Unique words in other languages

Some people call these ‘untranslatable’ words which is rarely true as everything can be translated, one way or another. However, it often teaches you something about a culture when they have a single word or phrase for a concept that may take a sentence to explain in English. I enjoy how succinct the description is,…

French: Idioms using animals

Idioms in foreign languages can offer an insight into that country’s culture but can also cause confusion and leave one feeling the ‘perpetual foreigner’. Even worse, attempting to translate an expression from your own language can lead to inadvertent confusion or (in my experience) hilarity. For example, did you know that while in English siblings…

Chinese idiom: 半途而废 To give up halfway

半途而废 bàntúérfèi To give up halfway This idiom is particularly relevant for me right now because doing a PGCE is tough and, as much as I love teaching, sometimes it is difficult to maintain motivation when I get bogged down in the paperwork. But, 我不要半途而废!I don’t want to give up (more than) halfway through or…

Untranslatable Words

A collection of untranslatable words (or at least words that are difficult to translate!) from around the world by the London-based artist Marija Tiurina. I like using images such as these to stimulate conversation in a language awareness class or to improve cultural understanding. Images credited to http://marijatiurina.com/?portfolio=untranslatable-words    

Idioms from around the world

For language learners idioms can be the spice of language learning, brightening things up with a dose of humour or cultural insight when the grammar gets too much and you need a break. They can also be something that trips you up or makes you feel that you will never be truly able to be…