Monday, March 17, 2014

Words are crazy.

Teaching children to speak is a really interesting experience.  Explaining the names of things can sometimes become quite comical. Some words make complete sense. Their teddy bear, for example, is a stuffed animal because it is literally a toy animal full of stuffing.  Then there are those words that I just have to tell them "It's called that because that's what everyone calls it".  For example: aglet. Even blogger didn't think that was a word, but it is indeed the name of the plastic tip on your shoe lace.  This may sound like a strange word to teach my preschooler and toddler, but why not teach them every word we come across a meaning for?

This prompted me to think about some of the stranger words in our language. There are several, some of which I can think of, but can't even spell close enough for Google to guess what I am saying. Teaching beginning English often makes sense, words directly describe what you are talking about, but when you delve deeper into words like synonym, exacerbate, and plethora things can get a little dicey.

Which actually brought me to some words that other cultures have that we really need equivalents for.  Really.

Shemomedjamo- a Georgian (not the state, the country) word that is used to explain the phenomenon of being completely full from a meal and yet not being able to stop eating because it's so delicious.  It translates to "I accidentally ate the whole thing".

Zeg- another Georgian word, this one meaning "the day after tomorrow" (not the movie). This seems like a word people might actually use on a regular basis, and yet the English language has failed us.

Lagom- a Swedish word meaning "not too much, not too little, but just right"  Poor Goldilocks could have been much more succinct if she only had this word.

Cafune- Brazilian word which translates to "tenderly running your fingers through your lover's hair"

And my absolute favorite:
Kummerspeck- a German word used to describe weight gained from emotional over eating. Translating literally as "grief bacon".  That is a word I need.  What could make a person's emotional eating more complete than a side of grief bacon?

It appears our language is not only completely absurd with it's many rules and limitations (did you know that most words do not follow the "i before e" rule?), but it also fails us on a regular basis.  What am I to do when I need to quickly explain to someone my weight gain is due to emotional over-eating while planning a lunch date for the day after tomorrow in a restaurant that has chairs that are just right and explaining to them I can no longer talk because I am lovingly running my fingers through my lover's hair?  I mean I don't know about you, but I have totally had this conversation before.

No comments: