Thursday, 2 March 2006

Favourite words

Mehvesh in Japan raises an interesting topic, listing her favourite words in Japanese. My favourite words in Japanese are all those almost untranslatable expressions like "pica pica" and those that conjure up a picture like "hanabi", fireworks (literally, flower-fire).
My favourite word in French is "cuniculiculture" which means "rabbit-raising" - I got it from an EU directive, but its meaning was evident to someone who once owned Beatrix Potter's, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" in Latin (Fabula Petro Cunicula).
I've always liked the fact that the Dutch word for sound is "klank".
In Italian, I love "telefonino" (mobile phone, cellphone) and in Spanish, I have to nominate "caminante" (travelling, rambling, wandering..), por supuesto (of course).
It pleases me that the Turkish word for turkey - the bird - is "hindi", and my French-speaking Turkish class likes the fact that "├žok kolay", meaning "very easy", sounds similar to "chocolate".
It amused me enormously in Greece to find that a bus stop is called "stasis", this word having been taken into English with a much more high-faluting philosophical/psychological meaning.
I have - or did before I lent it to someone! - a great book called "The Meaning of Tingo" (also see article here) which contains some wonderful words/expressions in different languages including, in German, T├╝rschlusspanik, literally, door-closing-panic: the feeling, as you get older, that things you used to see as possibilities are rapidly becoming less possible..
In English I think my favourite word is haberdashery, but I also like crapulence and gallivanting. My family still uses the Tamil words "poo" for flower and "poochy" for insect, which we picked up in India because we found them appealing. In Welsh there's a lovely word "hwyl" meaning something like happiness.
And I'm sure there are dozens more words I like, in various languages, that don't spring to mind right at this moment!

5 Comments:

At 3/3/06 13:15, Blogger irina said...

Oh, I share this love for the sound of the words, for what they can mean, for how well they can be translated in other languages...
I have favourite words myself, I might write about them one day...

 
At 4/3/06 16:56, Blogger miki said...

You like "Pika Pika",it sounds interesting for me.In Tokyo there are an area which named "kagurazaka". There are many foreing people(especially French people). They told me that we love this name "kagurazaka". Especially French people told me. "On peut prononcer comme chanter."

 
At 8/3/06 09:10, Blogger a turkish girl in Japan mehvesh gupgup said...

glad to hear that you enjoyed thinking about your favorite words! i am amazed by the number of languages you are familiar with! that is really great -urayamashii! also happy to hear your favorite turkish word:))
I have been thinking about my favorite words but I am afraid I have just tooo many! :))

 
At 9/3/06 00:36, Blogger qaminante said...

Mehvesh, I have to admit, I don't actually know all these languages, I just know ABOUT them! That's because I like languages, work (when I am working) for the EU - and am very old, so I have been able to travel quite a bit! The only language apart from English that I speak more-or-less fluently is French, as for Turkish I have been studying it for only six months, so I still have a lot more words to meet and make favourites of.

 
At 17/4/06 21:04, Blogger wandering-woman said...

Oh haberdashery is favorite-worthy, as is gallivanting.

I'm off to try to find a copy of that book you lent to someone...sounds wonderful, I must have it..

I, too am always impressed by all the languages you are familiar with..

 

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