20 Words Without English Equivalents

19:45 Mon 29 Nov 2010
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I always find it interesting to encounter words that can’t easily be expressed in English. My favorite from that list is either “jayus”, “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh” in Indonesian, or “proznovit”, Czech for calling a mobile phone and hanging up before the person answers so that they will call back. I’m not sure about “schadenfreude”, though, as at this point it seems to have seen enough use to be a word that English has stolen from German (and it’s in SOWPODS…)

One Response to “20 Words Without English Equivalents”

  1. briang Says:

    Anthropologists studying cell phone behaviour in developing economies call “proznovit” “beeping.” Probably not the best choice of terms though.

    The interesting thing about it as it applies in Africa is “beeping” is pretty widely used and understood as a class distiction marker – lower class or poorer callers will beep richer callers and both expect and receive a callback.

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