November 08, 2007

English is a fun language, being the hodge-podge that it is. We have so many different words that mean more or less the same thing. But there are still some things we have to use lots of words to say. And, wouldn't you know it, there are other languages that have nice, concise ways of getting the idea out there without taking all week to say it. Here are my favorites, but the full list is worth checking out.
  • Kaelling (Danish): a woman who stands on her doorstep yelling obscenities at her kids.
  • Pesamenteiro (Portuguese): one who joins groups of mourners at the home of a dead person, apparently to offer condolences but in reality is just there for the refreshments.
  • Kanjus Makkhicus (Hindi): a person so miserly that if a fly falls into his cup of tea, he'll fish it out and suck it dry before throwing it away.
  • Hanyauku (Rukwangali, Namibia): walking on tiptoes across warm sand.
  • Tartle (Scottish): to hesitate when you are introducing someone whose name you can't quite remember.
  • Prozvonit (Czech and Slovak): to call someone's mobile from your own to leave your number in their memory without them picking it up.
  • Shnourkovat Sya (Russian): when drivers change lanes frequently and unreasonably.
  • Pisan Zapra (Malay): the time needed to eat a banana.
  • Layogenic (Tagalog, Philippines): a person who is only goodlooking from a distance.
  • Rhwe (South Africa): to sleep on the floor without a mat while drunk and naked.
  • Gattara (Italian): a woman, often old and lonely, who devotes herself to stray cats.
  • Creerse La Ultima Coca-Cola en el Desierto (Central American Spanish): to have a very high opinion of oneself, literally to "think one is the last Coca-Cola in the desert".
  • Bablat (Hebrew): baloney, but is an acronym of "beelbool beytseem le-lo takhleet" which means "bothering someone's testicles for no reason".
  • Rombhoru (Bengali): a woman having thighs as shapely as banana trees.
  • Snyavshi Shtany, Po Volosam ne Gladyat (Russian): once you've taken off your pants it's too late to look at your hair.

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