Learning a new language can sometimes feel like a never-ending trek through tricky grammar and vocabulary. But fear not, because today we’re taking a hilarious detour from the serious stuff and diving into the world of Mongolian idioms. These quirky expressions not only provide a glimpse into the culture but also add a splash of humor to your language learning journey.
So, buckle up for a fun ride as we explore 15 of the funniest and most common Mongolian idioms, along with their English counterparts.
Top 15 Best Mongolian Idioms To Learn The Language
1. To Milk A Bull – Bultargakh N Khoshin Shog
Ah, the age-old practice of milking bulls – Бултаргах нь хошин шог. In Mongolian conversations, that’s a metaphor for attempting the impossible. This idiom is akin to “drawing water from a stone” in English. Just imagine trying to milk a bull, and you’ll get the picture!
2. The sky won’t become a pot – Tenger Khos Baih Bolokhgui
If you’ve ever wished the sky could turn into a cooking pot, this idiom is for you. Written as Тэнгэр хос байх болохгүй, it’s used to remind someone that their extravagant dreams might just be a tad unrealistic. In English, we might say “when pigs fly.”
3. Like A Camel Seeing Thorns – Khon’ Sordog
It’s used when someone looks utterly bewildered or confused, much like a camel faced with an unexpected prickly situation. It is written as Хонь сорьдог.
4. To Tie A Louse To A Blade Of Grass – Shorondoo Shuluun Aldakh
Can you imagine attempting to tie a louse to a blade of grass? Well, neither can Mongolians! This idiom, written as Шорондоо шулуун алдаг, highlights the absurdity of doing something entirely pointless – similar to the English saying “make a mountain out of a molehill.”
5. A Sheep In A White Fence – Tsagaan Khertsgiin Mal
This idiom perfectly captures the idea of a person who appears innocent and harmless on the outside but might have a few tricks up their sleeve. It’s like “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” in English, only with a delightful Mongolian twist. It is written as Цагаан хэрцгийн мал.
6. To Make A Haystack For Someone Else’s Camel – Uhliin Shireenig Khovorduulakh
Think about it: why would you painstakingly make a haystack a camel? This idiom, written as Үхлийн ширээнийг ховордуулах, is used to describe going out of your way to help someone who doesn’t appreciate your efforts, much like “casting pearls before swine” in English.
7. To Retrieve Butter From Tea – Khorkhoid Sanaa Butsaakh
As much as we’d love to extract butter from tea, it’s just not happening. This idiom signifies a futile attempt – similar to the English expression “to beat a dead horse.” It is written as Хорхойд санаа буцаах.
8. To Look For Two Humps On A Single-humped Camel – Khoyor Khongoroi-goo Khaih
Хоёр хонгоройгоо хайх – this one is used when someone is overcomplicating a simple task. In English, it’s like “making a mountain out of a molehill.”
9. Your Camel Isn’t Big – ShorooIikh Chi Bus
Don’t be alarmed if a Mongolian tells you your camel isn’t big (Шороо их чи бус) – they’re simply saying you’re overestimating yourself. It’s akin to “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” in English.
10. A Wild Horse Doesn’t Long For A Saddle – Aldartai Yamaa Sakhal Baria Bus
It’s a poetic way of saying “you can’t tame a wild heart only the profit,” much like the English idiom “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” It is written as Алдартай ямаа сахал бариа бус.
11. To Search For Glasses While Wearing Them – Shav’jyn Amtaig Dunduur Khaij Butsaakh
Шавьжын амтайг дундуур хайж буцаах. This idiom hilariously points out someone’s oversight, similar to the English idiom “can’t see the forest for the trees.”
12. To Catch A Mouse With A Sneeze – Chikhereer Chikhig Tatakh
Imagine trying to catch a mouse with a sneeze – that’s just as unlikely as the situation this idiom describes. It’s like the English expression “chasing your tail.” The idiom is written as Чихэрээр чихийг татах.
13. To Love Your Mother Like Your Glasses – Eejee Mash Khairlaa Shav’jakh
This idiom emphasizes deep love and appreciation even the abundance, similar to the English phrase “to love someone to bits.” It is written as Ээжээ маш хайрлаа шавьжах.
14. To Have White Food During A Philosophical Discussion – Ukhaany Shirdeg Tsagaan Khol Baih
It’s like the English phrase “talking shop over lunch.” This idiom is written as Ухааны ширдэг цагаан хоол байх.
15. To Find A Camel In The Gobi – Khorin Zoriud Khondoo Aldna
Locating a single camel in the vast Gobi Desert is quite a feat – just as improbable as what this idiom describes. It’s akin to the English idiom “finding a needle in a haystack.” It is written as Хорин зориуд хоньдоо алдна.
And there you have it, curious language learners! Mongolian idioms that’ll have you chuckling your way to language proficiency and the country’s customs. Remember, behind every idiom lies a cultural chuckle you can share with good friends or a local. You can also learn about Mongolian proverbs & beginner phrases to learn the language.
So, dive into the linguistic world of Mongolia and uncover the wit, humor, and wisdom these escaped words hold. Happy learning, and may your camels always find their way back to the steppes of understanding!
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