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-   -   Foreign words with a twist (https://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=26395)

Nick 2021-01-12 16:18

Foreign words with a twist
 
This is a thread about words taken from one language and used with a related but distinct meaning in another language.

A typical way in which this occurs is that common nouns in local languages become proper nouns in other languages.
For example:
[LIST][*]Bantu was the Bantu people's word for "people";[*]Chechen is the Chechen word for "people";[*]Nile was (disputedly) the local word for "river".[/LIST]You can imagine an outsider arriving, asking "what's that?" and being told "it's the river" (using the local word),
then thinking "apparently they call it the Nile".

xilman 2021-01-12 18:57

"Deutsch" or "Dutch" originally meant "people".

Avon (as in Stratford-on Avon) is Celtic for "river". There are quite a few "River Avon"s in the UK.

The best example in my experience is a village called Brill in Buckinghamshire, a couple of km from where I used to live. It is located at the top of a prominent hill and is often called Brill-on-the-hill. Brill itself was registered in the Domesday book as Brunhelle. The -helle part is obviously the Ænglisc [I]hyll[/I], modern English [I]hill[/I]. The first part is from the Brythonic Celtic [I]breg[/I], also meaning [I]hill[/I] (c.f. Lallans [I]brae[/I] for [I]hillside[/I] or [I]brow of a hill[/I]).

So, a place called Hill-hill-on-the-hill.

Nick 2021-01-31 10:30

Be there or be ... plaza?
 
The English word "square" has a chequered history.
Even in geometry, its definition is not standardized
(are the interior points part of the square, like a disc, or just the outline, like a circle?)

Figuratively, it was once a positive word, as in a "square meal" (wholesome) or "fair and square",
but later it acquired a negative connotation, as in "be there or be square" (not cool).
Perhaps to escape this, shopping squares and suchlike now prefer the Spanish word "plaza".
Thus, in Spanish, it means a public town square but, in English, it is more usually a private one
to which the public are invited to spend their money.

rudy235 2021-01-31 11:28

ONCE
 
In English once is only one time.

In Spanish "once" is eleven times more than "[I]once[/I]".

pinhodecarlos 2021-01-31 11:43

Let’s go further. If you read “Pay day” very fast is the same as “I farted”/“peidei” in Portuguese.

Uncwilly 2021-01-31 15:33

[QUOTE=pinhodecarlos;570561]Let’s go further. If you read “Pay day” very fast is the same as “I farted”/“peidei” in Portuguese.[/QUOTE] I saw a cautionary road sign a while back in Norway that said (to the best of my recollection) "Pass Farten" or "Passe Farten". I was told by a local that it means "Watch the Speed". I did not get a picture of it at the time. I have been unable to find a picture of that specific sign. Those who have done some running training might know about "Fertlek" training. That is Swedish for "Speed Play".

Dr Sardonicus 2021-02-01 02:38

[QUOTE=Nick;570559]The English word "square" has a chequered history.
Even in geometry, its definition is not standardized
(are the interior points part of the square, like a disc, or just the outline, like a circle?)

Figuratively, it was once a positive word, as in a "square meal" (wholesome) or "fair and square",
but later it acquired a negative connotation, as in "be there or be square" (not cool).
Perhaps to escape this, shopping squares and suchlike now prefer the Spanish word "plaza".
Thus, in Spanish, it means a public town square but, in English, it is more usually a private one
to which the public are invited to spend their money.[/QUOTE]In the good ol' USA, the expression "the public square" is still in current use. In Chicago, Washington Square Park used to be an open-air forum which acquired the nickname "Bughouse Square." The Bughouse Square Debates are still an annual event.

"Square" still has a number of positive connotations and meanings:

In addition to "square meal" (a full or satisfying meal) and "fair and square" (of unquestionable legitimacy) there is

"square deal" meaning an honest or fair deal or trade (President Theodore Roosevelt called his domestic program "the Square Deal")

"square(s) with," to agree or be consistent with;

"square (it or things) with someone" means possibly to make amends with them, and/or to obtain their consent or permission;

"squarely" (directly, forthrightly);

"On the square" is not common these days, but it and "on the level" and "level with" are from Freemasonry, the reference to things used in masonry; they mean fair and honest dealing.

"We're square" means neither owes the other money; it can also mean some other matter is now mutually agreed to be settled.

"Squared away" means arranged, in order, or taken care of.

A couple of long running negative "square" terms:

A "square peg in a round hole" is an idiom for a nonconformist or someone who is out of place. (Ironically, square pegs [i]are[/i] often driven into round holes.)

"Square the/that circle" is used to mean something difficult or impossible, and "circle-squarer" to mean someone who attempts - and often claims to have achieved - something impossible.

LaurV 2021-02-01 10:08

I always dream to [URL="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gztHJ5avro"]square marden[/URL]...

Bolero 2021-02-01 16:37

[QUOTE=Nick;569065]
You can imagine an outsider arriving, asking "what's that?" and being told "it's the river" (using the local word),
then thinking "apparently they call it the Nile".[/QUOTE]
Same with [URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara"]Sahara[/URL], which basically means "desert" in Arabic.

xilman 2021-02-01 17:04

Somewhat related, but only somewhat because the terms are not in common use, we have semi-adopted a couple of farm cats at our place in La Palma.

One has been called "Cake" and the other "Torte". The reason is left as an exercise for the reader.

LaurV 2021-02-02 09:45

[QUOTE=xilman;570667]
One has been called "Cake" and the other "Torte". The reason is left as an exercise for the reader.[/QUOTE]
One only speaks English, the other one only speaks Spanish.
What's my prize? :razz:

Edit: if the one which speaks Spanish also likes Cola, will you call it "Torticollis"?


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