Word of the Day

Friday, July 14, 2017

Handmade kabelky

On a shop window: Výprodej handmade kabelek

Translation: Handmade bags on sale

Would they sell less if they had výprodej ručně dělaných kabelek?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hühnchenfutter = peanuts?

In the book White House Interpreter:

The meeting proceeded in English for twenty minutes or so. Never needed, I was half asleep when Schmidt suddenly turned to me and wanted the translation of a German word. The word was unexpected, and in my stupor I could not understand it. I asked the chancellor to repeat it. He bellowed out loud, "Hühnchenfutter." This time I understood and replied, "chicken feed." Brzezinski pointed a finger at me and said, " Not with this president, Mr. Obst. The correct term is peanuts." Everybody had a good laugh, because we all knew that Carter had been a peanut farmer in the past.

I couldn't find Hühnchenfutter meaning peanuts any dictionary or on the internet. The most widespread German word for it is Erdnuss, literally "earth nut." I wonder if it was an occasionalism or a slang word from the 70s/80s, when Jimmy Carter wasand in office, or if Brzezinski, a Pole who had been living in the US for so many years, was simply wrong.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Coleslaw the Czech way

My wife's sister-in-law, who is Czech, pronounces coleslaw like Koleslav, in English notation roughly /koh-les-lahf/, as if it were a Slavic name, similar to Ladislav, Bronislav, Vladislav, etc. She says that is how every server in Prague restaurants says the word. I can't help but smile or even laugh when I hear her say it.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Concordância com o objeto

Às coisas simples da vida basta a lanterna da arte, que as organizam e lhes dão sentido e colorido.

Se o que organiza as coisas simples da vida e lhes dá sentido e colorido é a arte, então seria ... que as organiza e lhes dá sentido e colorido. Os pronomes no plural fizeram o autor perder-se na concordância.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Die Antwoord

There's a band by the name Die Antwoord. I thought somebody not acquainted with Dutch came up with the name, as the correct version would be dat antwoord for that answer or dit antwoord for this answer, as antwoord is a neuter nounIt turns out it is Afrikaans for the answer, in Dutch: het antwoord.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Romanian is the only language I've come across that has its own term, tonomat, for the Anglicism jukebox. Ton is related to tone and mat to automaton and bankomat, a word used in several European countries to refer to an ATM or a hole in the wall, as the English are said to call it.