Someone I follow on Twitter led me here – some great words or phrases in various languages that we don’t have in English, most of which are unfamiliar – the words, that is, not their meanings. And here they are –
1 Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut
2 Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude
3 Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist
4 Bakku-shan (Japanese): A beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind
5 Desenrascanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)
6 Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.
7 Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love
8 Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute
9 Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favor, but you can also use up your gianxi by asking for a favor to be repaid
10 Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time
11 L’esprit de l’escalier (French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it
12 Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery
13 Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire
14 Manja (Malay): “to pamper”, it describes gooey, childlike and coquettish behavior by women designed to elicit sympathy or pampering by men. “His girlfriend is a damn manja. Hearing her speak can cause diabetes.”
15 Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing
16 Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. In Western culture, nunchi could be described as the concept of emotional intelligence. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do, in a given situation. A socially clumsy person can be described as ‘nunchi eoptta’, meaning “absent of nunchi”
17 Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation
18 Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions
19 Schadenfreude (German): the pleasure derived from someone else’s pain
20 Sgriob (Gaelic): The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky
21 Taarradhin (Arabic): implies a happy solution for everyone, or “I win. You win.” It’s a way of reconciling without anyone losing face. Arabic has no word for “compromise,” in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement
22 Tatemae and Honne (Japanese): What you pretend to believe and what you actually believe, respectively
23 Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left
24 Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods
25 Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways,’ referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language
A few of them are well known, to the extent of having been adopted by us, and I’m not sure why 11 has been picked out when there are so many French terms that also hit the spot so neatly . 19 too, is so well known that it is used in English and generally understood, whereas 17 is even more useful, yet I’d not come across it before. Yet it’s a personal choice, nothing definitive – anyway, the first three made me chuckle enough to show them to you (check Liz’s comment yesterday about the annoying Emma). 2 in particular – oh yes, exactly. We so need a phrase for that.
I’ve had encouraging responses to requests for help this week, with the result that the governing body is looking nicely secure at present, even though we’re going to have a couple of vacancies by the end of the school year. One is leaving after 16 years, another only ever promised one 4-year term and has worked very hard – it’s fair enough. There will be more chairmen of committee roles to fill, but I’m good for replacement SEN governor, Safeguarding governor, all curriculum links but one, vice-chairmen, one of whom is up for taking over from me all being well, and someone is keen to be more involved. When I started as chairman, I had five years in mind and this is my fifth year already, so I’ll exceed it by at least a year. However, in the circumstances, that’s fine.
I’m giving some thought, rather too early, about what I’ll do afterwards. I already have offers, but I need to consider what I want to do, not just where I’ll be useful. The idea of not being useful is not one I’m ready for yet, but nor do I want to have too many new obligations. Sometimes, agreeing to do something because of good nature is not very kind to oneself. Still, I mustn’t think too far ahead yet.