5 Beautiful Non-English Sayings

sayingsIt should come as no surprise that English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the entire world. It’s the third largest language when it comes to native speakers, behind just Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, and when it comes to both native speakers and non-native speakers, English is well on its way to becoming the most popular language on a global scale.

With more than 914 million speakers worldwide, there are tons of popular English phrases that circulate on a daily basis. It’s important to remember that there are plenty of beautiful phrases in other languages, too, and working on international projects has led us to learn some beautiful non-english sayings. Here are a just few that are worth incorporating into our daily vernacular.

1. Vestis virum reddit.

This Latin phrase meaning “clothes make the man” dates back to ancient Rome. Even though Latin is technically a “dead” language, the phrase relates to modern times, and it’s entirely fitting in today’s society. It also happens to roll off the tongue, making it the perfect conversation starter at your next cocktail party.

2. Les carottes sont cuites!

This French phrase literally translates to “the carrots are cooked!” What does it actually mean? You can’t change the situation so you might as well just accept it. It’s comparable to the common English phrase “don’t cry over spilled milk,” but it sounds so much more elegant in French, doesn’t it?

3. Quem não tem cão caça com gato.

This Portuguese phrase translates to “he who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat.” Basically, it means you ought to make the most of what you have. It’s certainly an insightful way to remind yourself that life isn’t all that bad if you know where to look; some of the best hunters are jungle cats after all.

4. Vivre sans aimer n’est pas proprement vivre.

Another popular French phrase, this one translates to “to live without loving is to not really live.” If Paris really is the City of Love, it’s no wonder the French have such beautiful phrases to describe it.

Another popular French quote on the subject is “aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction,” which means “love doesn’t mean gazing at each other, but looking together in the same direction.” It’s a shame there are no English phrases that sum up the true meaning of love so succinctly, but that doesn’t mean we can’t borrow from the French.

5. Tomaten auf den Augen haben.

A German phrase, “tomaten auf den Augen haben” literally translates to “You have tomatoes in your eyes.” Though that doesn’t seem to make much sense, it actually means you cannot see what everyone else is seeing. It often references actual physical objects, though, as opposed to abstract meanings.

Even though these phrases might not make sense in their literal translation, they’re all beautiful examples of common foreign phrases. Indeed, many English phrases don’t make sense if you take them literally, either. That’s the beauty of language, though; we’re all trying to say the same thing, even though we might be using different words.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Bureau Translations a leading company that provide translation services for businesses.