I am fascinated by this video which shows the different dialects in the U.S.A. and I would absolutely love to see one done for Australia. Maybe it’s already been done; I’m going to do some research. If it hasn’t, I should probably make it happen.
I remember when I was about twelve my older brother interviewed me for his linguistics class and asked me to read out a series of words like lieutenant, hue, pew, etc. and I found it really interesting. I also mispronounced ‘pew’ as ‘poo’ because I wasn’t familiar with the word, and my brother cried with laughter.
So, a while ago, one of my favourite bloggers (and favourite people) Olive Brown posted a link to a list of incredible words with no English equivalent. It warms my heart.
I think we (Australians; New Zealanders; probably Britons and North American native English-speakers) are sort of conditioned to think of English as superior, since it is so widely spoken and accepted as THE international language (I think maybe it is the lingua franca of the world, but correct me if I’m wrong…) when, really, other languages are amazing in ways that are unimaginable until you learn a second language, which, incidentally, I think everyone in the world should do.
So anyway, far less impressive and poetic than the above link, I think quite lovely in its own humble way, here is my list of the best Spanish words that have no English equivalent:
- ‘Anteayer’ – This word simply means ‘the day before yesterday’. Why does English not have a word for this?!
- ‘Parluegos’ – An abbreviation of ‘para luego’ which means ‘for later’, this refers to the bits of food you get stuck in your teeth when you eat chips/corn/popcorn/broccoli.*
- ‘Sopicama’ – It’s just the word for soup ‘sopa’ and the word for bed ‘cama’ squished together, and it refers to just that: soup in bed. You know, the microwave soup you have in bed when you’re sick, or the cup-a-noodle soup you drunkenly make yourself and then eat in bed after a night out. (No? Just me?)**
*This is, I’m fairly certain, Madrid-specific Spanish slang.
**I’m not going to lie, my friend Jaime actually invented this word but I think it’s brilliant and I will continue to advocate its usage in all hispanic countries throughout the world.