Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Language Barrier

 Arabic has those weird metaphors especially proper Arabic, we still make fun of the great old poets and their rather interesting choice of words. I always have a hard time when someone, say Kurdish, asks me about the meaning of some Iraqi saying they heard, I go through all the images and tools in my head and try to explain but most of the time the ask-er ends up with a smile that has "what the hell are you talking about!" behind it, now those are Arabic speaking people, not exactly perfect Arabic but they get by. The big test is when a not-speaking-arabic person asks me to translate some Iraqi saying, a text message or even worse a SONG, i always find myself completely lost when this happens and I hit the language barrier.

Regardless how funny some Arabic expressions are, English is worse. A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Taylor Swift's song Breathe and the lyrics go like:  "You're the only thing I know like the back of my hand" and for some reason the phrase just kept buzzing in head, I know that when you know something or someone so well you say you know them like the back of your hand, I looked at the back of my hand and to tell you the truth I don't really know it that well. I looked again, closed my eyes and tried to remember the image but I swear I couldn't so I started wondering if there was something wrong with me, or maybe the phrase actually has a different meaning than what I thought so I started Googling (Ali would agree I'm the best web searcher on the planet, wouldn't you honey?) and I found out that, unfortunately, it does stand for knowing the back of your hand very well, but the good thing is so many people made comments about how they didn't know the back of their hands so well which makes me normal I guess! 

Moving on to another phrase, "Get your ducks in a row", do I really need to say anything? I don't but I will any way. I get the meaning but who has ducks? and who keeps their ducks in a row??? Another one is "Spitting Image" now this is just disgusting, the idea of being created by being spit out of someone’s mouth gives me the creeps. Iraqi is said to be one of the hardest Arabic dialects to learn, although everyone I know seems to speak it fluently :), we simply are blessed with the fact that we have almost all letters, consonants or vowels, whatever you call them, in our dialect which makes it much easier for us to learn any other language and of course make fun of it despite the fact that we have the most outrageously weird adverbs.  

Bottom line is and to be honest with you the reason why I wrote this in first place is to sort of prove that although speaking English pretty much rocks, but Arabic have been and always will be more elegant and sophisticated, after all we don't say, pardon my french, holly crap!! when we're surprised (I couldn't even find the origins for this one), we simply scream our heads off, see I told you it's sophisticated lol.

I'd like to hear some of the funniest phrases you know in any language.

Till next time, see you later alligator :)  

No comments:

Post a Comment