Additions to Your Dictionary: Part 2

For those of you that haven’t read my first post in this “series” called Additions to Your Dictionary, have no fear! This post is not like the Harry Potter or Twilight series where you need to see the first movie (or in this case the first blog post) to understand the second one. I’ll quickly bring you newcomers up to speed; I’m going to provide you guys with some foreign words that describe common situations, emotions, or actions that don’t translate to any single English word. When we start a sentence with “you know when…” or “you know that feeling…”, the rest of the sentence is usually followed by us giving a lengthy description of  a really specific feeling, action or circumstance. Fortunately, some of these descriptions can be substituted by borrowing words from other languages. I’m going to provide you guys with the foreign word itself, the language it’s a part of, and the matching English description. Are you all with me? Good, now let’s resume with this wonderful little list.

You know at essentially every holiday meal after your family finishes eating, they clean up all the dishes and they just sit and talk with each other? That event of sharing conversation after a meal with the people you just ate with is actually considered a phenomenon across the world. This event is particularly popular in Spanish-speaking countries around the globe. The Spanish word for this event is called sobremesa.

I’ll start by setting a very relatable scene for you guys. It’s around 12 pm on a Sunday afternoon and you just woke up from a really exhausting night. You’re absolutely famished since you last ate around 5 pm yesterday evening. You mosey on downstairs and find you’re mom removing a perfectly cooked pizza from the oven because she is best mom ever and she knows how much you looooove her homemade pizza. (Can you tell I added my own little personal touch to that story?) Before you can even ask, she cuts you a slice and serves it to you on a silver platter (or a Frosty the Snowman plate, whatever floats your boat). Since you’re so hungry, you don’t hesitate to pick up slice and begin your lunch. Everything is going swimmingly until you take a great, big bite and you feel like someone is pouring lava directly on your tongue. In a futile attempt to escape the heat of the lava, you open your mouth, tilt your head around, make a few untranslatable noises and move the food around in your mouth. The Ghanaians have a single verb for that whole sequence of actions: pelinti.

Have any younger children in your family? Got any friends with younger siblings? If neither applies to you, if you’ve ever been in an environment with children, or maybe even an immature adult, you’ve definitely had someone mencolek you. This is an Indonesian work that refers to that seemingly pre-historic trick of someone tapping you on the shoulder, and then turning around to find them on the opposite shoulder they tapped you on. I guess the Indonesians still find some comic relief in this “joke”.

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