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Thread: Walls have ears

  1. #1
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    Walls have ears

    Further to the interesting thread from earlier today on the different words used in each language (except perhaps English) for different types of wall, I have a further question.

    In English, we might say, "The walls have ears" (meaning Be careful, you never know who might be eavesdropping). You might tap the side of your nose, in a knowing manner, while saying it (such action would be stereotypically melodramatic).

    Is there an equivalent idiom in other languages, or would one simply have to be more literal?

    El escocés

  2. #2
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    Re: Walls

    In Italian we use the same expression (even if we don't tap the side of our nose )
    "The walls have ears" = (Anche) I muri hanno orecchie
    Quello che voglio per Me lo voglio per Tutti

  3. #3
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    Re: Walls

    In Portuguese, too: "As paredes têm ouvidos".
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

  4. #4
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    Re: Walls

    Interesting, many thanks. Suspicious (or cautious) bunch, we Europeans.

  5. #5
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    Re: Walls

    Romanians are pretty "cautious" as well:

    Walls have ears = Pereţii au urechi.
    "I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around" - The BFG/Roald Dahl

  6. #6
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    Re: Walls have ears

    English: Walls have ears (as well).
    Bulgarian: (И) Стените имат уши.
    Russian: И у стен есть уши.
    Greek: (Kαί) οι τοίχοι έχουν αυτιά.

  7. #7
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    Re: Walls have ears

    In Hebrew: אוזניים לכותל
    [ozna'im la kotel]

  8. #8
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    Re: Walls have ears

    In Spain we say: las paredes tienen oídos

  9. #9
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    Re: Walls have ears

    Hi,

    In Dutch: de muren hebben oren.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
    If you open your mind too much, your brain might fall out.

  10. #10
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    Re: Walls have ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguel Antonio View Post
    In Spain we say: las paredes tienen oídos
    Do you really?
    Over here we say "Las paredes escuchan" (walls hear)

  11. #11
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    Re: Walls have ears

    French: Les murs ont des oreilles !

  12. #12
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    Re: Walls have ears

    In Polish we have the exact counterpart:
    "Ściany mają uszy".

  13. #13
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    Re: Walls have ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangy View Post
    Do you really?
    Over here we say "Las paredes escuchan" (walls hear)
    Here we say "las paredes oyen".

    On the other hand, there's ironically "sordo como una tapia" ("deaf as a wall").
    Every time you don't correct my mistakes, God kills a kitten!

  14. #14
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    Re: Walls have ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Quizá View Post
    Here we say "las paredes oyen".

    On the other hand, there's ironically "sordo como una tapia" ("deaf as a wall").

    Yo también estoy de acuerdo en que las paredes más que escuchar o tener oídos, oyen.
    Aunque donde yo vivo es habitual la confusión entre escuchar y oír, en esta frase hecha, las paredes oyen

  15. #15
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    Re: Walls have ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamar View Post
    In Hebrew: אוזניים לכותל
    Which may be the source for this expression as it is from a book that was written in the sixth century (ויקרא רבה).

  16. #16
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    Re: Walls have ears

    Arabic: للحيطان آذان (lil-HiiTaani aadhaanun)
    Learn to stop arguing once you have won.

  17. #17
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    Re: Walls have ears

    In Czech:
    I stěny mají uši. ((also) walls have ears)

    In Lithuanian:
    Ir sienos girdi ((also) walls hears)
    or ir sienos turi ausis ((also) walls have ears)
    Last edited by kusurija; 28th May 2008 at 7:14 PM. Reason: corrections of translation "I"/"Ir"
    Su pagarba: 薬屋 (S úctou: kusurija) As I'm too poor in English, please repair my mistakes. Prašau pataisyti, jei ką netiksliai parašiau.

  18. #18
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    Re: Walls have ears

    In Latvian:

    Sienām ir ausis

  19. #19
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    Re: Walls have ears

    In Japanese:

    "Walls have ears" is a set phrase but it is actually a part of a well-known proverb:
    壁に耳あり、障子に目あり。
    Kabe-ni mimi ari, shōji-ni me ari.

    Walls have ears, screen sliding doors have eyes.
    Always give as much context as you think unnecessary. How do you like your lamb leg steak? — Medium, right leg!

  20. #20
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    Re: Walls have ears

    How curious that the saying should also exist that far away! I wonder if European languages got the expression from Japanese...
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

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