JD and I take delight in the idiosyncrasies of English, but a recently published book serves as a reminder that weird and wonderful words are uttered wherever people speak.
The book in question is Toujours Tingo: More Extraordinary Words To Change The Way We See the World, by Adam Jacot de Boinod (published by Penguin).
Here are some examples:
Pisan Zapra (Malay) – the time it takes to eat a banana
Tartle (Scottish) – to hesitate when about to introduce someone whose name you can't recall
Jayus (Indonesian) – someone who tells a joke that's so awful you have to laugh
Kaellig (Danish) – a woman who stands on her doorstep screaming obscenities at her progeny
*Rombhoru (Bengali) – a woman with thighs as shapely as banana trees
*Baffona (Italian) – an attractive moustachioed woman
And from Cameroon, a phrase that's almost too nice to be believable: Wo-mba... the smile of a sleeping child. Aaaaaah...
*PS Baffona Rombhoru makes an interesting name which would be perfect for an attractive moustachioed woman with thighs as shapely as banana trees.
The ambiguous Oxford comma
5 days ago