Pustolovina: adventure in Serbian

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

kako se kaze 'incomprehensible?'

So in my travels in Eastern Europe, I picked up a couple of local idioms. . . my favorites are how people say something is incomprehensible.

In English, the phrase is 'that's Greek to me.'
In Polish, it's 'that's a Czech movie.'
In Serbian and Slovak, it's 'that's a Spanish village.'

I know the derivation of the Polish phrase - MP, my host in Wroclaw, said that it is because southeastern Poland picks up some Czech TV channels and the movies they show never make any sense.

Any insights into the derivation of the Serbian/Slovak phrase would be most appreciated. What's so strange about Spanish villages?

Another language note: in Polish jagoda means blueberry while in Serbian and Slovak it means strawberry. There should be a good story about a confused fruit peddler behind this fact, but I don't know where to find it. . .


  • At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think it's simple. Hardly anybody in Serbia/Bosnia/Croatia really knows what a Spanish village would look like :)

    I read somewhere though that Sephardi Jews, who came to Balkans from Spain, coined or ignited the use of the phrase.

  • At 5:59 AM, Blogger Brad said…

    I've heard the one about the Czech movie.

  • At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Germans say: "That's Spanish to me" (because of the - seemingly - odd ceremonies at the Spanish court) or "Those are Bohemian villages to me" (Bohemian villages seemed very remote to average Germans in the Austro-Hungarian empire, and they didn't understand the language either.)

    Spaniards say: "That sounds Chinese to me" (Me suena a chino.)


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