In Part One I introduced a few sayings and just started to touch on the intriguing subject of where these sayings originated from.
In the case of the title ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, http://www.knowyourphrase.com says:
“This idea of it being more difficult to teach things to an older dog has been around since at least the early 1500s. For example, in Fitzherbert’s Book of Husbandry, 1534.”
Another well- known phrase ‘going cold turkey’ is likely to have originated from America or Canada, see www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/…/origin-phrase-cold-turkey.
The notion of ‘beating about the bush’ is an old saying that is quite common and Tim Lambert in The meanings of some old sayings explains:
When hunting birds some people would beat about the bush to drive them out into the open. Other people would than catch the birds. ‘I won’t beat about the bush’ came to mean ‘I will go straight to the point without any delay’.
If you just want a straightforward website without any frills, with an extensive range of phrases and their meanings see, users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/sayindex.htm.
Certain expressions such as ‘bad hair day’ and ‘filthy rich’ are now part of everyday language used in the UK, yet they originated from the USA. For more information see: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/american-phrases-and-sayings.html.
The Chinese are also well known for their sayings (proverbs) and an interesting site which shows the similarities between English and Chinese words of wisdom can be found on www.chinesetolearn.com/20-famous-and-wise-chinese-proverb. This site is also useful if you want to impress your friends with a new language as it shows all the phrases in Mandarin. An example from the site is:
Two heads are better than one. 三个臭皮匠，胜过诸葛亮 sān ge chòupíjiàng, sheng guò Zhūgé Liàng (“Three unskilled cobblers are superior to one Zhuge Liang.”)
We can go even further with impressive knowledge from across the globe by quoting some African Proverbs like:
Love has to be shown by deeds not words. Swahili proverb.
The fool speaks, the wise man listens. Ethiopian proverb.
For more of these gems see, www.siliconafrica.com/100-african-proverbs-i-always-keep-with-myself/.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this taster from the smorgasbord that is English Language sayings. I could go on and on about this subject, but I think I have said ‘enough already.’ So I had better sign off now, before I wander down the path of clichés.
Have a nice day!