Interesting Words (moved from Games)

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
I also quite like the Greek verb θαρρεῖν, "to have/take courage". It's nice to express that with simply one verb.
Our Athenaze textbook always translated that as "Cheer up" in the readings it provided, and that became my default mental translation (which is mildly amusing when, say, Achilles says it.)
 

gedwimere

Active Member
Some interesting Japanese words:

Two words connected with samurai:
辻斬りtsujigiri
切り捨て御免kirisutegomen


Two time expressions:
たそがれ tasogare, literally "Who are you?" (誰そ彼)(This word can also be written, despite the etymology, as黄昏);
かわたれ時 kawataredoki, literally "The time of 'Who are you?'" (彼は誰時)

These words came to mean the time of twilight—early morning or late evening—when it was not as dark as to not be able to see someone's figure, but too dark to recognize the person. Nowadays 黄昏 means evening, かわたれ時 means early morning, and both are literary words, rarely used in speech.




There is also an etymological connection between names of parts of plants and names of parts of human body (before the introduction of Chinese characters to Japan it must have been more obvious because now the words are differentiated in writing):

ho ear of a plant 頬 hoho cheek
ha leaf  歯 ha tooth
mi fruit mimi ear 
me sprout, bud 目 me eye
hana flower  鼻 hana nose
Moreover, up to the Nara period the word eda branch was used also to mean a limb.


Japanese names for colours are also interesting. For example, the word midori means the colour green, but originally it meant young plants. It also got from them the meaning of youthful, vigorous, which survives perhaps only in words みどり児 midorigo "green child", which means a baby or a toddler, and 緑の黒髪 midori no kurogami – this looks exactly like "green black hair", but actually means youthful black hair (of a woman).



It sometimes seems to me as if the Japanese language were "purer", "younger" or "closer to the nature" than Indo-European languages because the etymology of particular words can be traced back easier to what seem to be the early stages of the language.
 

Lysandra

Canis
I've always liked the word for "jellyfish" in Irish Gaelic: "smugairle róin" (pronounced smuggly-ruin) :D
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
The Portuguese word "saudade" cannot be accurately translated into English.
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
Well in Lewis and Short, for the word "palma", under the various poetic meanings, you see both "victor" and "the person about to be defeated" :confused:. Almost total opposites!
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well at least it isn't difficult to see the logic behind either meaning. In the case of "victor", the palm came to symbolize the one who won it, whereas in "the person about to be defeated", the deafeated person is in some figurative way the "palm/trophy" of the winner.
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
"Skjelm" is an old-fashioned and rarely used word in Norwegian. Means something like "buffoon". It kan be made into an adjective, and also used adverbially, in the form of "skjelmsk". In my dialect, and many others, that would be pronounced "skjelmskt". Only one syllable, but all of the five last consonants are pronounced distinctly. "Skj" is pronounced like "sh" in "short". Very fun to use that word. Sometimes I say it aloud just to cheer myself up.

And in old Norse, there are word forms like "blomstrs" (gen. of "blomstr" - "flower"). All seven consonants are disctinctly pronounced within one syllable, although the voiced r can make it sound more like two.

Do you have any other examples from other languages, of many consonants packed into one syllable? For my collection.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

gedwimere

Active Member
Do you have any other examples from other languages, of many consonants packed into one syllable? For my collection.
In Polish, there are many words with five consonants in one syllable, for example pstrąg /pstrɔ̃k/ ("trout"). The most consonants I have managed to put between two vowels is nine: nie ma małżeństw z pstrągiem ("there are no marriages with a trout"), the consonant cluster being /ɲstfspstr/.

In Czech, there is syllabic r, and apparently one can build whole sentences without vowels:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strč_prst_skrz_krk
 

MeaLesbia

New Member
"Cleave" and "fast" in English are both their own antonyms: "cleave" means to divide and to stick to, and "fast" means speedy (adj) and tightly (adv) (i.e., immovably).
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Tried to pronounce it according to the IPA. Felt like running up a steep hill. Guess I'm not in shape for Georigian. Do you avoid this word in daily conversations?
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Haha, yes give us a recording :D
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
σκιαμαχία, a fight against a shadow.
 
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