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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:35 pm 
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fetalexplosion wrote:
Has anyone read Douglass Adam's dictionaries? They're hilarious and he gives name to so many little things that there should be words for.


And there was Rich Hall's Sniglets!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniglet?wasRedirected=true

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:01 am 
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Ghost Lips wrote:
Badgermog wrote:
9. Prozvonit

Czech – This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. In Spanish, the phrase for this is “Dar un toque,” or, “To give a touch.”

I have heard many words for this in English. 'Ping', as someone said above, or some of my friends call it to 'prank' someone. I prefer 'dropcall' myself.


I've never heard that called a ping. It's drop-calling!

We call it 'prank' as well, the same word you used when you were a kid and making a joke call to someone, except this time it's 'prank (call) me when you're ready because I know you're too poor to have an actual phone call'. Never heard ping or drop-call.

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:04 am 
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Veglicious wrote:
We call it 'prank' as well, the same word you used when you were a kid and making a joke call to someone, except this time it's 'prank (call) me when you're ready because I know you're too poor to have an actual phone call'. Never heard ping or drop-call.


All of those words are new to me.
My sister and I always use the Italian expression: (dare uno) squillo. Or as a verb, squillare.
(The sound makes us laugh.)

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:10 am 
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Veglicious wrote:
We call it 'prank' as well, the same word you used when you were a kid and making a joke call to someone, except this time it's 'prank (call) me when you're ready because I know you're too poor to have an actual phone call'. Never heard ping or drop-call.

I've only ever heard this from my australian colleague, and immediately picked it up. (no word for this in portuguese, btw, tho we do it all the time.)

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:16 am 
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Everyone does this in Spain. If you want to talk to someone you better have some phone credit because they won't call you back. Just ring and then hangup so you have to ring them back. Most people don't even put credit on their phone since incoming calls are free.


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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:00 am 
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Badgermog wrote:
FootFace wrote:
Pedantic Linguist Alert

These are not untranslatable words. They are all translated in that link.

True, they might all be words that more economically convey concepts than the comparable English.

But they do not name concepts that speakers of other languages are unable to understand or communicate.

/Pedantic Linguist Alert


Pedantic Disagreement Alert

But how would you ever truly know, unless you were competent in both languages? The first one in that list looks as though it has quite an approximate English translation. I suspect that when using more abstract words, noone really understands anyone.

/Pedantic Disagreement Alert


well, for one, there are people competent in both languages who can repeat this claim. i think lutin & footface have already pretty much covered the linguist angle, but one of the really cool things about language is that every language can be used to express those extremely abstract thoughts. true, sometimes you need to use a paragraph instead of a single word -- but you can still do it!


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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:11 am 
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I tartle all the time.

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:35 pm 
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I think neither of the Czech words (5 and 9) belongs on this list as "untranslatable". Prozvonit has been discussed above and I can confirm that's exactly what it means. And lítost, I would just say "feeling of regret and sorrow". The explanation given there doesn't make much sense to me. Well it does, but I don't think that's what lítost means.
As for other untranslatable things, the first thing that comes to my mind is "Kolik třešní tolik višní." Word-to-word into English "As many sweet cherries as sour cherries." I have to admit I don't know what it means. Nobody does, but it always comes up when people discuss translating cz-eng. It's from a famous Czech movie, supposedly a translation of a Japanese proverb that the translator wasn't sure how to translate so he came up with this. So for us cz-eng translators, this is the ultimate untranslatable thing - we can't translate it because nobody knows what it really means.
Also, Classical Chinese is full of things that are difficult to translate, because words can have many functions in a sentence (which is unusual in other languages). How would you translate 子(zi) in 民子来。? min-people,zi-son,child,lai-come. Min is obviously the subject, lai the predicate and zi modifies the predicate. The sentence of course can be translated as a whole but how do you make an adverb from son/child? Obviously you can't add -ly. The only way is "like children". This example isn't very difficult, I just wanted something simple to illustrate. Sometimes it's really complicated sentences and you end up having to translate one word as two sentences for the whole thing to make sense.
(sorry for the long post, I couldn't help it, languages are my thing


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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:59 pm 
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allularpunk wrote:
i want to play balderdash with that list of words.

i love the scottish one, tartle. i want to know if interrobang?! has ever tartled. and i want her to use it in a sentence.


Well, I know that I HAVE tartled before, so I have a chance to work it into usage now!

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:05 pm 
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lycophyte wrote:
allularpunk wrote:
i want to play balderdash with that list of words.

i love the scottish one, tartle. i want to know if interrobang?! has ever tartled. and i want her to use it in a sentence.


Well, I know that I HAVE tartled before, so I have a chance to work it into usage now!


I'll pure tartle you in a minute, hen. Uh. Wait...

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Anny wrote:
(sorry for the long post, I couldn't help it, languages are my thing


Tell me more! <3

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:59 pm 
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Friday wrote:
Yes, but can't we just read untranslatable as shorthand for don't have an easy one word equivalent in English.

We can, but does it make sense? "One word in English" is a fairly random distinction. Several of the entries on that page are multiple words in their original languages in the first place; English, on the other hand, is notorious for separating out words where related languages use compound words.

For example, the German word Schadenfreude is a compound noun, built from the two words Schaden and Freude, where attaching one to the other qualifies what kind of joy is being referred to. If modern English still had this construct, I could translate Schadenfreude as lossjoy, but it doesn't, so I have to say "joy experienced from (another person's) loss". If this means the word is untranslatable, then the same must be true for words such as Hauptbahnhof (central station) or Weinglas (wine glass). I can make infinitely long words in German, one childhood favourite is Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitänsmütze (cap of a captain of a steamboat on the river Danube).

Some other words on that list seem to be ordinary words that people like to attribute a certain je ne sais quoi to that is not, in fact, there. I can perfectly well translate hyggelig as cozy, but for people from Denmark, it'd almost be part of their national identity to argue with me over it and claim that it's something beyond cozy that can't possibly be expressed in a language other than Danish because no other language can possibly be used to express a concept that is so 500% Danish as hygge. ;-) One interesting aspect of this is that hyggelig has found its way into other languages and is used to express the felling of something being cozy as in Denmark, usually by someone who has a soft spot for Denmark.

Some others are just idioms (e.g. l'appel du vide). Not sure how an idiom would make it on a top 20 list, since there are dictionaries full of them. ;-)

Eh, in retrospect, I should have put one of those red alert things...


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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:01 am 
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what a cool discussion - found by searching "linguist" ... no comment!!!!!!

(I like the arabic "inch'allah"; like "if anything goes well" (?) it' quite wise, it makes you keep in mind that anything can happen, that we are fragile -and so are our intentions and the plans we make)

(did you know that we have no word for "sibling" in french?)

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:41 am 
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we have a multilingual household (this weekend it was three languages all going at once) and i find it really interesting to see which words are spoken in which language.
Usually the commentary words ("god this coffee is awful"; "too salty!"; "stupid dog") were in Japanese.
The functional language ("get me that cleaver!" "what's auntie's phone number?") was in Portuguese.
and the cursing is all in English. I am sad to say that of all the languages I've studied none has profanity nearly as satisfying as English. I'm told Russian is a close approximation, but sadly it's not in my long term plan to pick up Russian).

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:44 am 
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torque, your house is awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:52 am 
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One of my favourite non-translatable words from German is "doch". It doesn't mean anything, but it's used when negating something someone said, for example: "You are not Anek!" "Doch! I am Anek!".

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:58 am 
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GreatGarbanzo wrote:
I really enjoyed reading this. I love it when foreign words become integrated into the English language, like schadenfraude is.

It's integrated into English? I've seen it once before on the PPK but haven't seen it elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:38 am 
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Anek wrote:
One of my favourite non-translatable words from German is "doch". It doesn't mean anything, but it's used when negating something someone said, for example: "You are not Anek!" "Doch! I am Anek!".


oh but then what would one say in english? ("yes" I guess?) That's funny, I was lost indeed when I realised that some languages don't have this kind of "yes" (our french SI) (basically "if italian says si for oui, then what would si be?")

It also reminds me of the nuance there is in "ABER/SONDERN" for BUT (not this, but this)

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:51 am 
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linanil wrote:
GreatGarbanzo wrote:
I really enjoyed reading this. I love it when foreign words become integrated into the English language, like schadenfraude is.

It's integrated into English? I've seen it once before on the PPK but haven't seen it elsewhere.
I've heard it used in unaffected speech, which is probably a yes. I've seen it written a lot, as well, including examples not in italics (as is the convention for foreign words).

Emilie wrote:
oh but then what would one say in english? ("yes" I guess?) That's funny, I was lost indeed when I realised that some languages don't have this kind of "yes" (our french SI) (basically "if italian says si for oui, then what would si be?")
"No, it is" or "yes, it's not". Interestingly, into Early Modern English (~Shakespeare's time), there was a four-way split of yea and nay for positive questions and yes and no for negative questions. Yea and nay are now archaic or fossilised into specific usages and yes and no have broadened.

I do like doch though.

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:54 am 
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Gulliver wrote:
linanil wrote:
GreatGarbanzo wrote:
I really enjoyed reading this. I love it when foreign words become integrated into the English language, like schadenfraude is.

It's integrated into English? I've seen it once before on the PPK but haven't seen it elsewhere.
I've heard it used in unaffected speech, which is probably a yes. I've seen it written a lot, as well, including examples not in italics (as is the convention for foreign words).


It's not yet in the OED, but Merriam Webster and others have online entries for it.

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:04 am 
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lutin wrote:
It's not yet in the OED, but Merriam Webster and others have online entries for it.
"Surely not!" ejaculated Gulliver, dropping his pleather-bound thesaurus and heirloom book of writing clichés.

It is in the OED, I just checked. I have OED access through uni and have become slightly obsessed with looking words up in it. First recorded use is 1852!

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:06 am 
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I also just checked (also with uni access). Bizarre! Great that the OED thinks it exists, though.

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:17 am 
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lutin wrote:
I also just checked (also with uni access). Bizarre! Great that the OED thinks it exists, though.
I've had the OED behave very strangely with me in the past and, at one point, redirect me to a useless archived version of its site whenever I logged in through Athens.

On a tremendously tangential note, do we have any Esperantists among us?

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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:30 am 
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linanil wrote:
GreatGarbanzo wrote:
I really enjoyed reading this. I love it when foreign words become integrated into the English language, like schadenfraude is.

It's integrated into English? I've seen it once before on the PPK but haven't seen it elsewhere.


Here is precisely when "schadenfreude" became integrated into the English language. :)


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 Post subject: Re: things you wish you could say.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:32 am 
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CQ is right: Avenue Q should definitely, definitely make as many appearances as possible.
(Thanks for the laughs, CQ!)

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