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Monday, November 19, 2012

Serbian Idioms - "Doterati Cara Do Duvara"

The Serbian idiom "doterati cara do duvara" has the similar meaning as the English one "to come to a head". I have often heard  this phrase in my childhood, always wondering what "duvar" might mean.

The word "duvar" is a loan word, and if you go to Google translate and check it at Turkish-English translation, you'll find out that the meaning of the word is "zid" (wall). So, the literal translation would resemble the expression "to drive someone (in this case "the tzar") up the wall" and yet, Serbian phrase for this expression (drive someone up the wall) is "dovesti nekog do ludila" (or litterally "make someone crazy"). You can check the pronunciation of these two idioms here, at our audio forum (and I hope you'll surprise your Serbian family or friends by pronouncing the phrases correctly and using them appropriately).

Talking about the usage, I was really surprised that in my group of eight teenage students only one had heard of  "doterati cara do duvara". She explained that her teacher of Serbian insists on students learning and using proverbs and idioms, but she also hasn't heard of the phrase being used outside of the classroom!  Does this mean that we tend to use idioms less frequently, or is it the case just with this idiom ? Maybe the world has changed for better and  retko iko ikada (rarely does anyone) "dotera cara do duvara" :)

What do you think ?

1 comment:

Mark @ Odista Translations said...

Hey, this is great - I was looking for some interesting Serbian idioms for a kind of fun page I am working on here: http://theserbianlanguage.wikispaces.com/Serbian-idioms - I am trying to list some GOOD translations into English (not those silly ones!) of Serbian idioms, although I am starting with the very well-known ones. Though some might say I am looking for a hair in an egg ;)

I must admit I hadn't heard "doterati cara do duvara" - I love these phrases where the actual meaning is obscure and you actually have to look into the etymology to find out what they mean. Another example of that is "podeliti na ravne časti". Unless you have studied other Slavic languages (e.g. Russian) you might not know that "čast" means "part" and has nothing to do with honour in this case. Hence the meaning is "share into equal PARTS".

Anyway, sounds like you are doing some good work here promoting Serbian - keep it up :)

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