ToTC and tartle

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Thu Jul 27 05:36:31 EDT 2000


Excellent! Like a real-words version of The Meaning of Liff. (Every time I
see a signpost for Bovey Tracy I giggle).
Jennifer

***
Do you ever find yourself thinking "there should be a word for that" after
finishing a long-winded description? Now that Howard Rheingold's "They Have
a Word for It" has come back into print, you can summon the clever
resources of unfamiliar tongues. Here's a sampling of words from foreign
languages that have no exact equivalent in ours:


esprit de l'escalier (French) - clever remark that comes to mind when it is
too late to utter it

hakamoroo (Easter Island) - the act of keeping a borrowed object until the
owner has to ask for it back

tartle (Scotch) - the act of hesitation when you can't remember someone's
name


Rheingold discusses each word in turn, illustrating how they reflect -- and
in part create -- different modes of thought, feeling, and value.
***

I was about to bring up Suzette Haden Elgin's _Native Tongue_ series in
response (I
remember others mentioning Elgin before as well) (in general I prefer her
Ozark
trilogy) when I realized 'Do you ever find yourself thinking "there should
be a
word for that" after finishing a long-winded description?"' wasn't the start
of a
new thread... but it could be...

Jennifer Forsyth

P.S. I particularly like "tartle."

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