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Fri May 3, 2013, 05:44 AM

What are your favorite non-English words?

I'll start with বাঁদরামি, "bandrami", a Bengali word. The root is বানর, "bandar", monkey, and the form is a denominative gerund (noun form of a verb derived from a noun), "activities proper to a monkey", or I guess more colloquially "monkey business".

Also good is German Kummerspeck, literally "grief bacon", the weight you put on after eating because you're upset.

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply What are your favorite non-English words? (Original post)
Recursion May 2013 OP
Lydia Leftcoast May 2013 #1
Lydia Leftcoast May 2013 #2
raccoon Jun 2013 #3
Starboard Tack Sep 2013 #4
ailsagirl Feb 2014 #5
Lionel Mandrake Aug 2014 #12
geardaddy Mar 2014 #6
geardaddy Mar 2014 #7
XiaoXing Jun 2014 #8
Recursion Jun 2014 #10
geardaddy Jul 2014 #11
whathehell Jun 2014 #9
Sweeney Dec 2014 #13
yuiyoshida Jun 2016 #14
Oldem Oct 2016 #15
PoindexterOglethorpe Dec 2016 #16
Recursion Dec 2016 #17
PoindexterOglethorpe Mar 2019 #18
yuiyoshida Jun 2019 #19
lanlady May 2020 #20
Name removed Sep 2020 #21

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2013, 10:50 AM

1. From German:

"klimpern"--to play the piano aimlessly without playing anything in particular

"Schnipsel"--a scrap of paper left over when you've cut something else out

"Fachidiot"--a person who knows everything about his or her specialty and nothing about much of anything else

"Lmmel"--a loud and ill-mannered young man who is not very bright

"Sorgenkind"--a child who is always in trouble and/or suffering misfortune, causing worry and distress for the parents

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2013, 11:04 AM

2. From Japanese:

"ijikeru"--To act as if you have a poor self-image
"ibaru"--The opposite of "ijikeru." It means to go around acting as if you think you're wonderful.
"oshii"--An adjective used to describe a lost opportunity or something you no longer have
"shirakeru"--To have one's joke fall flat
"kimochi ga ii"--A phrase best translated by the old hippie slang "good vibes."
"bareru"--To have one's (often shameful) secret found out
"samugariya"--A person who is always complaining about being cold
"biri"--The person at the bottom of the class in terms of grades
"mikka bzu"--Literally "three-day monk," a person who starts all kinds of projects and never finishes them

There are three ways to say "fall":

"taoreru"--To fall over from a standing position, like a tree or a person who passes out. Also refers to a sudden-onset medical conditions like a heart attack or stroke
"ochiru"--To fall from a height
"korobu"--To trip and fall

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 11:36 AM

3. "Nicht schiessen" (German) -- "don't shoot!" nt

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 11:16 AM

4. From Italian

Last edited Fri May 23, 2014, 01:56 PM - Edit history (1)

Magari - meaning "if only that were so, wouldn't life just be perfect"

And "Silenzio!", which is one of the funniest words in Italian, mainly because it must be shouted very loudly to have any effect.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Feb 13, 2014, 01:54 AM

5. I was always intrigued by the German word

schadenfreude

I don't think we have a one-word equivalent in English, do we?

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Response to ailsagirl (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 9, 2014, 01:39 PM

12. English didn't have an equivalent word,

so we borrowed "Schadenfreude" from German. The only change we made is that "schadenfreude" is not generally capitalized in English.

The best way I know to show what "schadenfreude" means is to point at someone and laugh in a snarky manner:

"anh anh anh anh" (with descending pitch).

(By "anh" I mean a nasalized version of the vowel in "hat".)

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Mar 17, 2014, 04:10 PM

6. From German

"Strolch" rascal. It's fun to say.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Mar 17, 2014, 04:15 PM

7. From Welsh

"Llyfrgell" library, lit. "book cell"

"Popty ping" microwave, lit "ding oven"

"rhech" fart

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Tue Jun 10, 2014, 07:17 PM

8. Mandarin

Mandarin: 四 "s" I just like this sound in Mandarin...

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Response to XiaoXing (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 26, 2014, 12:02 AM

10. Is that the one that means "is"?

I can never keep the tones straight.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 03:26 PM

11. No, that's

shi (fourth tone) 是

though a lot of Southern Mandarin speakers will pronounce it "si" because they don't have retroflex sounds in their dialects.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 05:42 AM

9. From Croatian...

Bez Briga -- means "no worries".

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 02:54 PM

13. Tea.

I think I'll have a cup.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 03:57 AM

14. Nihongo (Japanese)

Gokigenyo! This is an old word, not used much except by the older generation. It can mean; "hello, How are you? and Goodbye.." a lot like Aloha.

baka, doji, manuke! Idiot, clumsy, stupid.

hai, zehi Yes, I would love to.

mondanai not a problem.

Yakusoku! pinky promise

Go yukkuri take your time.

Chotto hen na a little strange.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Oct 14, 2016, 09:36 PM

15. Ferrocarril, Spanish for

railroad, literally iron road. The impressive part is hearing it pronounced, with all those rolled "r"s, it's pretty impressive.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Dec 25, 2016, 11:05 PM

16. Izquierda, the Spanish word for left. The direction.

There's something wonderfully exotic about it. Also, it is so unlike so many other words in Spanish, that I strongly suspect it's the word, or very close to the word, that was already in place in that part of the world before the overly of Latin occurred.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 28, 2016, 10:50 AM

17. Yes, it's Basque

Castillian Spanish is cool because it has a substratum of Basque and an overlay of Arabic.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 25, 2019, 11:40 PM

18. Oh, my. I'd thought it was something along those lines.

This is part of why I love language and linguistics.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 05:45 PM

19. fooly kooly!!

or Furi Kuri ...ふり くり it means Fling in English.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sat May 9, 2020, 02:07 PM

20. I love the names of the months in Ukrainian

They're descriptive of the activity or state of the natural world with which the month is associated.

A few examples: April is kviten, which comes from the word for flowering; May is traven, the month of grass; August is serpen, from the word for scythe; November is lystopad, the month of falling leaves. Other Slavic languages such as Polish and Belarusian also have the same ancient system of naming the months. An exception is Russian, which at some point adapted the same Latin-derived names of the months that we use.

I also love the Ukrainian word for rainbow - veselka - which is related to the word for happy, merry.

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