December 11th, 2011

Artemis - Layer Cake

"Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop"

I find this English saying really annoying due to its lack of direct translatability into any language that I've ever studied. (It's supposed to mean waiting for a predicted bad thing to occur.)

Do other languages have an analogous saying that's less... unintuitive? (I know this is a very loaded term because it totally depends on what culture(s)/language(s) you've been exposed to, but I can't think of another way to put it. Which probably means that I shouldn't be asking it...)

I'd like the phrase, what it more or less literally means in English, and its specific figurative meaning.

EDIT: I'm amused that there seem to be multiple interpretations of this saying in English (and that it's not very common outside the U.S.?) I'm a future mental health provider (or I hope to be one anyway), and one of the more popular mental status evaluations I've seen includes "proverb interpretation" to assess client's ability to think abstractly, and this is one of the "proverbs" I've seen used. Such assessment often gets quite tricky even with the aid of a medical interpreter...
female, drow

Arabic names and writing...

How do the Arabic differentiate between the proper nouns and the names - as in Karim, which is also a proper noun meaning 'generous'; Khalid, IIRC, means 'immortal' or 'long-lived' ... etc.

Also, I know there is no set system of transcribing Arabic into Latin alphabet. Is that why a common given name, /aiʃa/, has so many spellings...
Polish: Aisza
Spanish: Aixa
French: Aicha
English: Aisha, Ayesha
German: Aischa

Any spellings I missed?

What do the names: Binta, Mustafa (Moustapha), Jaffar mean?
hannibal » silhouette

Impact of spoken language on ability to do math?

I recently came across an interesting book that devoted a chapter to the impact of language on learning math. It didn't come as a surprise to me that the author slated Chinese (and other Asian) students as having a natural advantage in math, because of the language they learn it in.

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Edit: Thank you very much for your feedback. Your input was really insightful for me and I learned loads! I really appreciate it.