Tuesday, July 22, 2014

'Go fry asparagus' and other weird things we say

Have you guys ever thought about all the idiomatic expressions we use in English and how confusing these must be to a non-native speaker? Think about how you would explain to someone what it means to 'hold your horses' or 'keep your hair on' or 'paint the town red.' Imagine how someone might look at you if you told them to bring an umbrella because it's raining cats and dogs outside. Because I teach English here in Barcelona, I encounter a lot of this confusion with my students and it's hard not to laugh a little as I try to explain something that really makes no sense at all. So let's turn the tables, shall we? I recently discovered a Spanish company that literally translates Spanish idiomatic expressions into English with hilarious results. Here are a few of my favorites (all revolving around food!). Let's see if you can guess what they really mean!

This is my absolute favorite one, I have to admit. In Spanish this expression would be, 'Ve a freir esparragos' but it's not literal so don't put any oil in the pan just yet! This is basically a more polite way of telling someone to go away, or, as we would say idiomatically in English, 'Go fly a kite'. If you want to be vulgar you could say, 'Vete a la mierda' which in English would be the same as telling someone to go f*** themselves. But I prefer the asparagus, don't you?

This is a super adorable expression--one that could easily go on a Valentine's day card or in your wedding vows (in Spain anyway. In English this would be a bit strange). In Spanish this expression is, 'Contigo pan y cebolla', and  it means something like 'With you through thick and thin' or 'in good times and bad'. Sweet, huh?

In Spain, everything is about milk. This expression, is 'Hoy va a ser la leche' which means today is going to be awesome. If you want to tell someone that you really like them or that they're really cool, you can also say, 'Eres la leche' or 'You are the milk'.  If someone is in a particularly bad mood, you can say 'Tiene mala leche' or literally, 'He has bad milk'. What is behind all this milk talk? I have no idea. Being lactose intolerant, I can't see the appeal, I guess. 

You can probably guess what this means, right? In Spanish it would be 'me importa un huevo' which basically means 'I couldn't care less.' Or, more vulgarly, I could give a f***.  I've also heard people say 'Me importa tres pepinos,' which I like even more. This translates to, 'I could give three cucumbers.' Let's all start saying that. It could be a thing!

I hope you guys got a kick out of these. Got any favorites? Please share below!

P.S. If you guys like these, there are tons more on the A Truth As A Temple website. They print these graphics and phrases on mugs, aprons, notebooks, tote bags and more. Check them out!