05 October 2011

Delightful Foreign Words

Mental floss has twenty nine foreign words with no adequate equivalent in English in a single word.

I'll add some of my own with phonetic spellings:

* Sensei (Japanese) respected teacher; also refers to other professionals
* Senpai (先輩?) and kōhai (後輩?) (Japanese) respectively, a more senior person at a similar status level in an organization (Senpai) and more junior person (kōhai), such as upper classman and lower classman, or senior rank and file employee and new hire, who owe each other respective duties of mentorship by the senior person and support and humility from the junior person
* Otaku (Japanese) a person who is scary obsessed with a particular petty hobby (like comic books).
* Mangaka (Japanese) comic book writer
* Barista (Italian) (in the process of being adopted into English) coffee house employee (applied to workers of either gender)
* Chez (French); Casa (Spanish) the house of
* Rechtsstaat (German) a government where high level legal principles are effective in prohibiting governmental officials from abusing their authority
* Den (Swedish) he/she, i.e. a third person pronoun refering to a human being of indefinite gender
* Yemaleegin (Swedish) oh my, what a mess
* Voy yumin (Swedish) you've really made a mess of things now
* Upjidy (Korean) prematurely pushing forward to make decisions on something that haven't been sufficiently vetted or discussed or considered
* Emo-Boo (Korean) maternal aunt's husband; more generally, Korean relationship descriptors are more specific in identifying particular spots in a family tree than English language words for family relationships
* Bop/Sal (Korean) Bop is cooked rice (also more generally "food"); Sal is uncooked rice
* NEET (acronym, originally British English and adopted in many other countries, not widely adopted in American English) literally "not employed, in education, or in training", more broadly, young adults who have failed to launch and failed to land getting by living with family and working only irregularly and below their capabilities
* Szimpatikus (Hungarian) “the feeling you get when you meet a person for the first time and your intuition tells you he is a good person. You say this person’s “szimpatikus”. They seem like a decent, friendly human being. You get a ‘good vibe’ from them.”
* Whāngai (Maori) a non-blood relative child informally raised in one's household
* Giro (German sense of an Italian word from Greek) a transfer of funds in an account to another person's account initiated by the payor; a retail level version of a direct deposit or wire transfer used in lieu of a check to make a payment (historically through postal accounts)

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