Friday, February 24, 2006

The Meaning of Tingo

The Meaning of Tingo by Adam Jacot de Boinod is a book of words -- and also a book of the world. de Boinod developed an obsession for foreign languages, and has compiled a book on the linguistic quirks and differences of languages from around the world. The book, like its content, sounds like it would make an odd addition to most collections.

Some examples of what you'll find in the book:
  • Kummerspeck -- A German term for the weight people gain from emotion-related overeating.
  • Neko-neko -- The Indonesian word for someone with a novel idea that actually makes the situation worse.
  • Olfrygt -- How the Danish describe the nagging fear of being unable to find a beer while out of town.
  • Iktsuarpok -- The Inuit way of describing the act of repeatedly going outside to check if someone is coming.
  • Dozvonit'sya -- The Russian expression for ringing a doorbell or calling a phone number over and over until you get an answer.
  • Fucha -- Polish for using company resources for personal reasons.
  • Xiaoxia -- What the Chinese call new Internet users. Literal translation: small lobsters.
  • Plimpplamppletteren -- The Dutch word for skipping stones.
  • Pana-po'o -- Hawaiian for scartching your head to remember something.
  • Tingo -- Rapanui for a person who borrows items from a friend, one by one, until everything's gone.

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