Map of Idioms from Around the World


An idiom is a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words. For example, "don't cry over spilled milk," or "the cat is out of the bag." Idioms are fun to use, and fun to hear -- don't you agree? And I think idioms are even more fun if you have to first translate them from another language! That's what this example demonstrates, and I thought it was cool enough to share with everyone!

I spent a while with my friend Google, searching the web for interesting idioms from other countries. I was especially interested on ones that were in a different language, translated directly/literally into English, and then had an explanation of what expression actually means. I copy-n-pasted my findings into an Excel spreadsheet, and here's a little sneak peek at what it looks like:

I'm a tester at heart, and the main thing I wanted to test here was whether SAS could correctly import all these characters from different languages, and also output the characters correctly in the SAS output. I found that the key to success was making sure my SAS session used utf-8 encoding. There are a couple of ways of doing that, and I chose to specify a sasv9.cfg file that contained the "-ENCODING UTF-8" option.

sas.exe worldwide_idioms.sas -config "c:\program files\sashome\x86\sasfoundation\9.4\nls\u8\sasv9.cfg"

Here are some screen captures showing a variety of language characters successfully displayed in my SAS output table, and the mouse-over text for my map:

And finally, here's what you've all been waiting for ... click the map image below, to see the full size interactive version of the idiom map. You can then hover your mouse over the red dots to see the idioms in the mouse-over text, or click the red dots to launch a Google search for more idioms from that country. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite idiom, or slang expression, from your area? Feel free to share it in a comment!

This blog was reposted from the SAS Learning Post. Go there to view the original.

Robert Allison, The Graph Guy!, SAS

Robert Allison has worked at SAS for more than 20 years and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in computer science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from North Carolina State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book calledSAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics.

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Re: Fun & Funny
  • 5/24/2017 10:33:38 PM
NO RATINGS

Never is my most favorite time for meetings, especially the unproductive ones!!!

Why do we keep going through the motions of meeting when nothing gets accomplished!?

Re: Fun & Funny
  • 5/23/2017 10:02:09 AM
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@Broadway - except nobody believes in reincarnation.

At least the speaker is making fun of the idea as being a remote, unlikely and distant proposition.

Yeah, it's never going to happen. And this is just a funny way of saying so -

One afternoon in your next reincarnation.

 

Re: Fun & Funny
  • 5/23/2017 9:58:00 AM
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A cartoon from The New Yorker years ago depicted an executive behind his desk thumbing through his calendar while on the phone, with the caption, "How about never? Is never good for you?"

LOL

@T Sweeney - Yes, never is perfect. Exactly what I had in mind too.

Re: All buttered up
  • 5/23/2017 7:03:29 AM
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..

Seth writes

 It takes a  cold country to come up with "There's no cow on the ice."   I would love to use a few of these at work or around friends and see if they can figure out what I mean. 

They'd probably be puzzled by some of the old Southern aphorisms my mother would quote when I was a child. Like, "They're as poor as Job's turkey." Or "It's cold enough to freeze the horns off a billy goat."

..

Re: All buttered up
  • 5/23/2017 1:57:11 AM
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It is really funny how every culture comes up with it's own idioms that reflect not just their views but their envirnoment.   It takes a  cold country to come up with "There's no cow on the ice."   I would love to use a few of these at work or around friends and see if they can figure out what I mean. 

 

Re: Fun & Funny
  • 5/19/2017 11:37:45 PM
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..

Robert's map cites one idiom from the USA: "That dog won't hunt" (That excuse or explanation fails).

That's a Dr. Phil-ism (at least, Dr. Phil is the only human being I've ever heard actually use this phrase in conversation). Another Dr. Phil variant is: "I've got a dog in that hunt" (I've got an interest in that activity or enterprise).

..

Re: Fun & Funny
  • 5/18/2017 5:11:40 PM
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My favorite is from Japan. Literally it means" even monkeys fall from trees". I guess humans everywhere make mistakes.

Re: Fun & Funny
  • 5/17/2017 10:01:25 PM
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Wait a second. If you believe in reincarnation, couldn't that saying be interpreted to mean, "Good things come to those who are patient"?

Re: All buttered up
  • 5/17/2017 12:06:59 PM
NO RATINGS

I haven't tried any idioms on Google and Alexa, et al but it should be interesting to see how they react to all those expressions. Interesting article and how to map them out! I think I'll go have a pop now. (Midwestern for having a soft drink!)

Re: Fun & Funny
  • 5/17/2017 11:17:15 AM
NO RATINGS

Love this post, I recently took my daughter on a trip to Ireland and she loved all the local idioms, it was a look at how in an another English speaking country people can still speak English differently. Now, I have a handbook-- another great add Robert. It makes us all aware of how AI will still be tricky to implement since language is so subjective.

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