Why is it that in French you can’t literally say My foot hurts so it becomes j’ai mal au pied?
Why do you want to literally translate it?
Mon pied me fait mal. = "My foot hurts".
J'ai mal au pied = "I have a sore foot".
Both are valid translations.
I mean why is it that the translation for j’ai mal au pied” is "I have pain in the foot and you cannot translate it word for word.
You may as well ask why in English we have the odd idea that it is your foot hurting rather than you, or instead of saying you have a pain in the foot.
Would it not be because the pain is in your foot therefore your foot hurts
I think Ian is trying to point out that French is not English translated but a unique language in itself. Actually, the reason there are so many cognates is because English has taken them from the French (not the other way around).