I love language. Dialects, pidgins, creoles, accents, regional variations ... you name it, I'm addicted.
I have a Jewish colleague who likes to teach me Yiddish words, which I then have to use in a sentence before the end of the day. (Yes, she checks up on me at the end of the day. Nebbish was my most recent acquisition).
You know how the Inuit people are said to have 11 (or something) different words for snow, and the French multiple words for love?
Well I learnt this week that the Albanians have 27 different words for eyebrows.
But never mind that right now.
Because, the Shona people of Zimbabwe have many different words for walking!
chakwair (walking through a muddy place and making a squelching sound)
dowor (walking for a long time on bare feet)
svavair (walking huddled, cold and wet)
minair (to walk with swinging hips)
pushuk (to walk in a very short dress)
shwitair (to walk naked)
seser (to walk with flesh rippling)
The last one intrigues me. I suspect cellulite plays a part here.
These came from Adam Jacot de Boinod's new book The Meaning of Tingo nd Other Extraordinary Words From Around the World which was published today and is now firmly on my Christmas wish list. Along with The Adventure of English, Death Sentence, The Dictionary of Weasel Words, and Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue which I have given numerous times as a gift to likeminded friends, but never received.
I really, really like that the Indonesians have a word for the feeling of being sad but not knowing what to do (termangu-mangu), and that the Czechs call someone who finds it difficult to take a hint, a nedovtipa.
PS. The word wamadat is Persian for the intense heat of a sultry night.