Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mamihlapinatapai

It's 'a look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire,' and if I could pronounce it, it might just be my new favourite word. (I've decided that I'm going to pronounce it ma-meelya-piñata-pie until someone corrects me. As it's a Yaghan word (the Yaghan are a race that I have never heard of before and initially thought someone made up a rather obscure race who live near Tierra del Fuego, which is by Sweden under South America) I do not expect it to be corrected any time soon. Nevertheless, if you think you know better than ma-meelya-piñata-pie then don't let that stop you trying.)

I found 'mamihlapinatapai' on yo mama's face a list of foreign words the English language needs (full list here), along with some I already knew (because of my enormous vocabulary) and some I didn't. My other favourites are 'backpfeifengesicht,' a German word which means 'a face badly in need of a fist' and which I am not even going to try pronouncing, and 'nunchi' (noon-chee) which is a Korean word that's kind of hard to explain - it means, more or less, the ability to properly judge a social situation and behave appropriately. When Mrs. Obama hugged the Queen, she was showing a decided lack of nunchi; so was that boorish acquaintance of yours when she decided that a clothes swap party was the perfect occasion to peddle her hideous home-made Christmas cards.

Andrea also introduced me to two other excellent and bonafide English words recently: 'aeolist,' or someone who thinks they are highly intelligent but actually spends all their time talking out of their arse; and 'arsle,' which means 'to leave a room backwards' and is where the word 'arse' comes from. Dictionary.com doesn't believe in either of these words; I bet when they read this blog their no-good backpfeifengesicht-featured aeolist of an editor will arsle sheepishly out of the room.

Here is a treat! Something not created by me.* It is from an excellent comic and I think it pretty much says what every art critic since the dawn of time has had enough nunchi to not quite say:

Anything else from me today? Nah. That's kind of about it. I applied for some jobs.

I'll leave you with the Pun of the Day**: my mother walks inside carrying a handful of runner beans. "Sadly, I think these are past their prime...they're has-beens." I guess it puns in the family is passed down from generation to generation.

EDIT: Pun of the Day has been revised, thanks to Antiques Roadshow! (I wasn't watching it.) One of their experts is examining a (presumably antique) antique dead dog carcass which had been hollowed out, covered in tar, had the leg ends (stumps?) sealed with (I think) cork and used to indicate where a fishing net had been dropped. Kate: "Who thinks, when their dog dies, 'I'm going to make this into a buoy?'" Me, appraising our dog: "Charlie would make a good buoy." Kate: "Hahaha! Good buoy, Charlie." (Is only funny if you pronounce 'buoy' 'boy' and not 'booey' as, apparently, some do; may not be even funny then but I am still cracking up about it.)


I have no idea why I didn't stop this post after the comic; how about you pretend that I did.


*although really I've been pretty educational today

**I promise this won't become a regular feature

4 comments:

Fraser Dron said...

Puns on the word 'pun' don't count.
Spare a thought for people from Jamaica and nearby who pronounce both words as 'bwoy'. They have the same problem as us, but in reverse.

queenofthecastle said...

omfsm I've seen that episode of Roadshow! I pretty much thought the same thing when I saw it, although I don't have an apparently awesome sister to bounce puns off.
Tehe has-beans. *groan* I think I've actually used that one before.
Nunchi...is that kind of like savoir faire? There's an awesome Japanese word that we totally need to co-opt into English: natsukashii. It means something like 'feeling sad, happy, and nostalgic, all at the same time'. In other words, how I feel when I watch old episodes of Dawson's Creek :-P
Also, arsle is pretty much the best word ever. Does that mean people can be said to be arsling when they have to back away after being knighted? If so, then I think 'He arsled away from the Queen' might be one of the best potential English sentences in the world.
Haha aeolist. I totally know at least one of these!

IT IS ALLY said...

Brooke: natsukashii sounds similar to the Brazilian (I think) 'saudade,' which is a nostalgia for something you never had, and which I should have added to that post.

This could be solved by one universal language but I'm not going to be the one to write it.

And yes, you could indeed arsle from the throne room.

Poker Strip said...

It will be last drop.