Friday, July 27, 2012

Tagalog Idiomatic Expressions: Part I

When studying foreign languages, one of the trickiest things that people usually have a bit of trouble with are idiomatic expressions.

Still, as confusing as they may be at first, there's always some correlation between the idiomatic expression and its actual meaning, so today, I'm going to share some Tagalog idiomatic expressions with you as well as some brief explanations of the rationale behind them.

Tagalog: Pagputi ng uwak / Pag-itim ng Tagak (literally, when the crow has turned white / when the stork has become black)
English Counterpart: When hell freezes over. / When pigs fly.
Meaning: Something that's very unlikely to happen.

Tagalog: Makati ang kamay (literally, hand is itchy)
English Counterpart: Sticky fingers
Meaning: Someone who is always itching to steal something

Tagalog: Makati ang paa (literally, foot is itchy)
English Counterpart: Someone afflicted with wanderlust
Meaning: Someone who's always itching to go somewhere else.

Tagalog: Matamis ang dila (tongue is sweet)
English Counterpart: sweet-talker
Meaning: Someone who'll tell you compliments that they don't mean just to get you to do what they want you to.

Tagalog: Manigas ka! (Stiffen up)
English Counterpart: Go die! / Drop dead! / Like hell, I will!
Meaning: There's no way I'm going to do that even if you dropped dead in front of me.

Tagalog: Itaga mo sa bato (literally; hack it on a rock)
English Counterpart: Mark my word. / Carved in stone
Meaning: Remember my words because I will make sure that they will become a reality.

Tagalog: Sumisipsip (sucking)
English Counterpart: Sucking up
Meaning: Trying to gain someone's favor by doing everything that might please them

Tagalog: Parang naghahanap ng karayom sa gitna ng dayami
English Counterpart: Like looking for a needle in a haystack
Meaning: Doing something that requires too much effort without any guarantee of success

Tagalog: Mahirap pa sa daga (poorer than a mouse)
English Counterpart: As poor as a church mouse
Meaning: Extremely poor. Probably because mice only rely on scraps, so if you're poorer than a mouse, you are very poor indeed.

Tagalog: Nagsusunog ng kilay (literally, burning eyebrows)
English Counterpart: Burning the midnight oil
Meaning: Working very hard -- usually to catch a deadline or to pass an exam (originated from the time when people were still using oil lamps to finish stuff until late into the night.

Tagalog: Mani (peanut) / Sisiw (chick)
English Counterpart: Piece of cake
Meaning: Something that can be easily accomplished (I'm not sure about the origin of this one, though).

Tagalog: Maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan (literally, the peel will get mixed with the thing that was already peeled).
English Counterpart: All hell will break loose.
Meaning: Chaos will ensue if a particular thing was done.

Tagalog: Dadaan sa butas ng karayom (will pass through the eye of the needle)
English Counterpart: Go through fire and water
Meaning: You will face impossible odds before you accomplish something.

That's it for the first batch.  I'll be adding some more next time. For now, I hope you learned something new and of possible use in the future. (^_^)


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