Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Caution: risque content ahead . . .


Sent to me by Byter Leo: 

Spanish singer Julio Iglesias was on UK television with British TV host Anne Diamond. 

He used the word "manyana" (pronounced "man - yana"). Diamond asked him to explain what it meant. 

He said that the term means: "Maybe the job will be done tomorrow; maybe the next day; maybe the day after that; or perhaps next week; next month; next year. Who really cares?" 

The host turned to Albert Yatapingu from the Gumbaingeri Tribe (Australian aboriginal) who was also on the show. She asked him if there was an equivalent term in his native language. 

"Nah", he replied, "In Australia we don't have a word to describe that degree of urgency." 

I have previously mentioned some foreign words and expressions for which there is either no English equivalent (eg the German word for “a face in need of a fist”) or which are so much more imaginative than in English (the Polish expression “Not my circus, not my monkeys” to mean roughly the same as “Not my problem”). 

Here is another: “Don’t hang noodles on my ears.” 

It is a Russian expression that came to prominence in the West in 1991.

Back in 1991 after the Russian coup against Gorbachev had failed, the parliamentary speaker, Anatoly Lukyanov, tried to convince Gorbachev he had played no part in it. "Don't hang noodles on my ears," Gorbachev snapped. In other words, "don't pull the wool over my eyes", or "don't pull my leg" or “don’t try to fool me”. 

Which is not to say that English lacks great images and expressions. Is there not an immediate recognition and wealth of meaning in the expression “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” 

Judge Judy felt so moved by it that she cleaned it up a bit and used it as the title of one of her books: 

Some others in the same vein, not exactly Shakespeare (who was not averse to a bit of ribaldry in his works) but quite expressive.  Hey, would I hang noodles on your ears?

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