Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Meaning of Tingo....

…is a book, published in the UK last month. The Independent says that it "is destined to be the Eats, Shoots and Leaves of the autumn" and I say that it definitely sounds interesting!

It's an odd little volume, which brings together hundreds of words from 140 languages, "extraordinary words from around the world" and words those do not have a direct counterpart in English.

One of subtitles in the book is "Atishoo!" and it begins by noting that in Japan, one sneeze signifies praise, two sneezes, criticism, and three, disparagement.

The author, Adam Jacot de Boinod, claims to have become entranced by language when he discovered 27 words for "moustache" in an Albanian dictionary, and another 27 for "eyebrows". This book is his “celebration of the joy of foreign words”.
Some of the words are really hilarious, like......

Persian "nakhur", which means "a camel that won't give milk until her nostrils have been tickled".

Indonesian "didis" - "to search and pick up lice from one's own hair, usually when in bed at night".

The Cook Islands Maori word "papakata", meaning to have one leg shorter than the other.

Or there's “die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen” - to stick one's lower lip out in a sulk (literally, to play the insulted liver sausage)
Haven't done that in a looooong time!

The meaning of "tingo"? It's from the Pascuense language of Easter Island, meaning "to borrow objects from a friend's house, one by one, until there's nothing left".

The Japanese have more than their share of terms in the book, such as the wonderful "bakkushan", for a girl who looks as though she might be pretty when seen from behind, but isn't from the front.

Hmmm I wonder whether there’s any term for “a man who have a beautiful mane of long hair and looks like a woman from behind but is drop dead macho-gorgeous from the front”.

I did run into someone like this some days back.



Uma said...

If you think you discovered the specie of “a man who have a beautiful mane of long hair and looks like a woman from behind but is drop dead macho-gorgeous from the front”, its your right to name him too. Name him what you like and let the whole world know. :)

AK said...

Long time..

Check out the following link for some interesting read on the topic.

Some nice pictures you have here.

keep blogging. will be back.

REC Batch of 2001

aknowkneemoose said...

Hi, gwbe!

I'd stumbled upon your blog sometime in May 2005 (not everone deletes the history and cookies and stuff!); later on, got confused about the link to your blog (I used to type 'www.g-w-b-e' instead of 'www.gwbe'; well, all I gotta say is, feels nice to be reading your blog again! :)

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Hey Uma,

That's a very good suggestion. How does Trichocallipygian sound?


Hi AK,

Good to see you here. Nice blog u got.

Hi aknowkneemoose,

You from the capital?

aknowkneemoose said...

Hi gwbe,

Nope, I'm not from the capital of the country; I chanced upon your blog when I was in the capital of the state where you studied for your PGP :D

aknowkneemoose said...

Hey gwbe, as an afterthought, don't you think 'trichocallipygian' sounds restrictive? In your post, you said the 'looks like a woman from behind', but then 'callipygian' would restrict it to his behind alone! Or is that what you originally meant? ;)

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Hi aknowkneemoose,

Well, yes the word that I coined is a little biased. But then that's the whole point :)

Btw I am STILL studying for my PGP :)

aknowkneemoose said...

"STILL studying" reminds me of the sitcom "still standing" :D hmmm. so you've not graduated yet? I'm confused... I guess it's because I haven't read your blog for aeons. I thought you had graduated and now work full-time. So you're interning in the capital?