Friday, 22 April 2011

"Pink glasses"

A widespread phrase "pink glasses" has become current a long time ago not only for psychologists and literary critics, but also in everyday life. But sometimes, using the phrase “to look through pink glasses” in speech, not everyone understands its value. Yes, it is very good to have pink glasses in a combination to other accessories of female clothes. But in this case it is a problem of a phraseological unit that has certain lexical value.

So, how do dictionaries define the given combination of words? For example, we find in Ushakov's dictionary: "pink glasses" — the phraseological unit meaning illusory, naive perception of an objective reality, as a rule, imposed any ideology.
Probably this idiom has come to us from English language? In English it sounds like “to look at smth through rose-colored glasses”, maybe, our “to look at something through pink glasses” is taken from a foreign language?

Pink dreams - to look at everything through pink glasses or to see all in pink color or light (to idealize everything not to notice lacks).
Expression «he wears pink glasses» is usually applied to the person when it is meant that the mentioned person doesn't wish to notice negative factors in the actions, the surrounding validity and etc.

In the Cambridge dictionary of idioms we find “rose-colored glasses” or “rose-tinted glasses” and it is described in the following way: ”If someone thinks about something or looks at something through pink glasses, he considers it as more pleasant, than it actually is“. This expression is characteristic for the British, Australian and American variants of English language.

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) mentioned it in “worldly wisdom Aphorisms”: ”… those who see everything in black color and is ready to the worst, are mistaken less often in the calculations, than people who look at life through pink glasses“.
In Russian literature - one of the first mentions of this expression – we find in Vitaly Bianki's fairy tales about animals. In a fairy tale the hare who has found pink glasses and for some time perceived world in very optimistic light. It continued till he met a wolf.
If to address to psychology of color and the characteristic of pink color the use of the given phrase as idealized representation of the validity becomes clear.

Pink color is the color of romanticism and optimism. It can seem that it is preferred by people who are not too responsible, who can shift the duties on shoulders of others … Pink color is a mix of red and white. There is a force, stability, and ease, winged sentiments in it. Courage, and tenderness, love - not with the concrete person but with life. Pink not only provokes affability, but also lowers malignancy and aggression. Pink color is passive, it calms and softens emotions.
Color therapy recommends pink to people who can hardly calm down. Whatever heavy your day is, when you see pink color, you won't manage to keep aggression.

Pink is the most passive of all colors, it provokes affability and reduces aggression, both internal, and external.
And there are "the pink glasses", allowing to see the world with a happy children's infantile sight.
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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Break a Leg!

Two young track-and-field athletes, Jim and Frank, are having a talk before the run of Jim’s: “You know, I wish you all the best today, Jim! Break a leg!” “Thank you, Frank! I’ll do my best.”

This conversation seems rather confusing, doesn’t it? But it’s not what some of you might think it is. Frank’s Break a leg! is far from being a wicked remark made out of envy of Jim’s possible success, as well as his skills. What’s more, Frank IS frank enough in wishing all the best to his friend. It sounds queer, yet Break a leg! is not said to mock the athlete, but to REALLY support him and wish him good luck.

It’s interesting to know that the phrase has a theatrical origin. I don’t mean to say it is originally used as an intent to get people’s attention. I mean it is related to theater performances. Why, the theatre is notoriously superstitious. Therefore it is believed that wishing “good luck” to your colleagues is deemed bad luck, a taboo to say. So “break a leg” used to be actually utteredd as an euphemism and is still employed to wish good luck to somebody, especially before some important event or performance, in precise.

I simply adore English for being such an ironic language at times, especially in the variety of puzzling idioms and catchphrases it has. It is always much fun to translate such phrases into Russian.

Imagine a situation in which an interpreter translates some idioms wrong. It can be either funny or causing some trouble. To avoid mistakes we should be aware of the existence of such false friends of interpreters and translators, and never be too selfassure to ignore checking words up in a dictionary or two.

Another funny example I like is a phrase “to have nothing upstairs”. Not quite sure if it is commonly used by English speakers, yet I saw it yesterday in my Idioms Dictionary and fell in love at first sight. Let’s see if you understand the meaning of it within the following context I’ve just made up:

“Did you hear Mary yesterday at the conference? She’s got a brain of a pigeon! She seems to have nothing upstairs!”

So, as you can see, English idioms are very funny and challenging indeed for a non-English-speaker to understand. I will be posting sometimes about my favorite ones to share my enthusiasm about them with you.

And you? Are there any funny idiomatic phrases YOU can recall of? Have you ever come across a problem of translating idioms? Do you think they may cause misunderstanding in comunication?

Please, share! .)

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011


There is a great variety of emotions. We always feel something. It can be negative or positive. It can be a very strong feeling or can be not. We can not always express them. However, they are in us.
Different people define emotions in different ways. Some make a distinction between emotions and feelings saying that a feeling is the response part of the emotion and that an emotion includes the situation or experience, the interpretation, the perception, and the response or feeling related to the experience of a particular situation.
Emotions control your thinking, behavior and actions. Emotions affect your physical bodies as much, as your body affects your feelings and thinking. People who ignore their emotions, make themselves feel uncomfortable. Emotions that are not felt and released but buried within the body can cause serious illnesses. Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, negativity, frustration and depression cause chemical reactions in your body that are very different from the chemicals released when you feel positive emotions such as feeling happy, content, loved, accepted.
You cannot change or control your emotions. You can learn how to be with them, live peacefully with them, releasing them but you can never control them. The more anyone tries to control their emotions, the more they resist control, and the more frightened people eventually become at what is seen to be a “loss of emotional control”. People feel uncomfortable with those who express strong emotions. We are taught to hide our emotions, to be ashamed of them or to be afraid of them. We are born with them and must live with them. This means learning how to know them, be with them, and release them.
People should live in peace with their emotions...
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Saturday, 16 April 2011

What a Bonny Wee Bairn

Picture by Kieran Meehan.

If you didn't uderstand a slightest thing in the whole joke, there's no need to feel devastated, for it does not mean you have failed in your English (which was actually Scottish)! Yet it does mean you'd better read this post up to the end not only to get the humour right, but to learn some more amusing Scottish words.

Let's start with one of my favourite words that could be well heard in the closes (= alleyway that leads between the blocks of flats sharig a common entry) of Edinburgh or Glasgow. The word is wee.

To hear the word and it's explanation you can visit The English We Speak, where there are two funny showmen to teach you how not to confuse the Scottish wee with the Japanese Wii. But if you do not feel like making that wee research, simply look at the picture again! Can you try and deduce the meaning of the word yourself?

Oh, yes, I can well imagine that puzzled look in your eyes right now. But do not stop trying! Let's do it together step by step.

Step 1.
Describe the picture. Whom do you see in it? Aha, right you are! An old lady talking to a young lady with a little baby in a pram. Three characters in total. So, who is HE in the talk of an auld (=old) lady? Presumably, a baby! Well done!

Step 2.
Describe the action of an auld lady. Whom is she looking at? So, any clue on whom is the What a wee bairn exclamation aboot (=about)? I'm more than sure you've guessed, she's talking aboot a little baby. So who is a wee bairn? Exactly!

Step 3.
The auld woman is amused by the wee bairn, yet she sorrowfully says he'll soon be sloating about street corners. Give a synonym to the phrase. Brilliant!

Step 4.
Just learn what Buckie is. Buckie is a tonic wine. Usually considered as rather cheap. Mostly drank in Scotland.

Step 5.
Read the sentence again. What have you understood? An auld lady is talking to a mother of a wee bairn, who can possibly grow up to drink Buckie in the streets, making a diddy of himself. Guess what is the meaning of the word diddy. Still face a problem? Peep into!

Hurray! We have done it!

Now that you have understood the joke, we may discuss it!

Do you think this picture depicts a burning issue of a modern society, especially in terms of a growing generation?

I'm eager to hear from you! What are YOUR thoughts on the issue?

PS Those who still require the translation, do not hesitate to ask for it!
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