Metaphorical English phrases

level
4
Posts8Likes11Joined20/9/2019LocationAdelaide / AU
Native
Japanese
Learning English

As I learn English more and more, I realize English has numerous interesting metaphorical phrases like Japanese language. For example, people mean they stay late at night for studying by saying "burn the midnight oil". Metaphorical phrases using animals and fruits, veggies such as " eat like a horse", "as cool as a cucumber" and "lemon" imply that we have a completely different image towards such things. For example, in Japan, a pig is regarded as a big eater and veggies and fruits are not used as a metaphor. Instead, we use many phrases relating to our body parts. We say "Your mouth is stiff." to indirectly mean "You always keep a secret" and "My nose is crooked." to mean "It's stinky." Don't you think these phrases sound funny? 

If your language has unique metaphorical phrases like these, share on this forum :)

Yuka.C

Posted 
3
#1
level
3
Posts10Likes11Joined20/9/2019LocationRizal / PH
Native
Tagalog
Learning English, Russian

I know what you mean and yes they can really be funny when you're learning the English language. Can you imagine that the phrase "break a leg" actually means "good luck". You may thought of something else if you hear that phrase for the first time. And if one's about to do something in front of a crowd, one might say "knock them down" which sounds hostile but they're just wishing you good luck just the same. :)

"Не волнуйтесь"

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1
#2
level
3
Posts8Likes9Joined23/9/2019LocationNovi Sad / RS
Native
Serbian
Learning Danish, English, Russian

Yuka wrote:
As I learn English more and more, I realize English has numerous interesting metaphorical phrases like Japanese language. For example, people mean they stay late at night for studying by saying "burn the midnight oil". Metaphorical phrases using animals and fruits, veggies such as " eat like a horse", "as cool as a cucumber" and "lemon" imply that we have a completely different image towards such things. For example, in Japan, a pig is regarded as a big eater and veggies and fruits are not used as a metaphor. Instead, we use many phrases relating to our body parts. We say "Your mouth is stiff." to indirectly mean "You always keep a secret" and "My nose is crooked." to mean "It's stinky." Don't you think these phrases sound funny?
If your language has unique metaphorical phrases like these, share on this forum :)


Hi Yuka! :)


First, a fun fact: to "eat like a horse" means to always eat a lot of food, but when you're really hungry, you can also say "I could eat a horse!". That was one of the first phrases that sounded really weird to me when I first heard it. :D The Japanese sayings are also really cool to hear, maybe it will help someday when I talk to my Japanese students again :)


These abstract expressions (they're usually called "idioms") are some of my favourite things to learn when learning a new language. It just feels so nice to know something that usually only native speakers know, it feels like I'm really getting into the culture and becoming a part of the language community. And native speakers are usually impressed when they hear a not-so-common idiom from a native speaker.


Some can get really weird, like "don't beat around the bush" which means "get to the point". I mean, what does that have to do with either beating or bushes?!


In Serbian we have some weird idioms as well, for example "to play piano" means to get arrested, and "to stare at beans" means to try to guess what will happen without any information.

JEG KAN IKKE FORSTÅ

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