Idioms are a mystery and a delight! And until you know at least a couple of them, some of the nuances of a language and culture elude you.
Recently I learned an idiom from a Yezidi teenager, a Kurdish idiom that I love. The girl was standing outside, casually chewing gum. A teenage boy looked over at her and said to her “You shouldn’t be chewing gum.” To which she responded without hesitation “Who made you the spoon to stir the sugar in my tea?”
As a bystander I didn’t understand any of this. I did however understand the ensuing laughter and so right away asked about the interaction. My translator laughed and tried to explain and what came out was “Who made you the spoon to stir the sugar in my tea?”
Basically, who gave you the right to tell me what to do?
I love this!
It brings up the beauty of idioms, that way of saying things without really saying them. Around the same time that I heard this idiom a friend sent me an article called “Idioms of the World Infographic.” It is a fabulous, illustrated guide to ten phrases from around the world.
Here are three favorites of the ten.
1. To feed the donkey sponge cake
Translation: Alimentar um burro a pão-de-ló
Meaning: To give good treatment to someone who doesn’t need it
2. To let a frog out of your mouth
Translation: Päästää sammakko suusta
Meaning: To say the wrong thing
3. Not my circus, not my monkey!
Translation: Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy
Meaning: Not my problem
Take a look below at the rest of them and enjoy! Then add your favorite idiom to the comments for a chance to win a copy of Between Worlds!