Miriam
Let’s talk about the elephant In the room
One of the few sentences I remember from the time I started learning Spanish with Duolingo was “¿Tocaste un elefante?” (Did you touch an elephant?). While I’m still waiting on my chance to use this phrase in real life, there are much more interesting expressions with elephants like, well, the elephant in the room, an obvious problem that nobody wants to discuss. It seems that other languages are also adopting this idiom, so I’ve seen on some Spanish websites “el elefante en el cuarto/ la habitación”. Also, the white elefant, a costly but useless object, seems to be in use in several languages. This article explains various  expressions with the word elephant in English:

In German we have these funny elephant idioms:
aus einer Mücke einen Elefanten machen (to make an elephant out of a mosquito) = to make a mountain out of a molehill
sich ein Elefant im Porzellanladen benehmen (to behave like an elephant in a china shop) = to behave like a bull in a china shop

What idioms with elephants do you know in English and other languages?
Mar 24, 2019 8:54 AM
Comments · 18

A Chinese elephant idiom

盲人摸象 (mang ren mo xiang), is literally translated as ‘Blind men touching the Elephant'.

There once were four blind men. One man was a successful Accountant, another was a wise Scholar, another was a renowned Doctor and the last blind man was a famous Fortuneteller. They had all met in a market and each took turns to boast about their achievements and admirable reputations. The Accountant claimed that his calculations were never wrong, the Scholar declared that he was the smartest of the bunch, the Doctor professed that his medical practices were the most heard of, and the Fortuneteller stated that he was the most powerful of them all. Inevitably they broke out into an argument. Then an elephant and his guide came through the market. The guide announced the elephant’s arrival. Slowly, the men began to approach the elephant and were positioned at various parts of its body. The Accountant touched the elephant’s ears and thought it was a fan. The Scholar felt the trunk of the elephant and was adamant that it was a snake. The Doctor was at the elephant’s rear and was certain that its tail was a rope. And the Fortuneteller glided his hands across the body of the elephant thinking that it was a wall. The elephant guide then posed the questioned; 大象怎么样?which means, ‘how is an elephant?’. The men individually described the elephant but their bickering quickly resumed as they all argued for their particular view (that the elephant is a fan, snake, rope and wall). The elephant's guide told them that they were all wrong because they had all experienced different parts of the elephant.

The moral of the story appears to be that we should not be like the blind men who touched the elephant (不要像盲人摸象一样)-- we should not jump to conclusions with insufficient data/information/evidence.


Source:  https://goodlucksj.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/blind-men-touching-the-elephant-%E7%9B%B2%E4%BA%BA%E6%91%B8%E8%B1%A1/


March 24, 2019
Seems we shouldn't let elephants enter any stores...
March 24, 2019
There is an African idiom that I know in Arabic says: "نقيق الضفادع لن يمنع الفيل من الشرب" which is literally "frogs' chirping will not prevent the elephant from drinking " and it means not to be bothered by any nonsense and go ahead without looking at it.
March 24, 2019
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Miriam
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)