Different Meanings of Phrases in different languages

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Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016
Pending moderation

Phrases can mean very differently in different languages and cultures, and I want to discuss about them.
I want to discuss the similarities and differences and their use to make a better use of them in artistic as well as literal translations

whimsical chatterbox
Joined: 14.09.2013

Do you mean idiomatic expressions or something else?

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016

Phrases in general, may or may not be idiomatic. Like Hindi uses a lot of metaphoric phrases, Persian uses emphasis and likewise.

Senior Member
Joined: 16.08.2014

Any examples?

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016

Eg. सागर की गहराई से गहरा है मेरा प्यार (My Love is deeper than the depths of the oceans)
Metaphorical depth of love is used to exaggerate the emotion of affection. As you can see that in english depth is not usually associated with love so what can be used instead.

Senior Member
Joined: 16.08.2014

I have to say I have seen people use the depth metaphor when talking about love
e.g.

"My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine
Softer than a sigh
My love is deeper than the deepest ocean
Wider than the sky"
- Petula Clark, My Love

I feel like depth (deeper than the ocean), height (higher than a mountain), and width (wider than the sky), are often used as metaphors for love in many languages since they are universal concepts. There are of course some geographical differences e.g. in Finland we say "Rakkaus on lumivalkoinen" (Love is as white as snow) meaning that your love is pure. I imagine they have very different metaphors for the purity of love in places that do not have snow. That is if they have the concept of purity, to begin with.

It is a very interesting subject. I would love to talk more about it.

Moderator and Scholar of a Dark Age
Joined: 16.02.2011
SAKAE wrote:

Eg. सागर की गहराई से गहरा है मेरा प्यार (My Love is deeper than the depths of the oceans)
Metaphorical depth of love is used to exaggerate the emotion of affection. As you can see that in english depth is not usually associated with love so what can be used instead.

I'm no native speaker of English, but to me the phrase looks absolutely fine in English. I'm quite sure I have heard similar before rather often.

Seems like a quite universal metaphor to me.

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016

How do people associate nights in different cultures?

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016

Just an example.
Like @Save Me Spider Man has stated Finnish associate love with whiteness of snow and there might be other cultures who relate it very differently. Our purpose to make it more convenient for translators to relate and translate them, this will help us to get better translations that are more endemic to cultures.

Editor
Joined: 08.07.2016

What do you have exactly in mind?

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016

About what?

Editor
Joined: 08.07.2016
SAKAE wrote:

How do people associate nights in different cultures?

About this
I can't understand your question

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016

For Eg.
Nights in Hindi are associated with mystery, sadness, sadistic mystery and mysterious sadness
What are they related with in your culture?

Moderator and Scholar of a Dark Age
Joined: 16.02.2011

Besides what you mentioned, nights are associated here with love and erotic things, loneliness, thoughtfulness, rest, relaxation, darkness, danger, partying, dreams etc., i.e. with everything one may encounter at night. Is anything about that depending on culture?

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016

A song by Amr Diab, Al Leila, relates nights to a new beginning
One of the folk songs in Pujabi personifies night to explain affection and grief at the same time. So, it does depend on cultures.

Besides, in most Northern Indic Languages, night isn't related with partying, love or eroticism.

Editor
Joined: 08.07.2016

In this song you mentioned, Amr Diab describes this night as "The night of our life". Which is an Egyptian description for wedding night (Weddings' ceremonies take place in Egypt in the evening till midnight or around so).
Besides, for us Arabs, we have our own nights, and they are "1001" Wink smile (aka: Arabian nights)

Super Member
Joined: 15.08.2015

Not a native Arabic speaker but have seen an expression once associated with night and it was utterly beautiful.

"أه يا عين أه يا ليل"

Literally means "Oh my eye oh my nights", and expresses the pain of sorrows inside of one's heart.

Editor
Joined: 08.07.2016

Not exactly so. It is sort of a "traditional intro" for Arabic songs or "Mawwal"s

Editor
Joined: 08.07.2016
Super Member
Joined: 11.10.2014

The problem with this sort of discussion is that statements like " As you can see that in english depth is not usually associated with love so what can be used instead" are made, and are pure nonsense, but instead of debunking them properly by pointing out that if depth in English were usually associated with love it would be quite bizarre that a word which refers literally to an important physical (geometrical) property was used more often in connection with love than with its basic meaning and that if the word in an Indian language that is being stated to be usually associated with love does genuinely have that as its usual association it is utterly incorrect to claim that it corresponds to the English word depth - or the French word "profondeur" or any other word in any language that means depth.

Maybe the discussion could be made to work if some professional translators were involved. Maybe it could be made to work if everyone though a little harder about what is being said. Maybe even it could be made to work if when something was stated and people politely pointed out that it was clearly incorrect (Anna and Sciera did that for this one) the originator of the statement made it clear that they understood that they were mistaken (because such mistakes will happen often when people discuss which metaphors work in languages distant from their own, and to have a useful discussion we have to be clear about stuff like that).

It's possible of course that the originator didn't understand English well enough to know what "is usually associated with" means, and doesn't realise that it's very different from "is sometimes associated with" or "it can be and is used in association with" and that that is often a difference between a non-metaphorical meaning and a metaphorical meaning.

Anyway, as Anna and Sciera said, depth can be used as a (metaphorical) quality of love in English. In fact it can be used like that in all the languages I understand well enough to know whether it can be: that's 3 Germanic languages, 3 Celtic languages, and 4 Romance languages. So I think it's probable that it can be used like that in all Western European Indo-European languages (but perhaps not in Basque, perhaps not in Finnish, which are in different language families). SAKAE has said it works in all Northern Indic languages and as he knows far more about those languages than I do I expect he is right, so maybe use of this metaphor originated in PIE (except I don't recall it working in Russian, so anyone know about Slavic languages? My tiny amount of Russian expired a very long time ago, and my even smaller amount of Serbo-Croat expired even before they stopped calling any of the three or four languages that).

Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016
Eagles Hunter wrote:

Not exactly so. It is sort of a "traditional intro" for Arabic songs or "Mawwal"s

What else dose it mean?

A song by Ragheb Alama, Chuftik Tlakhbat uses it as an intro.(Which, I consider as Fusion Music)