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Borem mhunn borem

“Thank God” — An expression of relief about what has or has not happened or what has or has not been done Borem mhunn borem literally means “good, hence good” which in slightly better English could be “It’s good, so it’s good”. Borem is neuter singular and both the occurrences of the word in the … Continue reading »

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Hispa bhair

Beyond reckoning Languages have their own peculiarities, and it may not always be easy or even possible to translate a phrase or sentence from one language to another. At times it is a question of economy of words. We have earlier mentioned the present habitual tense which is embedded so seamlessly in Konkani grammar (Please refer to … Continue reading »

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Resident son-in-law Ghor-zanvui is the lucky man who for whatever reason inherits his parents-in-law’s house and thereby makes it his own. Most often it is because his wife is the only child of her parents. Or it may be that she does have a brother who is either an idiot or a priest. But whatever … Continue reading »

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Kalchi Koddi

Yesterday’s curry Kalchi koiddi  used to be a very common phrase in the days gone by. Today it may not only sound stale but it may even be considered to represent something stale. Who would opt for yesterdays curry, after all? But such wasn’t the case in those days. Kalchi koddi owes its origin to … Continue reading »

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Hat pãi zhorounk

to slog and slave for a cause Hat-pãi zhorounk literally means to rub away or wear out one’s  hands and feet. The phrase is used to portray the dedicated hard work and intense labour one may have to go through for a relatively long period of time in order to further a particular cause like bringing up children or building … Continue reading »

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Mhojea patkacho khuris

The cross of my life “Mhojea patkacho khuris”   literally means, “The cross of my sin (singular)”, i.e., “the punishment for my sins”. It is generally used to describe a person, and usually a close family member, who is a source of one’s suffering. As you can see, it is generally and most appropriately (and sometimes even … Continue reading »

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Bhitorlê budicho

sly, crafty Bhitorlê budicho  strictly means: of inner mind. The word bud  has several meanings: it can stand for mind, advice, wisdom, and even lesson. It is equivalent to sly and hence is a pejorative phrase. The word bhitorlê takes a feminine ending because the word bud is feminine, but it is an adjectival phrase, … Continue reading »

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Fetiêk mharog

Costly by design This phrase has its origin in jewellery. Gold, for example, is expensive enough. But the quality of the design adds to the cost, mainly due to the goldsmith’s labour involved. The phrase is used when the material is relatively cheap but the cost of the finished product grows out of proportion to the cost … Continue reading »

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Umtea Kollxar Udok

Water off a duck’s back Umtea kollxar udok  literally means “water on a large upside-down water pot. The equivalent English metaphor, “water off a duck’s back”,  is therefore almost a literal translation of the Konkani one, except that as the water is poured from above, the umto kollso  below is replaced by the duck.  Yet the Konkani metaphor is perhaps more … Continue reading »

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Bara brêstar ani tera sunkrar

Utter destruction “Bara brêstar ani tera sunkrar” literally means “twelve Thursdays and thirteen Fridays” and offers no clue to its intended significance. It is true that the number thirteen has been generally considered as unlucky, so much so that sometimes even builders and owners of apartment buildings give in to the superstition and take you from … Continue reading »

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