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Re: You have a word for it?

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Saturday, January 26, 2002, 11:31
En réponse à Elliott Belser <renyard@...>:

> > Ever picked up a book called 'They Have A Word For It?' This is where > I got Katzenjammer and Bol from, along with a lot of other great > words like Potlatch, 'to give away lavish gifts for the purpose of > rising in social rank' and L'espirit d'escaler, 'The state where you > have come up with a cutting retort to a wise-ass remark, long after > you have left the situtation where you were the butt of it.' I'd > like to know what cool untranslatable words are in your languages. >
Well, "esprit d'escalier" refers to a trait of character, not to the state itself. But indeed it refers to a trait of character of people who find the right retort to a remark usually a few hours later when the situation is gone and the people have probably forgotten what the conversation was about. It's a real burden for your social life, believe me (I unfortunately have this trait of character). I envy those people who immediately come up with the needed replies (we say in French "personnes qui répondent du tac au tac" :) ). French has another funny word: "hôte", which means both "host" and "guest". AFMCL, I'd have to go through their vocabulary again, but I do remember that in Moten the very word "moten" is untranslatable, for the simple reason that nobody knows what it refers to :) . It is used in only two compounds: "motenku|lu", which means "Moten" (the name of the language) and "motenva", which means "purple" (the colour, "va" means "colour"). Since "ku|lu" is used with names of people or nations to refer to their language, it has been wondered whether "moten" could refer to a nation, a tribe, a clan, or whatever group of people, but no people on Earth seem to call themselves this way. And the colour derives is quite obscure... purple-skinned people? :)) Yet the only known speaker of this language is human, as far as we can tell, and doesn't have purple skin. Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
William Annis <annis@...>