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Funny idioms - taking idioms literally


PeterPen
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Has it ever happened to you that you inadvertently use an idiom from your native language in a foreign language, and the person has no idea what you are talking about?

Or they completely misunderstand what you are trying to say and take it literally?

I found a great video about what our life be like if we took all idioms literally.

Enjoy

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  • 1 month later...

I keep seeing situations like these in comedies but when it happens in real life it's never as clever or funny. The closest I've come was when my brother accidentally spilled some lemonade and I said "You know life worked real hard to get us those lemons!" Badum-tss! KimJongIllest, folks, I'll be here all week!

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Interesting video! There are indeed many idoms that, when you really think about it, makes little sense. Also I believe most languages have their own idioms that wouldn't work if you translate them. And then of course there are many idioms that are shared among languages.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought the topic is about idioms that sound funny like "when pig's fly".  Anyway, thanks for sharing the videos guys.  I agree that it's interestingly funny.  :grin:

374559-2723-53.jpg

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  • 4 months later...

Quite an interesting video. It can be quite funny when adults speak idioms around small children who then take them literally. Some of them never ask what you mean, they just repeat what was said on other occasions, which can be very humorous.

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  • 1 year later...

I have never been in a situation where this has happened in real life.  I do like in movies and on television when they mix up idioms, though.  My favorites are (from an I Love Lucy episode)  "spilled the bean out of the cat-bag" and (Hot Shots Part Deux) "Now the upper hand is on the other foot!"

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Lol @czarina84,

I could see this happening in real life too. Idioms seem to have a cultural root, so the fact that some will get completely misconstrued doesn't seem far fetched. Come to think of it I'd like to see a thread dedicated to idioms gone wrong.

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4 hours ago, 3rdeyeguy said:

Lol @czarina84,

I could see this happening in real life too. Idioms seem to have a cultural root, so the fact that some will get completely misconstrued doesn't seem far fetched. Come to think of it I'd like to see a thread dedicated to idioms gone wrong.

Of course it can happen! It doesn't lead to funny sitcom-like moments, though. We had a russian intern at work, he could talk Spanish very well and understand you perfectly, but in our daily life we tend to use idioms a lot. So, I made a silly joke and said "¡Te estoy tomando el pelo!", which would be literally translated to "I'm taking your hair" and would be equal to the idiom "I'm pulling your leg". He didn't understand it, just looked at me and said something like "You are not taking anything from me.". It was awkard...

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16 hours ago, watangaboy said:

Of course it can happen! It doesn't lead to funny sitcom-like moments, though. We had a russian intern at work, he could talk Spanish very well and understand you perfectly, but in our daily life we tend to use idioms a lot. So, I made a silly joke and said "¡Te estoy tomando el pelo!", which would be literally translated to "I'm taking your hair" and would be equal to the idiom "I'm pulling your leg". He didn't understand it, just looked at me and said something like "You are not taking anything from me.". It was awkard...

I'm the kind of person to laugh this off.  Not specifically idioms, but I have had people misunderstand things that I say.  I just gently chuckle and explain what I mean.  People will usually join in and the awkward moment will pass, as they know I'm not laughing at them, just the situation.  As long as you try your best to make sure the person understands that you don't think they are dumb and their misunderstanding is no big deal, it takes the awkwardness out of the situation.  Just breeze over it. 

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1 hour ago, czarina84 said:

I'm the kind of person to laugh this off.  Not specifically idioms, but I have had people misunderstand things that I say.  I just gently chuckle and explain what I mean.  People will usually join in and the awkward moment will pass, as they know I'm not laughing at them, just the situation.  As long as you try your best to make sure the person understands that you don't think they are dumb and their misunderstanding is no big deal, it takes the awkwardness out of the situation.  Just breeze over it. 

Haha, yes! It was a bit unexpected to me and couldn't answer properly. Maybe I needed to explain myself further; he must've thought I was making fun of him (which I wasn't, I was just making a joke). I wish I was a quick thinker like you but I tend to block myself, like "should I laugh or be serious?"

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2015‎ ‎7‎:‎49‎:‎34‎, watangaboy said:

Haha, yes! It was a bit unexpected to me and couldn't answer properly. Maybe I needed to explain myself further; he must've thought I was making fun of him (which I wasn't, I was just making a joke). I wish I was a quick thinker like you but I tend to block myself, like "should I laugh or be serious?"

I'm not so much a quick thinker as much as an embarrassing moment magnet.  Through experience, I learned how to turn them around.  If you keep things light and non-judgmental, most people will understand and be more open to learning from their mistakes.  Plus, I used to non-officially tutor other kids in school.  That helped me learn that most anger is just insecurity.  Disable that and you will have a better life.

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