In Other Words

In Other Words

A Language Lover's Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World

Book - 2004
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When ideas fail, words come in handy. But sometimes you can't find the right word, and what you want to say can't be found in the dictionary. English has its limitations, but the expression you're searching for may exist in another language. In Other Words is a unique collection of well-known and absolutely obscure "untranslatables"--linguistic gems that convey a feeling or notion with satisfying precision yet resist simple translation.

This quirky lexicon of hard-to-translate words gives the reader a new way to look at the world and how words relate to us. The words are arranged by region or country of origin, and a brief introduction to each section--each done by a respected translator--gives insight into the culture of the people as well as the language. Each of these singular words is cleverly and thoroughly defined, with interesting details and references throughout. The search for that elusive mot juste may be over.

Publisher: New York : Walker Pub., c2004
ISBN: 9780802714442
Characteristics: 127 p. : ill. ; 20 cm


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KCLSRecommends Mar 20, 2014

Amazing how many words there are in other languages with no good equivalent in English! Such as the French who say "horripiler" which means 'to make your hair stand on end'! Or the Germans who say "weltschmerz" to indicate 'world-weariness' or despair with, well, everything. Meanwhile, the Dutch say "uitwaaien" for that rare joy of 'walking in the wind for fun.' And, continuing in perambulatory fashion, the Finnish have the word "hankikanto" for the 'frozen crust on the surface of snow that is strong enough to walk on.' And the Japanese have the nearly untranslatable "mon-no-aware" meaning 'enjoying the sadness of life': that bittersweet, vaguely poetic feeling you get around dusk, say, on a long train journey, looking out at the driving rain... (ah me, alas!) While the Greeks say "meraki" to describe when someone does something with soul, creativity or love -- when you put 'something of yourself' into what you're doing.


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