Thursday, December 27, 2007

My favourite word...

I have a favourite word in every language in which I have lived for any significant period of time. I might not know the rest of the language but there is always one word that sticks with me.

In French, it is: malheureusement (meaning, unfortunately). Unfortunately, I used it so much in my French essays in secondary school my teacher said I could only use it once per essay. Too bad. It took up nearly an entire line, of the two-page requirement, when written in script.

In Russian, it is: ksazhelyenyu (also unfortunately). Don't worry, it's not a trend.

In Arabic, it is: malesh (meaning, 'I'm sorry' or 'too bad').

In Chinese, it is: xie xie (meaning, 'thank you'...primarily because I never got very far in those Mandarin lessons, but also because I like the szh...sound. It's fun. I'm easily entertained).

In English, it is: taradiddle (meaning, 'pretentious nonsense').

The problem is I never did find a good Indonesian word. Our Logistics Manager loves saying, '20,000'. It doesn't do anything for me. In the seven months I have spent in Indoesia no word has latched on to me. Until today when we were visiting a construction site.

We have these little rented pickups that were hauling sand around and there was some trouble about how many of them had been hired. My translator couldn't find the word for pickup so just called them by their Indonesian name, eltigga ratoos. How can you not love those words? I couldn't stop repeating it all day - much to the shagrin of the translator and driver who had to spend 4 hours in the car with me.

Eltigga ratoos. C'mon, say it with me. You know you want to.

1 comment:

David Cuthbert said...

German: schadenfreude

They even have a saying:
Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude; die kommt von den Herz. (Schadenfreude is the most beautiful joy; it comes from the heart.)