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Idioms ,which do you think is the best to learn, and which in your language?


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Idioms is a big part of language, both spoken and written, and we use them all the time.

It is one of the hardest things to learn in a new language, because its not just a word or phrase, but also deals with cultural references that might be hard to grasp as a foreigner, its sometimes hard for a native too.

One very common in English is: "Cat got your tongue?, Has the cat got your tongue? or did the cat get your tongue?"

It means you are left speechless, that you cannot get a word out and someone is expecting you to say something. Another way to say this would be : "Have you nothing to say?"

This is often prefixed by "what's the matter," to let you know that you should answer.

A modern way to use this in texts and online is : Cat got your thumbs? , as you are not responding in a chat.  It might take hold and become more used, but you might not have seen it used yet in writing.

What is this in your language, what idiom is used?

The closest in Norwegian is : " Har du mistet både munn og mæle? " It literally translates: Have you lost both mouth and sound/speech?.

Another one : English : "Count one's chickens before thy (the eggs) are hatched!"  - To count or assume a certain thing , before all the facts are in.  To make assumptions and more likely have made statements  before you have all the facts.

Norwegian: "Å selge skinnet, før bjørnen er skutt!" - literal translation in English:

to sell the skin/fur before the bear is shot.

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The Cat's got your tongue one is: Er du blevet mundlam? in Danish, which means has your mouth gotten numb?

And The chicken one is the same in Danish as it is in Norwegian: Sælg ikke skindet før bjørnen er skudt - Don't sell the fur/skin until the bear has been shot.

I've compiled a little list of some Danish Idioms that might be useful, or that I at least find sort of funny :)

Være på glatis - being on slippery ice: It means being in trouble, or not having a grip on a situation.

Blive varm om hjertet - getting warm around your heart: It means being touched (emotionally) or happy

Slå to fluer med et smæk - getting two flies with one swat: The Dansih equivallent of the English idiom Killing two birds with one stone

At være ude med riven - being out with the rake: It means being argumentative, or being out to get everyone

At stirre sig blind - staring yourself blind: It means concentrating on something, or looking at something so much that you can no longer see any flaws

At sætte det lange ben foran - To put your long leg in front: To hurry

Snakke/tale sort - talking/speaking black: It means making no sense (It doesn't have any racist connotation in Danish)

Have rotter på loftet - Having rats in the attic: It means being crazy

Goddag mand økseskaft - Hello Man axe shaft (my favourite): It means making no sense, or doing something that makes no sense.

Idioms are one of my favourite things about languages in general! I would love to hear from others about this.

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