How we express ourselves in different languages has always been of interest to me. The way we say things tells us a lot about a person’s cultural background. Unfortunately, I know only one language other than English and that is Spanish. But what an expressive language Spanish is!
Not long ago, I walked into my office and the bookkeeper said in Spanish..."Ya viene el calzon sin gente". Needless to say, I was a little taken aback for the saying that I had always heard was "gente sin calzones". The second saying has a double meaning. You really need to watch for those double meanings when speaking Spanish. My reaction was, of course - " What did you say?"
To get you in the loop, the literal translation was “here comes the person without underwear" which is to say I had lost a lot of weight and my clothes were hanging on me. That was a play on words and a re-working of the common saying "gente sin calzones"...translated means people without underwear. I will let your mind run wild with the last and original saying. I can' t remember all the words, but there is even a song in Spanish called Sin Calzones, Sin Calzones.
The Spanish language is much, much more expressive than English and sometimes the Spanish language gets right to the point while in English we may use a lot of words to say the same thing.
For instance, let's talk about speaking the truth. In English, we might say, "I want you to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth;" while in Spanish, one might say, Tell me the "verdaddesnuda." Tell me the "naked truth."
Now that is really expressive! Can you imagine the truth being naked - just the bare truth with no embellishments, no excuses and no blaming someone else? It's just the naked truth!
Another common saying in Spanish regards being tough, the one in control, the one strong enough to make the decisions and stand by them. We may say, "Who wears the pants in the family?" The equivalent in Spanish would be "No traes los pantelones?" That is almost an insult in Spanish and certainly gets the point across when someone is wishy, washy and can't make a decision.
Not long ago, a lady was overheard as she innocently made a comeback with a double meaning. Shock was registered on the Spanish gentleman's face before he burst out laughing. The gentleman offered to assist the lady as, using a walker, she stepped up on a high sidewalk curb - a rather difficult undertaking. When he offered assistance, the lady replied - "No, I can do it, but a man is always better."
Remember the advice? Watch out for those double meanings!