Hoping everyone in Vancouver/around the area is staying warm despite the snow this week – though I have to admit, the mountain tops are looking rather nice with a dusting of winter wonderland.
If you’re a Speakwords Around the World veteran, you know the drill. But for those of you who are new (welcome!), here’s a bit of context as to how this series came about: Literally translated, ‘speakwords’ is the equivalent of the Dutch word, ‘spreekwoord’ which means ‘saying’ or ‘proverb’. Our Marketing Manager, Erik, was born and raised in Holland, and brought his wonderful and wacky speakwords with him when he joined the Globalme team. Seeing as our office is jam-packed with people from all over the world, we were inspired to discover the wonderful and wacky speakwords from everyone’s home country. This week? Italy and Korea!
What many people don’t know about the Italian language is that until Italy became a unified nation, it didn’t have a national tongue. In fact, Italian writer Dante Alighieri had a big influence on the Tuscan dialect becoming the national language, because he and other writers used this dialect in their work. Dante is even referred to as the “father of the Italian language”. The country’s dialects are just as diverse as their foods; the following speakwords show how both can liaise:
Bread is viewed rather highly in Europe (which is totally warranted – have you ever woken up, walked to your local bakery, and bought a freshly baked baguette for your morning breakfast? It’s one of the most fabulous things you can do). This idiom is said to kids who behave extremely well, and to adults who are so kind that you just want to hug them.
Have you ever seen a pack of uncooked spaghetti? The imagery is spot-on and it’s both a hilarious and highly effective insult to fling around!
Do you have someone in your life that you see literally everywhere and you have no idea why? Parsley is used in a lot of Italian dishes (though it was most popular in the 80s and 90s), so the speakword was named after that fact!
Now, moving on to some Korean idioms (we like to shake it up a bit). You may notice that two-thirds of the idioms below are about rice cakes (also known as the ‘Tteok’). Not only are they absolutely gooey and delicious, but there are hundreds of different versions of the little guys eaten all year round for various occasions. For example, ‘tteok guk’ is eaten on New Year’s Day, and sweet ‘tteok’ is served on weddings and birthdays. So, it’s no surprise that the ‘tteok’ has also found its way into Korean language idioms:
Now you know the Korean version of a well-known English idiom! Pronounced: ‘nuwese ttockmocki’.
If you had no idea there was such a thing as an ‘impatient fish’, now you do! Pronounced: ‘bendangi sogaltackgi’.
Next week’s article will be the very last in our food-related Speakwords series! Keep your eye out.