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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Foreign Words We Could Use in English

Then there are those words we don't have in English, that do exist in other languages, Nick Skellon wrote, "On an added note, I'm always amused by the way the Germans have words we don't have. My favourite in the whole world is 'backpfeifengesicht,' which means 'a face that deserves a slap'.

"Another is 'handscuhschneeballwerfer', which is a long (and typically German - why use one syllable when you can use six?) way of saying 'wimp'. It literally means 'someone who wears gloves when throwing snowballs.' I read a magazine article ages ago in which it said that they have about half a dozen other long-winded ways of referring to different levels of wimpiness (including 'someone who indicates whilst turning in a car park') but I can't remember any of them."

I wasn't able to confirm that the utterly divine 'handscuhschneeballwerfer' actually exists, but oh, I hope it does!

I'd expect nothing less from our wonderful German cousins who brought us the too, too perfect word 'schadenfreude,' which means taking delight in the misfortune of others.

If you have any words like this from another language (not just German) that we really could use in English, please click the Comment button and add them to our vocabulary.

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3 Comments:

Blogger gr8poppy said...

Hygge
The Danish word Hygge (hu-gah) is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary everyday things simply extraordinary.

Fri. Jan. 15, 08:56:00 am AEST  
Blogger DukTape said...

"Fertig" is a fine German word that means "finished." It also means "ready," which makes perfect sense becasue if you're finished with something, then you're ready for something else.

Fri. Jan. 15, 09:19:00 am AEST  
Blogger Stanley said...

What about the simple German "Bitte" when the waiter or waitress or host places a dish in front of you. There are equivalents in most languages, but not English. We don't say "Please" in this situation, and "Get your chops around that" doesn't quite have the right ring to it. (The response is, of course, "Danke".)

Tue. Jan. 19, 06:17:00 am AEST  

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