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Re: USAGE: Inventing gunpowder & idioms

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Saturday, March 6, 1999, 19:47
Daniel Andreasson wrote:

> >>>> > - Inventar a roda. (To invent the wheel) > >>>> > To work hard to make something that had already been done and > >>>> > could have been used. > > >>>> Interesting. We have a similar idiom, "re-invent the wheel", in > >>>> English. > > >>>Also in Dutch, as well as "a storm in a glass of water" that means > >>>a trivial upset that's made far too much of. > > >> Strange! We have exactly the same expression in French "une tempe^te dans > >>un verre d'eau" with exactly the same meaning! >
Not so strange, really. Don't people swap cultural and linguistic information across languageboundaries? They did in Chaucer's day; and do so in all times.
> It would be interesting to know if they are shared by Indo-European langs or by > langs spoken in Europe. That is, if it's cultural or linguistic.
It seems obvious to me that these particular idioms, inventing the wheel and a storm in a glass of water are cultural borrowings. Europe is a tiny area, and its people are pretty multi-lingual and cross-cultural. I can't imagine that these expressions could derive from any other source than shared reading and speaking. Sally