About Idioms

storyteller-300x218The Spanish language is very rich in aphorisms, idioms, axioms and other sayings. To speak Spanish fluently, one must understand these phrases that are so ingrained in out literary history and the daily lives of those in Spanish speaking countries. This is why, for translators it is of extreme importance (especially for non-native speakers) to acknowledge one of the most helpful resources that the Cervantes Institute offers on this subject: Refranero multilingüe.

This rich information base is a result of the research of groups like Fraseología y Paremiología from the Complutense University in Madrid, which gathers academics from numerous countries. In this Refranero multilingüe we can find, other than an exhaustive list of aphorism organized alphabetically, other very valuable information such as synonyms, antonyms, hyponyms, detailed explanations of the aphorisms, and example of context use.

The most fascinating tool of this web site is probably the option of finding the equivalent of these phrases in other languages. This is how we find out that the very Spanish saying “Tanto va el cántaro a la fuente que al final se rompe” has its equivalent in current German usage of “Der Krug geht so lange zu Wasser, bis er bricht” as well as in Russian “Повадился кувшин по воду ходить, там ему и голову сломить”. Indeed, each language has a different literal translation, but its implication is in fact same.

In conclusion, as translators and perhaps for other curious people, we have an undeniably useful tool in our hands that provides input on these aphorisms.

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