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Heres the problem with the idioms lesson - It goes from English idioms (that some people don't understand when their native language is english) to portuguese idioms. It should just stick with translating Portuguese idioms into normal non idiomatic English so that we understand better what the phrase actually means!!
Translation should be done by meaning, though. For idioms, that means translating into the equivalent idiomatic expression in the other language, which may be the same or quite different.
In this case, the literal translation of "Are you going to save your father from the gallows" is not used in English, so you would have been taught a technically correct but functionally incorrect translation. Granted, this one would likely be easy to figure out in context (or you may encounter an English speaker who is aware of the Portuguese idiom, and there you go, the literal translation works just fine), but there are some other idioms that just don't make sense when translated literally.
Unfortunately, the limitation of this (free) program is that it can't account for non-native speakers of English, so you're stuck learning idioms in two languages. I agree it would be better if Duo provided an explanation that gave the equivalent expression, the literal meaning (not just mouseovers), and context for idioms.
That may be so, but the problem is that idioms belong to time, place and social group. An equivalent idiom in the Southern California or London may not apply elsewhere. It's worth noting that the country with the second most native English speakers and highest total English speakers is India. Are any Indian English idioms used at all? I think idioms should state where they are used, voted by users
I disagree. If somebody didn't know what the word "butter" meant, would it make sense to translate "manteiga" as "churned milk?" Having a literal translation focuses people too much on understanding each and every word, rather than being able to grasp the gist of something as it's employed in natural contexts -- both in their native and in non-native languages. This is a much healthier and incidentally more natural way of learning a language, and can offer the learner a double lesson when he/she looks up the meaning of the English idiom to boot!
[Also -- when you mouse over the words it does show you the literal translation of each one...so....]
I completely agree; however, it would seem to present a very big problem for the mods because there could be several possible idiomatic translations of each of these idioms. And each of these might have multiple valid variations. For example, on this question, "what's the hurry" is accepted but "what's your hurry" is not (I reported). Other potential translations are "what's the/your rush," "where's the fire," "who's in labor," and I'm sure dozens of other regional variations. It's an enjoyable way for the really engaged users to learn various idiomatic expressions using the comments as supplementary explanatory material, but for the casual user the Duolingo format is a bit awkward when it comes to idioms.
That is correct, but there is more to it. A richer explanation would include thst the person asking this question wants the other person to slow down.
Imagine a traffic cop pulling a driver over for speeding. The first thing the policeman says to driver is, "Where's the fire?" He doesn't really want the driver to explain why he's driving so fast. Instead, he wants to point out that there is no fire, and therefore the driver should slow down.
Another time this would be used: Imagine teenage boys running out of the house to join their friends, perhaps for a party. They are rushing towards the door without stopping long enough to tell their mother good night. Father stops the boys and says, "Hey! Where's the fire? Slow down and kiss your momma goodnight before you leave this house!"
I hope this helps.
romey1212; the meaning of the idiom is that if you were to free your father from the gallows, you'd do that rather quickly. How to use it? Imagine someone running really fast down the office hall, apparently without a real reason Then you could say: "Hey! Are you going to rescue your father from the gallows? Why the hurry?" In Spanish (in Costa Rica, specifically) we say "¿Tenés la leche en el fuego? - Do you have milk burning on the stove?"
It is used to tell someone to slow down. If there were a fire burning dangerously, then of course good people would run to the scene to help extinguish it. They would be running as fast as they are able.
So, when you see someone rushing -- as they would to a fire -- but don't believe there is a justification for their hurry, you can ask them, "Where's the fire?"
The answer, of course, is that there is no fire. This should make them realize there is no emergency, and they should therefore slow down.