Thursday, July 19, 2007

Steal a word

I recently read an absolutely delicious book titled "The Meaning of Tingo" by Adam Jacot de Boinod. It's a collection of words from around the world. Here are some of my favorites - I just can’t believe I’ve survived so long without them.

Iktsuarpok - Inuit for "to go outside often to see if someone is coming".

Nglayap - Indonesian for "wander far from home with no particular purpose".

Mingmu - Chinese for "to die without regret".

Termangu-mangu - Indonesian for "sad and not sure what to do".

Nedovtipa - Czech for "one who finds it difficult to take a hint".

Narachastra prayoga - Sanskrit for "men who worship their own sexual organ".

Fissilig - German for "flustered to the point of incompetence."

Mukamuka - Japanese for "so angry one feels like throwing up."

Sekaseka - Zambian for "to laugh without reason".

Neko-neko - Indonesian for "one who has a creative idea which only makes things worse".

By the way, "Tingo" is Pascuense for "to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them." I'm not sure if this would make me mukamuka; or if it would first induce a feeling of liberation, then invite me to sekaseka and finally set me free to nglayap.

6 comments:

sencho said...

This is great, thanks Dushka! One of my favorite Russian words is "nedoperepil" - litelly meaning "drank just a little not enough to drink too much".

Dushka said...

That is a GREAT word!

Carol Miller said...

These are absolutely marvelous choices of examples of an excursion through this book. I particularly sympathize with "flustered to the point of incompetence". It explains what often happens, which otherwise had no rational definition. I also admire "to die without regret". This seems so lofty, and so very Chinese.

Dushka said...

I know! I love them! And can't you imagine yourself saying "oh, that guy is such a narachastra prayoga."

Marivi said...

But how would you define the popular mexican slang expression: "hueva"?

Dushka said...

Hi, Marivi! Not translatable. This is what makes languages so much fun. How would you translate "Me quiero desahogar?" another good one.