When learning a new language, one of the most challenging things is picking up figures of speech, or idioms. The big reason is that a lot of them don’t make sense.
Aaron Alon had a lot of fun with funny idioms from around the globe, including 70 from 28 different languages, in a video called “Communication Problems.” Alon is an award-winning composer, writer, director, filmmaker and teacher who shares his talents on his YouTube channel.
The video features a couple sharing their relationship problems with a therapist while speaking in idioms from other countries in American English. While the couple talks in incomprehensible expressions, their approximate English meanings and the country from which they originate are shown in the subtitles.
What in the world is the “age of the turkey”? What does it mean to still be “riding the goat”? Why would somebody “pay the duck”?
The video is great because even though the actors speak in total gibberish, they play it with a straight face and really sell the idea that these are terms people use in other countries. But to be fair, people in other countries probably think Americans are speaking total gibberish when they utter phrases such as, “I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth” or “I’m about to go postal.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the video is that Mongolia has the best way of responding when someone sneezes. Instead of simply saying, “Bless you,” they say, “God bless you, and may your mustache grow like brushwood.”
Visit Aaron Alon’s website for a complete list of idioms in the video.