Saturday, June 26, 2004

Words we should use more often

Here are the ten foreign words voted hardest to translate:
  1. ilunga [Tshiluba word for a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time; to tolerate it a second time; but never a third time. Note: Tshiluba is a Bantu language spoken in south-eastern Congo, and Zaire]
  2. shlimazl [Yiddish for a chronically unlucky person]
  3. radioukacz [Polish for a person who worked as a telegraphist for the resistance movements on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain]
  4. naa [Japanese word only used in the Kansai area of Japan, to emphasise statements or agree with someone]
  5. altahmam  [Arabic for a kind of deep sadness]
  6. gezellig [Dutch for cosy]
  7. saudade [Portuguese for a certain type of longing]
  8. selathirupavar  [Tamil for a certain type of truancy]
  9. pochemuchka [Russian for a person who asks a lot of questions]
  10. klloshar [Albanian for loser]
Let's all try to make use of these words in everyday conversation, to take the pressure off the translators! "George Bush is such a klloshar. I have such saudade for a candidate I could really get behind...."
Oh, and the ten English words voted hardest to translate?
  1. plenipotentiary               
  2. gobbledegook                
  3. serendipity                                   
  4. poppycock                                  
  5. googly                               
  6. Spam                                   
  7. whimsy                             
  8. bumf                                    
  9. chuffed
  10. kitsch


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