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Friday, April 1, 2016

Lost In Translation

Like my father before me, I’m a word geek. You knew that though. Right?

According to Philip Durkin, Oxford English prof and author of Borrowed Words: A History of Loanwords in English, Latin and French dominate our word theft picture.
Even among the 1000 most frequently used words in modern English, not far short of 50 percent have come into the language from French or Latin. (source)
While rambling 'round the Intertoobz earlier this week, I stumbled across this tremendous post 21 Perfect German Words We Need In English, Because everything sounds better in German. New words – yes, yes, YES!

 Fernweh means a longing for far off places. I fired up Google’s translaion engine to get the direct, word for word version. It spat out wanderlust. German to German and now English. Fabulous! We adopted wanderlust in the very early 20th century.

Fuchsteufelswild, literally Fox Devil Wild. The translation engine gave me just one word – livid.
The word "fuchsteufelswild" is used in German to describe an enraged person who is as wild as a fox and mad as the devil. (source)
Well then, doesn't this seem a shade or 12 more descriptive and scarier than “livid.”

The engine gave me NO english word for fremdschämen.
This German word is made up of two parts, with fremd meaning “foreign” and schämen meaning “to be embarrassed.” The term is typically used to describe someone who feels embarrassment on behalf of someone else. The corresponding noun for this feeling is Fremdscham. (source)
Oof, I’ve certainly experienced this and I’m sure my chums regularly feel this for yurs truly. *sigh*

No translation engine joy when I keyed in Torschlusspanik which Mister Lewis, BuzzFeed's UK Executive Editor, tells us means, iterally “gate shutiing panic.”
This is the fear that time is running out. It describes the panic you get when you realise one day that in actual fact, you haven’t done very much with your life, and if you don’t act soon then you may miss out on more opportunities as time passes and the ‘gate closes.' (source)
AND nada for Frühjahrsmüdigkeit. The first thing that came up, in my search, was Wikipedia’s page for Spring Fever.
Spring fever is a term applied to several sets of physical and psychological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. In general it refers to an increase in energy, vitality and particularly sexual appetite, often particularly strong in those suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD)…clip…In some uses however it refers to the opposite, an unexpected loss of energy with the onset of spring.

As a translation of the German term "Frühjahrsmüdigkeit" (lit. "Spring tiredness"), Spring Fever is the name for a temporary mood typically characterized by a state of low energy and weariness experienced by many people in springtime. It is not in the category of a diagnosed illness, but rather a phenomenon thought to be initiated by a change in the season.
Ruby brought back a gold nugget ring from her Alaskan adventure
Huh. OK. I never thought of "spring fever" as anything other than a mad, crazy, joy, joy kind of a thing.

Sehnsucht translated into English as “nostalgia,” a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time...(source)
The German phrase’s meaning though is “an intense yearning for something far off and indefinable.” So, it could be nostalgia but, that far off yearning thing, might be something entirely different. Mebbe I’ve got a deep soul ache to time travel back to one of my grandmother’s big solo adventures – like when she drove from Toldedo, Ohio up to Alaska. The AlCan Highway project wouldn’t even be started for another ten years. I want to make that trip with Ruby.

In all my Googling, I came upon which has a Word of the Week page. Yup, I see myself happily wandering around this place for hours.

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