Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Words, Glorious Words

There's a lovely book out there -- There's a Word For It -- that has words for some actions and thoughts that English simply doesn't cover. We should adopt these words. We should use them. They are lovely words.

My favorites? Three from the Pascurnse language of Easter Island, which really seem to imply that the island was a wee bit too small and that family and community relations were often a bit strained;

Tingo: outrageous borrowing, taking all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them, until nothing remains.

Which is then closely related to hakamaroo: to keep borrowed objects until the owner has to ask for them back.

The borrower, a passive-agressive poster child, may then have feelings of anga anga, a groundless thought that people are gossiping about you.

I love these words. This pretty much describes my relationship with the Library.

Other great words -- drachenfutter, a german word for the peace-offering gift from a guilty husband to his wife. It means, literally, Dragon's Food. Another good German word would be good for those of us working in officies: radfahrer, someone who flatters superiors and browbeats subordinates.

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