Apologies to everyone who has written to me since Monday without receiving a reply.
I wrote back to the first couple of people who entered our ‘competition’, but then got overwhelmed!
A valuable lesson was learnt, though.
To get lots of people involved in something, make it easy!
And another, I really mustn’t run a competition at the start of a week in which I have loads of other commitments!
Both Monday evening and Tuesday I was teaching, and so was unable to interact with people online as I usually do.
But honestly? I hadn’t realised that the ‘apple’ expression was used in English, too.
Guess that’s one of the perils of living abroad for decades – things start to get mixed up…
So anyway, who was the winner?
Well, virtually everyone was correct, but I couldn’t resist Leslie’s answer, as it was the craziest!
Okay, okay, okay . . . I’m finally going to win something. I can’t believe you’ve asked such an easy question!!
The expression ‘La mela non cade mai troppo lontano dall’albero’ means:
If a tree falls in the woods near your house during the Hindu festival of Mela (look it up!), it won’t be far away and, to answer the age-old question, you WILL hear it fall. Or . .
If an apple falls from your Maltese neighbors’ (and, so are nicknamed “mela.” Look it up!) tree which hangs over your fence, legally, you’re within your rights to take it so long as it’s not far from the fence. Or . .
If you own a CD of the 2000 Bollywood film, “Mela,” (I kid you not! Look it up) and it falls from your bookshelf made of (what else?) wood (which comes from, where else? a tree), then it won’t fall so far away that you can’t pick it up while still sitting comfortably in your favorite TV chair.
So, what do I win???
Make of that that you will. But she certainly deserves a free ebook, for effort.
Email me the title of something from our shop that takes your fancy, Leslie, and I’ll get it right off to you.
More mainstream answers included those from Mike, Derek, Annlinda, Ruth, Brenda, Patsy, Rita, Jadwiga, Fiona et al., who translated the expression as ‘The apple never falls far from the tree’ and offered various explanations including:
– genetically and environmentally you are the product of your parents and upbringing
– a child is like their parent; has similar character or similar qualities
– you’re just like your no-good daddy (or mama). It’s seldom meant as a compliment.
– if you are a rotten cook, your children are likely to be as bad.
– ‘Genetics will out.’ Or as my husband puts it: “God! You are just like your mother.”
Marcus and Jacky from Australia suggest that the expression was also used to refer to the ‘tug’ that brings us back to our home/origins, and that it was first recorded in German rather than English.
Susannah mentioned that, in the US, there’s a variant: “The acorn doesn’t fall far from the oak tree.”
And Janneke and Jenny wrote to tell me that the exact same expression exists in Dutch: “De appel valt niet ver van de boom.”
Gamze kindly explained that in Turkish people say ‘pear’ instead of ‘apple’.
Petter sent me the Swedish equivalent (which I must make a point of memorising): “Äpplet faller inte långt från trädet.”
Erika and Antje both separately wrote in with the German version: “Der Apfel faellt nicht weit vom Stamm.”
And according to Iren, in Hungary they say “Az alma nem esik messze a fájától”.
Yehudis, Stefanie, Valerie, Carol and Johan all suggested that the ‘apple’ expression means the same as, or is similar to, “Like father, like son” (“Tale padre, tale figlio”).
Yehudis explained it to me in Italian:
In altre parole, le caratteristiche dei figli assomigliano ai genitori. E di solito, si parla sui tratti negativi. Ma ci piace pensare che anche include il bene!!
Many thanks also to Bernadette, David, Jon, Terry, Anne, Margaret, Alicia, Anna, Alan, Neil, Zsuzsanna, Stefanie and others who wrote in, but who I haven’t directly quoted here.
OK, so what’s new today?
Another noun in our current series.
This one is less idiomatic, but useful anyway.
(You can find the others in this series here. Or why not visit the club website to explore thousands of pages of free material for learning Italian?)