Expressions of Europe

Enough of the seriousness! Time to explore the puns, proverbs and playfulness that characterise how our linguists spend their time. Whether they’re trying to be formal, funny or fiendish, come have a chuckle or twist your tongue to Europe’s most curious manners of speaking.

European Strange Laws

What exactly happened to make it illegal to own a single guinea pig? Why would lawmakers ban peeing in the ocean? Who thought it credible to forbid getting drunk in a pub? Or, for that matter, to stop people locking up burglars, running ‘violently’, driving dirty cars, or sleeping on a bench?

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European Animal-Related Idioms

Hold your horses! How much do you know about Europeans’ animal idioms? Does the Slovenian roosters’ breakfast ring you a bell? Will you pay the Portuguese duck for that? Do not worry: we won’t let you swallow French grass snakes!

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European Countries’ Nicknames

Have you ever wondered what your neighbouring country’s nicknames are, and how they got them? Do you know which European country is considered the Land of a Thousand Lakes? Where do the nicknames ‘Albion’, ‘Hellas’, ‘Magyars’ or ‘Lusitania’ come from?

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European ‘Bon Appétit’

It’s all about European cuisine… but in its great diversity! Mahlzeit! wishes you the German, Hyvää ruokahalua! replies the Finn, Dobrou chuť! says the Czechs and Bon Appétit! answers the French.

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European Nationality-Related Idioms

When Spaniards “pretend to be Swedish“, they just pretend to be ignorant… When Romanians “steal the German’s pipe“, they are just getting drunk… And Slovenians “go to Rome” when they give birth!

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European Palindromes

You may not know but “Romanians are aces in love”, “in the morning even yogurt makes you fat” in Serbia, “Cheese has a smell” in Croatia, “Karin shave well” in Sweden, or “mice have no grandsons” in Italy…

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European Superstitions

What happens if you bite your tongue in Serbia? If a bird shit on you in Lithuania? If you spill wine on the table in Portugal? If you knock on wood in Germany? Or if you touch the red pompom of a sailor’s beret in France?

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European Jokes

But who are we poking fun at? Belgian jokes are very popular in France, such as jokes on Swedes are very common in the Nordics. In the Baltic countries, people tend to laugh at Estonians, whereas in Balkan countries, they do jokes on Bosnians.

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European Tongue Twisters

“She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore”, “Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal”, “Les chaussettes de l’archi-duchesse, sont-elles sèches, archi-sèches ?” Tongue Twisters will teach you a lot on European culture and history.

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