Hands and pockets

In English when you know something or somewhere well, you can say that you “know it like the back of your hand” or that you “know it inside out / back to front / upside down”. If you’re talking about people, you might say “I know him/her/them like I know myself.”

Yesterday I learnt that the equivalent idiom in French is “Je le connais comme ma poche” (I know it like my pocket) or “Je le connais comme le fond de ma poche” (I know it like the bottom of my pocket).

In Spanish the equivalent is “Lo/la conozco como la palma de mi mano” (I know it like the palm of my hand), and in Turkish it also the palm of the hand that is best known: “Avcumun içi gibi biliyorum” (I know it like the palm of my hand).

The German equivalent is “Ich kenne es wie meine Westentasche” (I know it like my waistcoat pocket).

What about in other languages?

Turkish language in Germany

According to an article I came across today in Today’s Zaman, the number of Germans learning Turkish has been increasing recently. A Turkish graduate of a German university who was interviewed for the article mentions that he has been teaching Turkish in German schools for nine years, but that an ad he posted online seven years ago looking for people interested in learning Turkish received no response. He now receives around ten enquiries a month from a similar ad.

At the same time, according to an article in the Spiegel Online, Turkey has criticized a German draft immigration law which stipulates that if spouses wish to join their partners in Germany they have to possess a basic proficiency in the German language.