19 March 2008

Romanian Idioms: a face din ..., a face pe ...

Here are some entries in the Dicţionar Frazeologic: Englez-Român, Român-Englez (Teora, 2007). I've added literal translations (in square brackets) and edited the idiomatic ones, except those in quotes.

The two patterns here are: a face din X Y lit. 'to make from X Y', corresponding to English to turn X into Y; and a face pe (Xul/Xa) 'to do/make the X', corresponding to English to play the X, where X is a definite noun indicating a type of person. Personal direct objects in Romanian require the untranslated preposition pe, which in other contexts most commonly translates into 'on', as in pe jos 'on foot'.

a face din alb negru şi din negru alb [to make white into black and black into white] to blow hot and cold, to play fast and loose

a face pe cineva din cal măgar [to turn someone from a horse into an ass] to discredit (a discredita), or to humiliate (a umili) someone

a face din lână laie lână albă [to turn grey wool into white wool] "to turn geese into swans"

a face din noapte zi [to turn night into day] to turn night into day

a face din om neom [to turn a person into a nonperson] "to undo smb."

a face din ţânţar armăsar [to turn a mosquito into a stallion] to make a mountain out of a molehill

a face din zi noapte [to turn day into night] to turn day into night

a face pe boierul [to play the lord] to play the lord, lord it (over others)

a face pe bolnavul [to play the sick] to fake illness

a face pe bufonul [to play the fool] to play the fool

a face pe clovnul [to play the clown] to play the clown, "to bear the cap and balls"

a face pe deşteptul [to play the clever] to play expert, give oneself airs

a face pe gazda [to play the host] to play host

a face pe mărinimosul [to play the benefactor] to pretend to be generous

a face pe mironosiţa [to play the prude] to pretend to be innocent

a face pe modestul [to play the modest] to fake modesty

a face pe moralistul [to play the moralist] to play the moralist

a face pe mortul [to play the dead] to play possum

a face pe naivul [to play the naif] to act naive

a face pe nebunul [to play the fool] to play the fool

a face pe neştiutorul [to play the ignorant] to feign ignorance

a face pe politicosul [to play the polite] to act polite

a face pe prostul [to play the idiot] to play the fool

a face pe savantul [to play the savant] to play the scholar

a face pe sfântul [to play the saint] to play the saint

a face pe tiranul [to play the tyrant] to play the tyrant

a face pe victimul [to play the victim] to play the victim

UPDATE: Here's a nice idiom that begins with a more typical use of pe 'on'.

pe dinafară trandafir, pe dinăuntru borş cu ştir [on outside rose, on inside borscht with pigweed] "fair without, foul within"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cum ar traduce "Fii hotarat"?