Some English phrases that I find amusing or strange, and the first thought that enters my head when I hear them:
I saw it with my own eyes. Who else’s eyes would you have seen it with?
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Why would I get cake if I wasn’t going to eat it?
A rolling stone gathers no moss. Moss? No thanks.
The early bird catches the worm. Night owls eat real meat.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat. But what’s the best practice?
I know there are meanings and possibly stories behind these, of course. But I can’t help myself sometimes.
I’m curious though, about the origins behind how we started using these phrases, and how we ended up saying these things over and over again. How we understood their underlying meanings so fully.
It’s like the Cantonese phrase fong fei kei, which, when directly translated means “release an airplane”. But what it actually means is standing someone up.
I love the fact that language has a fluidity to it. Just like how programming languages get updates — to make them more efficient — language evolves as well.
Because at the end of the day (look, one of those phrases!), isn’t the point of language to communicate? In as efficient a way as possible?