Colorful Colloquialisms – “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.” (Polish)

Anyone learning Polish? A great post and a great phrase to use!

living with linguaphilia

During a conversation with a coworker, she came out with a phrase I’d never heard before: “Not my monkey, not my circus.”  I understood perfectly what she was trying to say, but I was still amused by the phrase, so of course I had to look it up.

Shocked monkey Image via tanli at

A quick search turned up an entire page of results before I’d even entered the entire phrase, making me feel like maybe I should have known this one.  It turns out that my coworker’s version was slightly different from the original, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” It means, basically, “not my problem” or “not my responsibility” – “I’ve washed my hands of this”.  Everything I’ve found indicates that this is originally a Polish phrase: “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.”

This seems like a great use of an idiom to change a mood.  In a situation…

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Online games to learn Russian (and other languages!)

Привет! In this post I thought I’d share a few games that I like to use to practice Russian – vocabulary, listening, the case system, and typing!

Ba Ba Dum is four games in one. Practice vocabulary (and listening and reading) with matching and spelling games that involve only pictures and the target language – no translation, so you can get used to thinking in the language! For extra fun, it’s available in 13 languages:

  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Greek
  • Swedish
  • Japanese
  • Russian
  • Italian
  • French
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Polish
  • American English
  • British English

Russian Case Roulette helps you learn the 6 Russian cases through a series of visually-appealing games. Grammar terms are presented in both English and Russian.

Finally, is a fun, multilingual, highly responsive online typing tutor. It keeps track of which letters you are struggling with and presents them more frequently, so you can get extra practice. I like to get a little typing practice in every evening – you can do a few minutes at a time, and your data will be saved. Under Settings -> Keyboard Layout, you can set the language to one of these six:

  • English
  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian

I hope you have fun with some of these games, and learn a little Russian (or Portuguese, or Greek, or Spanish…) along the way!

– Amelia