All Slavic languages: not to understand at all

Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello, what interesting, funny idiom / simile do you use in your language for people who does not understand something at all. The Czech example can help you.

Czech: rozumí tomu jako koza petrželi [he understands it like the goat the parsley]

Russian: он разбирается в ней как свинья в апельсинах [...like the swine the orange]

Thanks.
 
  • vianie

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Hello Encolpius, one example from Slovak​ - Rozumieť niečomu ako hus pivu - To understand something like the goose the beer.
     

    Azori

    Senior Member
    Hello Encolpius, one example from Slovak​ - Rozumieť niečomu ako hus pivu - To understand something like the goose the beer.
    Or alternatively: rozumieť sa do niečoho ako hus do piva (~ to be as knowledgeable/well versed in something as a goose is in beer)

    Another one: španielska dedina (Spanish village), as in e.g. "je to preňho španielska dedina" (lit. it's a Spanish village for him = he doesn't understand it at all/it's all Greek to him)
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    In Polish:

    "To dla niego chińszczyzna" - 'it's chinese stuff for him'
    "Znać się na czymś jak kura na pieprzu" - 'to know something like a hen knows pepper'
     

    oveka

    Senior Member
    Ukraine, Ukrainian
    Ukrainian:
    Тямиш, як Хома на вовні wool
    Тямиш, як свиня в дощ rain
    Тямиш, як свиня в апельсинах orange
    Знається свиня на перці pepper
     

    Irbis

    Senior Member
    Slovenian, Slovenia
    In Slovenian:
    to mu je španska vas (it's a Spanish village for him)
    na to se spozna kot zajec na boben (he versed in it like a rabbit (hare) about a drum)
     

    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Polish:

    "To dla niego chińszczyzna" - 'it's chinese stuff for him'
    "Znać się na czymś jak kura na pieprzu" - 'to know something like a hen knows pepper'

    I also heard znać się (na czymś) jak świnia na gwiazdach (= to know sth like a pig knows stars)
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Nie rozumieć czegoś ni w ząb. -- literally: Not understand something not in a tooth.

    EDIT:
    In Polish:

    [...]
    "Znać się na czymś jak kura na pieprzu" - 'to know something like a hen knows pepper'

    I also heard znać się (na czymś) jak świnia na gwiazdach (= to know sth like a pig knows stars)
    It's worth it to mention that the core concept of these expressions is "knowing something" rather than "understanding something". They both may overlap, and they often do, but they are different in essence.
     
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    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Describing a particular event we also say: Siedział jak na tureckim kazaniu. (= He was sitting like at a Turkish sermon - so it was all Greek to him :)).
     

    Vanja

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    The "Spanish village" (špansko selo/шпанско село) idiom is also present in Serbian.
    And for knowing nothing is and/or when understand nothing is:
    Zna kao moja baba Windows - He/She knows it like my grandma knows (of) Windows.
     

    swintok

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    This isn't quite the same thing, but I heard a wonderful phrase in Ukrainian about someone who has a look of complete incomprehension on his face:

    Дивиться, як теля на нову хвіртку (фіртку in the original dialect).
    He's looking (at me) like a calf at a new gate.
     

    vianie

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    This isn't quite the same thing, but I heard a wonderful phrase in Ukrainian about someone who has a look of complete incomprehension on his face:

    Дивиться, як теля на нову хвіртку (фіртку in the original dialect).
    He's looking (at me) like a calf at a new gate.

    pozerať ako teľa ~ look like a dimwit
    pozerať ako teľa na nové vráta ~ stare agape (at)

    pozerať is usually expressed by other words like čumieť or kukať
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    This isn't quite the same thing, but I heard a wonderful phrase in Ukrainian about someone who has a look of complete incomprehension on his face:

    Дивиться, як теля на нову хвіртку (фіртку in the original dialect).
    He's looking (at me) like a calf at a new gate.

    Isn't it a Western dialect by any chance? In Polish there is a similar word ("furtka"), but it means 'a wicket'. :)

    There is also a quite similar comparison in Polish, except that the gate is rather big and rather painted than new: "Gapi się, jak cielę/wół, na malowane wrota" ('is gaping like a calf/ox at a painted gateway').

    We can also say "jak sroka w gnat" ('like a magpie at a bone') or ("szpak w karabin") 'starling into a rifle', the latter also having a rather rude variant of what the starling can look into.

    I've also come across something completely different, namely about having eyes looking for wisdom ("mieć oczy poszukujące rozumu"). Apparently more for a situation when someone looks foolishly around instead of gaping at a single spot.
     

    thegreathoo

    Senior Member
    Srpski
    This isn't quite the same thing, but I heard a wonderful phrase in Ukrainian about someone who has a look of complete incomprehension on his face:

    Дивиться, як теля на нову хвіртку (фіртку in the original dialect).
    He's looking (at me) like a calf at a new gate.

    We have that too. It refers to an empty stare, but it's related to being clueless.
    Gleda (blene, bulji) ko tele (krava) u šarena vrata. (Stares like a calf (cow) at spotted (colorful) doors.)
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    It seems that idiom "Spanish village" exists only in ex-Czechoslovakia and ex-Yugoslavia in the whole world.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    ...while the gates simile is quite ubiquitous in Slavic. Here it is in Russian:
    <смотреть, глядеть, уставиться...>, как баран на новые ворота = <to stare> like a ram at a new gate, often used as a question.
     
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    M_L_P

    Member
    Slovene
    This isn't quite the same thing, but I heard a wonderful phrase in Ukrainian about someone who has a look of complete incomprehension on his face:

    Дивиться, як теля на нову хвіртку (фіртку in the original dialect).
    He's looking (at me) like a calf at a new gate.

    This one is present in Slovene as well:
    gledati kot tele v nova vrata
     
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