Continuing with the theme of amusing language related articles, I came across a website which lists random non-English phrases. I only got a chance to see a few (you have to buy the book if you want access to all), below are some of my favourites:
* Snyavshi Shtany, PO VOLOSAM NE GLADYAT – Russian: once you’ve taken off your pants it’s too late to look at your hair.
* Bablat – Hebrew: baloney, but is an acronym of “beelbool beytseem le-lo takhleet” which means “bothering someone’s testicles for no reason”.
* Bayram Degil (SEYRAN DEGIL ENISTE BENI NIYE OPTU? – Turkish: there must be something behind this. Literally “it’s not festival time, it’s not a pleasure trip, so why did my brother-in-law kiss me”?
* Jayus – Indonesian: someone who tells a joke so unfunny you can’t help laughing.
* Baling – Manobo, Philippines: the action of a woman who, when she wants to marry a man, goes to his house and refuses to leave until marriage is agreed upon.
* Du Kannst Mir Gern Den Buckel Runterrutschen Und Mit Der Zunge Bremsen – Austrian German: abusive insult, literally “you can slide down my hunchback using your tongue as a brake”.
* Rombhoru – Bengali: a woman having thighs as shapely as banana trees.
* Mariteddu Tamant’e Un Ditu Ieddu Voli Essa Rivaritu – Corsican: a husband must be respected even if he is very short.
* Tartle – Scottish: to hesitate when you are introducing someone whose name you can’t quite remember.
* Koi No Yokan – Japanese: a sense on first meeting someone that it is going to evolve into love.
* Gadrii Nombor Shulen Jongu – Tibetan: giving an answer that is unrelated to the question, literally “to give a green answer to a blue question”.
* Biritululo – Kiriwani, Papua New Guinea: comparing yams to settle a dispute.
* Cafune – Brazilian Portuguese: the tender running of one’s fingers through the hair of one’s mate.
* Oka/SHETE – Ndonga, Nigeria: urination difficulties caused by eating frogs before the rain has duly fallen.
* Baffona – Italian: an attractive moustachioed woman.
* Rhwe – South Africa: to sleep on the floor without a mat while drunk and naked.
* Shvitzer – Yiddish: someone who sweats a lot, especially a nervous seducer.
* Layogenic – Tagalog, Philippines: a person who is only good-looking from a distance.
If you fancy buying the book, Amazon have it. (Toujours Tingo, a new book which draws on more than 300 languages exploring the areas where English fails us) –
Normal blog writing service will resume shortly. I’ve been exceptionally busy over the last few months, but things are hopefully settling down now.
Check out more here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/global-wording-110350406/
* Albanians have 27 words for eyebrows and the same number for mustache
* The persian language has a word for “a camel that won’t give milk until her nostrils have been tickled” (nakhur)
* Inuits have a verb for “to exchange wives for a few days only” (areodjarekput)?
* German Kummerspeck, for the excess weight one gains from emotion-related overeating? (It translates literally as “grief bacon.”)
* Gras bilong fes, from the Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin, is more poetic than “beard”; it means “grass belonging to the face.”
* And how about the German Backpfeifengesicht, or “face that cries out for a fist in it”?
* Central American Spanish speakers may win a prize for articulating forms of motion with achaplinarse—“to hesitate and then run away in the manner of Charlie Chaplin.”
* Fuegian, in Chile, has a word for “that shared look of longing where both parties know the score yet neither is willing to make the first move” (mamihlapinatapei).