English??]

Cafune – Brazilian Portuguese: the tender running of one’s fingers through the hair of one’s mate.

More interesting phrases are offered up by a Times UK article, “Lost for words? A book to help you find them.”

What are some interesting phrases in your language that don’t have exact English equivalents?

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One Response to “I would wish it on English…”

  1. daveski on: 22 January 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Great find! I wonder…what does the English expression “Get well soon” really mean in other languages??

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