Saying ” Pardon my French” when you curse is still very common throughout the English-speaking world even though this expression is at least two centuries old. But why is it French and not, say, Spanish or Italian? The answer lies in history. In England, French was long the language of the nobility, because they were […]
Por si las moscas: for if the flies. If literally. Any ideas what this could mean? In fact it means ” Just in case” and apparently the presence of flies in it has two different explanations. The first one: people used to cover food to protect it from flies, just in case. Little by little […]
Italy is a country where religion and folklore very often mix. The Italian language is full of expressions that come from Christianity. However, it is interesting and sometimes funny to notice how some of them have a completely different meaning despite being very similar to each other. For example essere in mano a Cristo (to […]
Literally it means, “To have a potato”. I remember hearing it for the first time in the following context: “Le grand-pere a la patate”! Naturally, I thought of potatoes from the grandfather’s vegetable garden. But not at all. The grandfather was just full of energy! By the way, the word “patate” for “potato” is rather […]
How do Brazilians talk about death?
Death is a bit of a taboo topic in most cultures around the world; as a result, many people use alternatives to the ‘d-word’. In Brazil it wouldn’t be different: a quick Google search would provide you with at least 40 to 50 synonyms in Brazilian Portuguese. Let’s see some of the most popular expressions: […]
Holidays in Moscow, what to expect?
There are many stereotypes and misunderstandings about Russia and Moscow in particular. But Moscow is actually a lot of fun. Every time I go to Russia I remember this dialogue from Pulp Fiction: Vincent: But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is? Jules: What? Vincent: It’s the little differences. I mean, they got […]
Ich habe schon Pferde vor der Apotheke kotzen sehen
 “I have already seen horses puking in front of a pharmacy”. Yes. This is one of the most improbable expressions I have ever come across. Apparently, as horses don’t vomit and especially they don’t do it in front of pharmacies, this expression means improbable situations that can actually happen sometimes! By Anna Redkina and Isabel […]
Trovare l’America (to find America) is the Italian equivalent for the English expression to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The translation is not literal at all. This is because these two phrases come from two different contexts. The Italian expression finds its origin in the history of migration that […]
Shall we meet at 5 pm and kill the small worm? Like in Russian, in Spanish you “Kill the small worm” if you have a snack between meals. Apparently, at some point people believed that there was a worm living inside the human body and feeding ourselves we fed the worm too. Another meaning of […]
6 tips to learn a foreign language
Learn a little bit every day. Many studies show that we remember better studying a little bit every day than hours once a week. A Russian proverb says: Повторение- мать учения. ( Repetition is the mother of studying”. It is absolutely right. Repeat, repeat and repeat. Watch films, listen to the radio, read books, even […]