Friday, January 16, 2009

How do you say "It's all Greek to me" in Sinhala?

Apparently, you would say, "It's all Telugu to me!"

In Arabic, you would say, "It's all Hindi to me!"

Over at Language Log, Mark Liberman presents a directed graph of which language is used to denote incomprehensibility in a given language.

Among the Indian languages, there are two -- Telugu and Hindi -- at the receiving end of this graph, but none at the other end.

I couldn't think of a similar phrase in Tamil, but seriously, how do you say such a thing in any Indian language? If you have an answer, hop over and tell Liberman!


  1. gaddeswarup said...

    That is an interesting expression: 'Andhra Tamil' for Telugu. I wonder how it came about. I think at some stage one of the Nayakas from Tamilnadu was coopted to rule Ceylon, since the earlier ruler died without any descendants. Has it got any thing to do with this?

  2. Chetan said...

    In Marathi similar sentiments of incomprehensibility are expressed about Kannada but they are expressed in a slightly different context. Whenever someone doesn't do something he/she was told to do, then Maharashtrians will say, "Was I speaking in Kannada when I asked you to do that?"

  3. Anonymous said...

    >If you have an answer, hop over and tell Liberman!

    Or apply for SCIL grant :)