Oh, I see! moments
Travel Cultures Language

The Lucky Language of Fortune Cookies

by Meredith Mullins on May 14, 2018

Man's hands opening fortune cookies, revealing proverbs and sayings that can change your life. (Image © Comstock/Stockbyte.)

What wisdom can a cookie bring?
© Comstock Images/Stockbyte

Can Cookie Proverbs and Sayings Change Your Life?

We are often drawn to a peek at the future, whether fueled by fact or fantasy, proverbs or sayings, instinct or reason.

We shake the Magic 8 Ball to answer our important YES/NO questions and get answers such as “Signs point to yes,” “Outlook not so good,” or the annoyingly evasive “Reply hazy. Try again later.” (Was this a forerunner to sassy Siri?)

We sit in silence between worlds with our Ouija board and call on the spirits to guide us. We have our palms read or consult our horoscopes.

Visual Wordplay for the Bilingual Brain

by Eva Boynton on November 14, 2017

A cartoon of a woman pulling a leg and hands grabbing her hair, showing how visual wordplay with Spanish and English proverbs tickles the bilingual brain. (image © Eva Boynton).

“Ouch! You’re pulling my leg!”
“¡Ay! ¡Me estás tomando el pelo!” (“Ouch! You’re grabbing my hair!”)
© drawing by Eva Boynton

Spanish and English Proverbs in Pictures

While living in Mexico, I heard phrases whose literal translations created odd visual images for me and confused my developing bilingual brain. For example: “Me estás tomando el pelo!” (You are grabbing my hair!”). My initial bewildered response? I checked to see if my hands were minding their business at my side.

With further explanation, I soon understood that such strange phrases were proverbios y refranes (proverbs and sayings), wise and colorful ways to make a point. In this case: “You are pulling my leg.”

A Taste of French Sayings

by Meredith Mullins on April 20, 2015

Triptych of mustard, beans, and bread, showing the food focus of French sayings. (Image © Meredith Mullins)

Inspiration for tasty French idioms—mustard, beans, and bread
© Meredith Mullins

French Idioms—A Focus on Food

You may never have had the pleasure of mustard up your nose.

You may never have felt the desperation of having no beans in the house.

You may not know the boredom of a long dreary day, which, in French lore, is “a day without bread.”

But, if you’re living in the world of French sayings, these expressions are common—and mean more than their literal translations. 

Copyright © 2011-2013 OIC Books   |   All Rights Reserved   |   Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.