Tag Archives: language

27 – Loanwords

The enjoyment in reading Robert Burns insulting his reviewer is the joy we can all sometimes find in someone else’s misfortune. As we do not have a word for this concept in english we have to borrow schadenfreude from german. But what does that say about our culture: are we rather noble in not to having a word for such a low pleasure or are we hypocritical in not wanting to acknowledge a feeling that everybody knows exists? Or, on the other hand, what does it say about us, as a traditionally buttoned up nation (though I do believe that tradition has now faded) that we have to rely on the French for joie de vivre? When words have to be borrowed to precisely describe a concept, it must mean that previously we had not thought the concept important enough to name. Why would that be?

I will leave that hanging whilst I take today’s fleeting pleasure in finding a couple of other words that should be adopted into the language:

Uitwaaien (pronounced out-vye-in) is a Dutch word meaning to take a brief break in the countryside to clear one’s head. Literally it means walking in the wind. Either way it is a word I ave wanted all my life. The concept of walking in a bit of weather to refresh the mind is so common why isn’t their an english equivalent.

Spaegie is a Shetland dialect word for delayed onset muscle soreness. DOMS has no poetry whatsoever and should be replaced forthwith.

P.S. The website to go to for such words is: BetterThanEnglish