Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thirteen words not found in the English language

Do you think there actually are English words that fit these?

These words do not have direct equivalents in English. Some of them would definitely be useful for us English-speakers, what do you think?

1. Waldeinsamkeit (German): the feeling of being alone in the woods

2. Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

3. Taarradhin (Arabic): a way of resolving a problem without anyone losing face (not the same as our concept of a compromise - everyone wins)

4. Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery

5. Esprit de l’escalier (French): a witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs…

6. Meraki (Greek): doing something with soul, creativity, or love

7. Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways’, referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language:

8. Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.

9. Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favour, but you can also use up your gianxi by asking for a favour to be repaid.

10. Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions

11. Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbour's house until there is nothing left

12. Radioukacz (Polish): a person who worked as a telegraphist for the resistance movements on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain

13. Selathirupavar (Tamil): a word used to define a certain type of absence without official leave in face of duty


This is a constant in my life and I wish I could predict it better:
2. Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

Some people get upset with me for not bringing issues up earlier, but I wait to see if there's a pattern before I address something that might me an inconsequential aberration. When I realize there is a pattern, I say something.

I am stupefied that this is such a phenomenon that there is a word specific to it in another language. I wish it were so in English.

This applies to my week.

Do any of these apply to you or do you have a vocabulary suggestion?


Gianna said...

this is good stuff...I gave my dad a book which was all words that didn't exist in English...he's a linguist so he loved it...

wondering if you got this from the same book...I don't remember the title...

Cricket said...

I cheated and stole it from elsewhere. I wish I knew the original source. It is such an interesting subject!

Gianna said...

I'll try getting the name of the book from my dad...he's moved since I bought for him and he tends to give books away, but this one he may have kept since it's fun to just flip through....

Gianna said...

Eureka! I called my dad, he didn't remember but my brilliant husband found it by doing some complex query on google...

The Meaning of Tingo: And Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World

It's a really fun book!

Cricket said...

Great, Gianna. Will check out the library for it. Neat.