There are plenty more fish in the sea!

You might be looking at the title wondering what on earth you are getting yourself into in today’s blog. However do not fear, I am not going to be giving you dating advice, but instead am going to be discussing an important element of language…idioms! 

So what exactly is an idiom? Well an idiom is a word or a phrase which means something different from its literal meaning, an example in English being ‘break a leg’. Rather than actually wanting someone to break a leg we use this expression to wish someone luck. As idioms cannot be directly translated they are a difficult part of learning a language but are essential if you want to truly feel like a native.

Below are 5 of my favourite Spanish idioms:

1. Tomar el pelo

Literally ‘to take the hair’. Yep, you read that right. Although our equivalent in English doesn’t make much more sense: ‘to pull someone’s leg’. This idiom means when you tell someone something that isn’t true to play a joke on them.

2. Ponerse morado

‘To get purple?’. WHAT IS GOING ON? Well this lovely idiom translates to ‘to eat like a pig’ in English which of course means to eat a lot!

3. Tirar la casa por la ventana

‘To throw the house through the window?’ What do these Spaniards get up to on the weekends..? Well, whilst they are throwing houses through their windows in Spain, here in the UK we are ‘sparing no expense’. This handy idiom means to spend as much money as possible to make something good, without considering the cost.

4. Ser pan comido

‘To be bread eaten?’ What are these crazy Spanish people talking about you might ask? Well in English we would say something equally as strange- ‘it’s a piece of cake!’. If you’re not familiar with this idiom it means something is really easy!

5. Estar más sana que una pera 

‘To be healthier than a pear’. This idiom is slightly more self explanatory than the previous ones- describing someone who is in very good health. The English equivalent (which you may have heard of) is ‘as fit as a fiddle’.

So next time you have a conversation with someone in Spanish see if you can slip in one of these to impress them!

Sometimes I feel like I’m in Barcelona.

Visiting a new country or city gives us an amazing opportunity to experience things we haven’t before such as trying food we have never eaten, discovering history we never knew existed and talking to people we otherwise might not talk to. It is the ultimate test of our ability to be open minded and yet some of us still choose to go on holiday and act as though we were still at home.

I have always believed that to fully embrace a language you must have an understanding of the culture that surrounds it. My own interest in Spanish at school extended very quickly to an interest in Spanish culture and developed during the year that I lived in Spain. Whilst living there I was very keen to find out about the people, the food and the customs and my observations are something which I love sharing with my students.

Recently I visited Barcelona for the first time. I love going to Spain and this trip was no different. Staying with a lady living in the area of Barceloneta allowed me to receive fantastic insider tips and advice as well as giving me the chance to practise speaking to a native. Spending days wandering through the city on foot and by bike, tasting local cuisine and embracing the culture meant that I could truly experience everything Barcelona had to offer. Its amazing how talking to someone in their language, trying the food and and taking a genuine interest in the culture makes a visit so much more worthwhile.

So next time you take a trip to a country or city you haven’t been to before think about the opportunity you have to get to know a new culture. Trade your burger and chips for that exotic local dish, swap the overcrowded tourist haunts for the quiet side streets and ditch the English to attempt to pronounce something in the language. You won’t believe the satisfaction you get, trust me. 

What is the best city you have been to? Did you embrace the culture?