The Germans have a word for all your hard-to-process Trump emotions

Behold, the glory of the compound noun: Fernweh ("the feeling of wanting to be elsewhere, anywhere but where you are at this moment"); Weltschmerz ("the state of weariness one feels at the state of the world"); Fuchsteufelswild ("a state of unfiltered, primal rage"); and of course, the indispensable Backpfeifengesicht. Read the rest

Glorious, elaborate, profane insults of the world

An open Reddit thread entitled "What are your favorite culturally untranslateable phrases?" rapidly degenerated into a collection of rollicking, profane, grotesque insults, each more alarming and delightful than the last. Read the whole thing, of course, but here are some of the less profane examples:

* The Dutch phrase for giving too much attention to insignificant details is "ant fucking".

* Afrikaans: "Jou mammie naai vir bakstene om jou sissie se hoerhuis te bou Vieslik!" your mother engages in prostitution in order to raise funds for the building materials necessary to construct a brothel from which your sister will operate.

* German: "backpfeifengesicht" - a face in need of slapping

* Finnish: "Kyrpä otsassa" - a vulgar way to say you're incredibly annoyed. It means that you have a dick in your forehead (should be visualized as hanging forward, rather than actually in your forehead, for some reason).

* Finnish: "pilkunnussija" - a comma fucker; someone who corrects little or meaningless things.

* Spanish: "Está tratando de cagar mas alto de lo que le da el culo" - He's trying to shit higher than his ass can reach.

What are your favorite culturally untranslateable phrases?

(Image: Okay, so it's funny., a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from andrewbain's photostream)

  Vintage, profanity-laced cable complaint that was hand-to-handed ... Senator's bill to ban profanity - Boing Boing Read the rest

Interesting words from around the world

Adam Jacot de Boinod wrote a book called The Meaning Of Tingo, "a collection of words and phrases from around the world."

Here are some of the words in the book (from a BBC article) katahara itai: the action of laughing so much that one side of your abdomen hurts. (Japanese)

gigi rongak: the space between the teeth. (Malaysian)

bakku-shan: a girl who appears pretty from behind but not from the front. (Japanese)

nakkele: a man who licks whatever the food has been served on (Tulu).

Putzfimmel: a mania for cleaning. (German)

Backpfeifengesicht: a face that cries out for a fist in it. (German)

uitwaaien: walking in windy weather for fun. (Dutch)

igunaujannguaq (literally meaning frozen walrus carcass): The game involves the person in the centre of a ring trying to remain stiff as he is passed around the ring, hand over hand. (Inuit)


Reader comment: Kevin reminds me that Howard Rheingold wrote a nice book on the same subject a number of years ago, called They Have a Word for It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases. Read the rest