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Lost in translation: DJ Flula’s English idioms

"Rock Paper Scissors, Your Logik is Not Right," at least not according to YouTube sensation DJ Flula. 


Lauren Rae Orsini


Posted on Oct 21, 2011   Updated on Jun 3, 2021, 2:01 am CDT

DJ Flula Borg is all that and a bag of chips. Just don’t tell him so.

The German artist has spent the last few years traveling back and forth between his native country and Los Angeles to launch his music career, but it’s been his grappling with English colloquial phrases that has translated to success on YouTube.

“The hardest portion of English, I must say it: Idioms,” DJ Flula told the Daily Dot via email. “When peoples say, ‘Hey buddy you are some bee-knees,’ or ‘Excuse me, but does the cat got your tongue,’ these things do cause great confusion for me.”

Now, DJ Flula’s YouTube videos on English idioms are more popular than his musical performances. One clip, where Flula puzzled over the phrase “shooting fish in a barrel,” received 650,000 hits.

For Flula, there’s a process to learning a new idiom. First, it’s shock, which he compares to “a surprise [slap] of a big fish on your face.” Then confusion, as he puzzles over the idiom for a few minutes, and finally, excitement, once he finally figures it out.

“Right now [my favorite idiom] is ‘one bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes,’” he said.  “Really?  Who do believe this?  The bird in your hand will just bite your hand many times with the bird beak. So to me, it is obvious: I prefer birds in the bushes.”

Flula said he enjoys hearing new idioms because he’s always trying to improve his English. “English is the language of the world of [music],” he said, adding that he dreams of becoming a successful hip-hop and techno DJ. His ultimate goal? To beat box with Anderson Cooper.

Until then, he plans to continue practicing English by sharing his thoughts on idioms.

“[The popularity of the videos] is a great surprise I must say it,” he said. “It has brought… me energy to make more videos and to share my music and energy with the world!”

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*First Published: Oct 21, 2011, 8:00 am CDT