“An economy of words”
According to the “Grapeshat Book of Best Things” English is the favoritest language in the world. It’s got better words that are easier to pronounce and faster to write. Plus, you can make up words and people will still know what you mean. Words like “favoritest.”
Grapeshat was not all that impressed with the predominant language spoken in China. It was said that Mandarin Chinese has the same tone as a handful of forks and dimes hitting glass. German sounds like dropped furniture. The tonal quality of someone speaking Russian is much like the sound of someone starting a 1965 Dodge pickup. -- English? English sounds normal.
Plus, English has more words than any other language. Yet, we don’t use many of ‘em, because we believe in an economy of words. That and we don’t know what most of our words mean. Not to worry, we have one word that can mean anything we want it to.
Astronomer Carl Sagan used to talk about “the stuff of life.” The Chinese don’t have a word for “stuff.” A billion and a half people with no stuff. That’s why they hated Carl Sagan. To write “ the stuff of life” in Mandarin Chinese, it requires 87 diagrams using 36,436 symbols. And, it has to be spoken in the tune of "Jingle Bells" or no one can remember how to say it. That’s pretty much why the Chinese invented gunpowder.
That being said, I discovered something just yesterday that was bumfuzzling. -- The Brits refer to it as “fuzzling my bum.” -- I discovered that all languages have words, the equivalence of which, do not exist in other cultures.
Take “shinrin-yoku.” That’s the word the Japanese use to explain the relaxation one gets from bathing in the forest. We’ve got nothing to match that… at least we didn’t up until now. You see, I’ve taken on the responsibility of creating words to keep the English language at the top of the Grapeshat list. – No, no. Stop the applause, and take your seats. -- So, in American-speak, the feeling you get while taking a bath in the forest is now called “woodsnarkers.” -- Yes, best keep notes.
Hungarians have a single word that refers to “quick-witted people who can come up with sophisticated jokes or solutions.” The word is “pihentagyú.” (No joke.) We can’t come close to “pihentagyú.” What say we refer to sophisticated joke-telling, solution-devising individuals as “stuffers”? Works for me.
The Eskimos have come up with a word that explains the anticipation of looking to see if your friends have arrived. They call it “iktsusarpok.” (Seriously.) In English, I suggest we call the constant checking up on arrivals as “tharyet?” It's spoken in a questioning tone.
In Bavaria, the feeling one gets when a stoplight suddenly turns red and no one else is at the intersection is called “scarspit.” (I made this one up.) In America we will call such happenstance -- “handouch.” The word is derived from the sense one gets after smashing the palms of both hands on the steering wheel.
In a language of the Philippines called “Tagalog”, the word “gigil” refers to the irresistible urge one gets to pinch or squeeze on someone who is adored. (True.) In America, we actually have gilgil’s equivalent. It is called “second-degree-felony.”
Back to Japan. “Natsukashii” is a Japanese word that expresses a “nostalgic longing for the past, with happiness for the fond memory, yet sadness that it is no longer.” (A deep thinking people, the Japanese.) In America, if anyone expresses such deep emotion, we shall call it “getoverstuff.”
No language has a word that expresses the notion one should have when buying an item not knowing exactly what it is. -- Half and Half? It’s half cream and half milk. But, what kind of milk? Two percent? Four? Non-fat? – From now on, the practice of purchasing an unknown item will be referred to as “zagnut.” I got the idea while standing in the checkout at Cracker Barrel and spying a Zagnut candy bar. Does anyone know what kind of nut a zag is?
No one has a word for the sense one gets when noticing something described as being from France, when it isn’t. -- French vanilla? How can the French possibly claim vanilla? They get theirs from Madagascar. -- French fries? The early French didn’t even eat potatoes. They fed ‘em to the hogs. It’s the Belgians who fried thin strips of potatoes. -- French toast came from America. – French’s mustard? Not from France. -- French pecan salad? Doesn’t even exist.
Here’s the kicker. The French aren’t responsible for naming these items. We can blame it mostly on the British, the Belgians and the Americans. Yep, sim moi. So we don’t need to make up a word for, uh, whatever it was I was talking about, because we already have one. -- “Bullstuff.”
Right now I think it wise to cease dispensing with the frivolous and let you get on with your rat killing. That’s what my dad used to jokingly tell us when he wanted us to leave him alone. – “Okay, get back to your rat killing!” -- That's known as a “Farisism.” – And, yes, best add it to your notes. – Next time.
firstname.lastname@example.org – Please tune in on Wednesdays at noon to listen to Mark and Kay on “Hanging with the Hayters”. -- FM 104.5 and 106.1 as well as at www.irlonestar.com.