Idioms. They are wonderful constructs of language, where the literal meaning of a phrase is different from the figurative meaning. So, I wanted to touch on a few of them that have been salient to me. The first two are not in English, but I’ll explain how they are idioms anyway 🙂
This post touches on one of the comments that was left for me after I changed my Facebook profile picture to the announcement of my thesis defense. One of my former Hebrew teachers wrote the following comment:
בהצלחה!!! מזל טוב
Literally, this means, “In success!!! Good luck”
However, as might be known in popular usage of מזל טוב (mazel tov), it is frequently used on birthdays and weddings and other celebratory occasions to mark the successful attainment of something. That is, mazel tov is frequently used idiomatically to mean “Congratulations!”
On the other hand, בהצלחה is one that you don’t hear in everyday English vernacular. As aforementioned, the literal meaning of that word (pronounced b’hatz’la’khah) is “In success.” The (bare) context clue led me to see that it was the literal definition of mazel tov, i.e., good luck. You would think that it would make more sense to reverse these two meanings, but it doesn’t quite seem to work that way 🙂
While I’m at it, I might as well mention another idiom which I have always been bamboozled by. Why is it that in stage vernacular, “Break a leg!” is a way to say “Good luck!” I’ve had experience with breaking a wrist, and it is not fun, nor is it lucky at all. (Well, I suppose maybe it was lucky in that my wrist broke and not my head.)
And the countdown continues! Not only are the hours counting down, but my chances to cut down the length of my presentation. (In a dry run this morning, it went waaaaaaaay over time!)
Today is the twenty-ninth day of the fourth round of M.A.P.L.E. That makes four weeks and one day.
Countdown to D-Day: 3 days. Specifically, 64 hours and 29 minutes remain.