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Joy

'Repetition teaches the donkey': Fun father and son duo share their favorite Arabic sayings

What does it mean to tell someone to 'Go tile the ocean floor'?

arab saying, arab language, arab food

Danny Dubbaneh and his father.

In 2016, Danny Dubbaneh and his brother Jimmy started Z&Z, a Middle Eastern foods company just outside of Washington, D.C., to share the “bold flavors of za'atar with the rest of the world” as well as Middle Eastern culture and hospitality.

Za'atar is a spice mix that can be used as a rub for chicken, beef, lamb or fish. It’s also sprinkled over hummus, labneh or baba ganoush.

Danny created a YouTube channel Z&Z TV where his family shares the joys of Middle Eastern culture. On August 2, Danny released a popular video of himself and his father, affectionately known as Baba, explaining some popular Arabic idioms.


via Z&Z TV/YouTube

The video is great because it shows how when we learn new sayings they open up a new way of seeing the world that we may not have considered.

"My favorite parts of learning any language are idioms of what some people call sayings or proverbs,” Danny explains in the video. “Idioms can often give you quite a bit of insight into another culture, especially if they're commonly used.”

Here are a few of their favorite sayings.

"Go tile the ocean" — It's basically a way of saying "get lost."

"Repetition teaches the donkey" — Donkeys aren't the smartest animals, but even with some repetition, they can learn a thing or two.

"Stretch your legs only as far as your blanket extends” — Don't overextend yourself, financially.

“Swallowed a radio" — Is a phrase to describe someone who won't stop talking.

"Light blooded" — Someone who is fun and easy-going and who you enjoy being around.

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