Long texts

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by 涼宮, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)

    Do you have a metaphor, expression or something to refer to long texts colloquially? Or do you have an expression for asking to be brief? In Spanish, at least in my country, we make use of the word ''testamento'' (will/testament) to refer to long texts.

    For example, you are talking to a friend who asks you to explain something to him, then he says '' pero no me escribas un testamento, sé breve'' lit: but don't write a will, be brief.

    It can be used by everyone, teachers also use it on and off when asking for summaries.
  2. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    We Finns write novels (romaani).
    Teidän ei tarvitse kirjoittaa romaania - vain muutama lause siitä, missä olitte, mitä teitte ja mitä söitte.
    You need not write a novel - just a few sentences on where you were, what you did, and what you had for dinner.
  3. Selyd Senior Member

    In Ukrainian: "тільки не пиши мені роман, напиши коротенько" - ''pero no me escribas una novela, sé breve''
  4. Perseas Senior Member

    In Greek:
    "γράφω μυθιστόρημα" --> "to write a novel"
    "γράφω την ιστορία της ζωής μου" --> "to write the story of my life".
  5. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Maging tuwid ang pangungusap/ tuwid na pananalita lang. ( be straight to the point)
  6. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French, colloquially, we can say:
    "un roman" (literally: a novel)
    "une tartine / des tartines" (literally: slice of bread / bread (and butter/jam/...) (yes, the kind you eat! :D))
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  7. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    One metaphor that comes in mind in Hebrew is מגילה Megilá "Scroll".
  8. catlady60

    catlady60 Senior Member

    Nazareth, PA
    English-US (New York City)
    One American English metaphor that comes to mind is: Quit sounding like a politician and get to the point.
  9. snoopymanatee

    snoopymanatee Senior Member

    In Turkish,

    we use the word "destan" which means "saga" for long texts.
  10. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    That is weird! :D est-ce que vous connaissez la rasion pour laquelle on dit ''une tartine''? Je le trouve bizarre et amusant :)

    Any reason for referring to scrolls? I guess they were important a long time ago, or perhaps they still are :D

    When one beats around the bush too much, in Spanish we use the verb cantinflear. Thanks to the great actor Mario Moreno(cantinflas), from him we got that verb.

    Do you know its origin? Why saga? Televisions?
    I see most use ''novel'', that makes Spanish weird :D
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    In Flemish Dutch ;-) :
    een epistel (a letter, but mainly referring to the church context, suggesting that the content is not very personal, somewhat boring), but also
    een hele boterham (a slice of bread and butter, which reminds me of 'tartine', but Lady Prudence ;-) calls it 'toast' - in Dutch it is not; eating boterhammen implies filling one's stomach as in general there is bread, butter and something extra on it, so took some time to digest).

    I would not mention rond de pot draaien here (beating around the bush, literally 'turning around the pot'), because that implies not telling the truth straightforwardly, whereas telling long stories does not necessarily imply wishing not to tell the truth. It just means being langdradig, 'long-thready'... ;-)
  12. ancalimon Senior Member

    The Turkic word sayga and destan (which might be a Persian loan or a Turkic loan derived from the verb "diz" meaning "to put in order, verse" just like the root of "sayga" which is "say" which also means to "put in order, to count and to say") are only used for, well.. sagas.

    Laf kalabalığı would be the one we use in Turkish. It means "a crowd of talk that is more than necessary"
    We have something similar to "but don't write a will, be brief.". That is 1) "Uzun lafın kısası" : "shorter version of the long empty talk" 2)kısa kes (to cut short) 3) laf salatası (a salad of empty talk ; overabundance of words)
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  13. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    I don't know and this article doesn't help!
    And yes, as Thomas mentions, it is rather "bread (and butter/jam/...)" than "toast", I have corrected it.
    But as I see it, it may come from the fact that you make one thing unnecessary long, you spread it on your bread to cover as much as possible?
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  14. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Well, you might be right, Lady Prudence: either will be correct. But I think mine is more plausible, because our definition of boterham does not imply any extras and in Flandres it used to be a double slice... ;-)

    Of course if someone were speaking, we might say (have said, I don't hear it any more) that they are going to Paris through Brussels, which for us is out of the way, a detour... ;-))
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  15. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Also in internet slang, «γράφω σεντόνι» /'ɣrafo sen'doni/ --> "to write a sheet"
  16. ajo fresco

    ajo fresco Senior Member

    Another way we refer to a very long text, in American English at least, is to call it "War and Peace" (which is known as one of the world's longest novels).
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In Portuguese we also say "testamento", (last will and) testament.
  18. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Hungarian: litánia [litany]
  19. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Czech: román, litánie;
  20. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    The Russian name of the 4-volume novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, "Война и мир" ("Voyna i mir"), has become a common colloquial name for long texts in Russian. We may also use роман ('novel'), поэма ('long poem'), or талмуд ('Talmud', although this one usually refers to thick books rather than long texts as such).
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  21. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Could you explain the different words in the Tolstoy quote?
  22. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    There is also litanie in Dutch, also religious.
  23. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    "Война и мир" ("Voyna i mir") is not a quote, it's the Russian name of the novel, which means exactly "War and Peace". Names of books, films, pictures, songs etc. are used with quotes in Russian.
  24. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Forgive me, I was too quick !
  25. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    I forgot another word: простыня (prostynya, 'bed sheet'), which usually refers to texts several pages long. All the five metaphors I listed are used ironically, of course.
  26. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch

    I think of the Bible scrolls. I see quite some references here to religious things, which might always seem long and dull...
  27. Nawaq Senior Member

    français (France)
    A long text (or SMS) can be said to be a pavé (cobblestone). Heard it today again...
  28. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    That reminds me of a turf, a thick book in Dutch. The origin is not so clear. Maybe it refers to a mass of peat, turf referring also to the way it was traded, the quantity... But I think both pavé and turf refer to physical masses, literally heavy things...
  29. ilocas2 Senior Member

    long texts:

    Spanish: textos largos

    Croatian: dugi/dugački tekstovi
  30. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia
    In colloquial Catalan I've heard la Bíblia ("the Bible"), parrafada (Spanish párrafo "paragraph" + -ada), or less commonly totxo ("brick") and textaco (Spanish texto + -aco, an augmentative suffix). I'm just describing what I hear, because obviously parrafada and textaco aren't correct at all.
  31. @Diamant7, why do you think parrafada and textaco wouldn't be correct at all? I've personally never heard textaco, but it could work, as you've said, as a suffixed word, even if not officially recorded. Parrafada is way more common, I'd say, and shows up in our dictionaries (marked as 'colloquial'). Of course, I'm talking about an informal register (the simple fact of thinking a text is too long could be considered as an evidence of not so distinguished level of erudition. ;) Hence the generally casual expressions > EDIT: I realise my limited English proficiency maybe doesn't allow me to properly point out the hint of irony in this statement, but that was what I genuinely meant!).

    Anyway, like in Catalan, there is also the Spanish word tocho (usually suffixed tochaco) which conveys the same meaning.

    In Italian, I think the most common expression would be scrivere un poema, 'to write a poem' (in its longest acceptation -- just think of an epic poem, for instance). But I've also heard occasional allusions to the novel War and peace, for its renowned lenght.
    Cos'è, stai scrivendo Guerra e Pace? (informal) 'Are you writing War and Peace'?
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  32. Sardokan1.0

    Sardokan1.0 Senior Member

    Sardu / Italianu
    As said by Paloma, in Italian the most common expression is scrivere un poema, 'to write a poem'

    But in Sardinia the most common expression is not poema but "testamento" (in Italian) which is most likely the 1:1 translation of the equivalent Sardinian expression :

    ite ses iscriende? unu testamentu? (what are you writing? a testament?)
  33. Armas Senior Member

    As soon as I saw the thread title I thought "κατεβατό".
  34. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Yes of course, that too :thumbsup:
  35. ilocas2 Senior Member

    The only correct form is litanie, not litánie

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  36. Armas Senior Member

    In Finnish I'd say litania is used to describe long enumerations.
  37. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    In Macedonian, we say "реферат" (pl. реферати), which literally translates to English "report" (so it would appear, but I'm not good with document-related terminology in any language). Among my friends, I'm famous for writing "реферати" while we text on Facebook.
  38. Frieder

    Frieder Senior Member

    In German there's the word Bleiwüste (lit.: plumb desert)which describes a long text without paragraphs or outer structure. It dates from olden times when books and newspapers were created by type-setters working with metal types.
  39. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    In Mandarin, there is an old saying:
    "(The article or report is like) the cloth an old woman used for foot-binding: both smelly and long."
    But the slang is regional and old-fashioned.
  40. Red Arrow :D

    Red Arrow :D Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium
    In Dutch, there is also:

    Je moet niet je hele leven opschrijven. - You don't need to write down your entire life.

    But that sentence probably exists in every language.
  41. Stan Jan

    Stan Jan Member

    "Nie pisz elaboratu, pisz krótko" - Don't write a treatise, put it short.
    "Napisał długi epistoł" - he wrote a lenghty letter
    "Tomiszcze", "Cegła"(lit. a brick) - a long book
  42. Awwal12

    Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    I also encountered портянка (portyanka, [pɐɾ'tʲankə] - a footwrap) in the same meaning.
  43. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Palestinian Arabic: جريدة (jariide), "newspaper" or مجلّد (mujallad), "(thick) volume"
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  44. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)

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