[Oxford Dictionaries_blog] All the tea in China: English words of Chinese origin

All the tea in China: English words of Chinese origin

An extract from the Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins

Chinese civilization stretches back at least to the 3rd millennium BC. It is the source of many of the world’s great inventions, including paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing, not to mention china (porcelain) itself.

But maybe the greatest contribution that the country and its language have made to the Western world is tea. The drink is first mentioned in English in 1655. The Chinese source chá also gives us the slang term char, as in ‘a nice cup of char’, used from the early years of the 20th century. The Chinese connection is remembered in the emphatic refusal not for all the tea in China, first found in US English in the early 20th century.

People drinking something stronger than tea might say chin-chin, or ‘cheers!’ This is a mangled pronunciation of qing qing, a Chinese greeting. Another ‘doubled’ word is chop-chop, or ‘quickly’. Chop here is a pidgin Chinese rendition of Chinese kuaì ‘quick, nimble’, and is also found in chopstick.

Our range of savoury relishes was extended when traders introduced us toketchup at the end of the 17th century. The name may come from Chinesek’ē chap ‘tomato juice’. Contact with imperial China in the early 19th century introduced Westerners to the Chinese custom of kowtowing—kneeling down and touching the forehead on the ground in worship or submission. The word means literally ‘to knock the head’.

Ginseng is a plant whose root is credited with various health-giving and medicinal properties. Its Chinese name, rénshén, literally means ‘man root’, a reference to the root’s forked shape, which supposedly resembles a person.

Gung-ho, meaning ‘unthinkingly enthusiastic and eager, especially about fighting’, dates from the Second World War. It is from Chinese gōnghé ‘to work together’, and was adopted as a slogan by the US Marines fighting in the Pacific under General Evans Carlson (1896–1947). He organized ‘kung-hoi’ meetings to discuss problems and explain orders to promote cooperation.

Increasing interest in our living spaces in the 1990s led to the popularity offeng shui, the ancient Chinese system of designing buildings and arranging objects in rooms to achieve a positive flow of energy and so bring happiness or good luck. It goes back a long way in English, and even had an entry in theEncyclopaedia Britannica of 1797. Not all our Chinese words are ancient, though. China’s first manned space flight in 2003 gave us taikonaut, a Chinese astronaut—taikong means ‘outer space’.

Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins

Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins is also available on Oxford Reference.


Cf. original piece: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2014/03/tea-china-english-words-chinese-origin/

[Repost] Why is the ‘mor’ in ‘Voldemort’ so evil-sounding? (by James Harbeck)

Why is the ‘mor’ in ‘Voldemort’ so evil-sounding?

Voldemort, Mordor, Moriarty — exploring literature’s most sinister syllable
By James Harbeck | March 12, 2014
He who shall not be named.
He who shall not be named. (Facebook.com/HarryPotterMovie)
Sherlock Holmes’s mortal nemesis was Professor Moriarty.

Harry Potter’s nemesis was Voldemort.

Doctor Who had a nemesis named Morbius. So did Spider-Man. Morbius was also the name of the antagonist in The Forbidden Planet.

Frodo Baggins went through the mines of Moria to get to Mordor, where he met Sauron, who, as great a villain as he was, started out as the lieutenant of Morgoth, the original and darkest villain in the world of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

H.G. Wells sent his time traveller into the future to encounter a cave-dwelling evil race called the Morlocks. He also created an evil genius called Dr. Moreau.

King Arthur was betrayed by Mordred.

The really scuzzy city in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is Morpork.

So what’s the deal with “mor”? Is there something to the syllable that suits it for melancholy, darkness, and villainy?

We have to be careful here. There are more words out there that have “mor” that don’t carry such dark tones. The names Morgan, Maureen, and Maurice aren’t so sinister (well, possibly excepting the case of Piers Morgan), and people just wanted more and more of Mork from Ork. So we can’t say that this “mor” sound carries darkness and death wherever it goes.

But we can say that it has some dark associations available if we want to use them. For starters, the Latin “mor” root (as in moribund and mortal and French words such as morte) refers to death; there is an old Germanic root mora for darkness, which shows up in words such as murky; our modern word murder comes from an Old English word morth for the same; and, of course, amorgue is a place where dead bodies are kept. That’s enough to give a familiar ring. And every evil name that has “mor” in it adds to the weight of the association, especially when they’re famousevil names.

In fact, “mor” may be what is sometimes called a phonestheme: a part of a word that tends to carry a certain connotation not because of etymology or formal definition but just by association. Words that start with “gl” often have to do with light (glow, gleam, glimmer, glitter, glisten, etc.) even though they are not all related historically; similarly, words that start with “sn” often relate to the nose (snoot, sniffle, snot, snore, sneeze, etc.). It doesn’t mean that all words with those letters have the meaning in common, but there is a common thread among a notable set of them.

How does this happen? Whether it’s through sound association or the force of a particular root word, it just seems to snowball. It may be partly through words with phonesthemes in them being preferred to words without (glitter chosen over coruscate because it sounds more, well, glittery), partly through words with phonesthemes in them shifting sense under the influence of the phonestheme (snub is getting more nose-focused), and partly through words changing form to come to have phonesthemes in them.

One possible case of a word changing form to have a phonestheme is the oldest of the “mor” names above, Mordred, the betrayer of King Arthur. His name actually was originally Medraut orModred, Celtic versions of the Latin Moderatus. How did it get the “mor”? Possibly with some influence of his mother, Morgause, or of Morgan le Fay. But possibly also through some sound associations, with murder (earlier murther) and with the French morte. After all, the best-known account of the Arthurian legend is Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.

We know that some of the names drew directly and deliberately on “mor” words. J.R.R. Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon and knew very well what he was up to when he chose his words.Morgoth, Mordor, and Moria are all formed using the same mor root that shows up in his Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin, a root referring to darkness and blackness. He borrowed it from the old Germanic word mora, which, as I mentioned, shows up in the modern word murky.

J.K. Rowling is well known as a dab hand at wordplay. Voldemort is right from French: it can mean “flight from death” or “theft of death.” Rowling herself pronounces it with a silent t as in the French, though she’s just about the only one who does.

Classical roots very likely played a role in the name Morbius, too. The first one, after whom the others (in Spider-Man and Dr. Who) are named, was in the 1956 movie The Forbidden Planet: Dr. Edward Morbius, his ship’s master of languages and meaning, a man with an out-of-control unconscious. Morbius himself would have noticed the resemblance of his name to Möbius (of the famous loop) and Morpheus (shape-shifting god of dreams). He probably also would have known its similarity to Latin morbus, meaning “sickness” — source of English morbid. We can reckon safely that Irving Block and Allen Adler, who wrote the story and invented the name, had some idea of this too.

What about the other names? We don’t always know what the authors were thinking. But we do know that they may readily have been influenced by the sound.

Sherlock’s nemesis Jim Moriarty from the BBC show Sherlock (Screen shot, BBC)

Moriarty is an actual Irish family name. Why did Arthur Conan Doyle choose that name specifically when he created him in 1893? Not to vilify the Irish — Conan Doyle had Irish roots himself. There may have been influence of the “art” in Moriarty, and there may have been influence of the “mor” too. What’s surer is that Moriarty adds weight to the overall effect of “mor” in evil names.

Likewise, when H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine in 1895, we don’t know why he called his evil cave-dwelling descendants of humans Morlocks, but it’s easy to see that Morlock sounds likewarlock — plus a murky and mortal Mor, which is also in the French name Moreau, which Wells chose the following year for his evil genius who changes animals into humans.

Terry Pratchett’s Morpork (part of the twinned city Ankh-Morpork) is a bit of an outlier here, because while it’s a nasty, dirty city, it’s not quite as evil — and Pratchett’s books are humorous. The sound of “more pork” is hard to miss. But so is the dark “mor.”

There are plenty of evil persons and places with no trace of a “mor,” of course. Phonesthemes aren’t by any means sure-fire things. But if you’re coming up with a name for someone or something evil, especially if it’s dark and deadly and unnatural, “mor” has a good effect. No doubt that had some influence when Scott Adams, who draws Dilbert, named his Preventer of Information Services Mordac.

James Harbeck is a professional word taster and sentence sommelier (an editor trained in linguistics). He is the author of the blog Sesquiotica and the book Songs of Love and Grammar.

English Oddities: 10 modi di dire bizzarri sugli animali

Animal Idioms (Articolo in ITALIANO)

Further Examples here: http://www.idiomconnection.com/animal.html

Help Traduzioni - Studio di traduzioni e comunicazione web

IDIOM - Help Traduzioni

di Angela Di Giorno

L’immaginario inglese non finisce mai di stupire. Di pappagalli e asini avevo avevo già parlato in un post precedente dedicato agli idiomi inglesi. Ecco qui di seguito altri 10 modi di dire bizzarri aventi come protagonisti gli animali.

Rane - Help Traduzioni

1. To juggle frogs: letteralmente il verbo to juggle significa ‘fare il giocoliere’ o in senso figurato ‘destreggiarsi’, quindi l’espressione suonerebbe tipo ‘maneggiare le rane’. È usata in situazioni complicate in cui si sta svolgendo un compito particolarmente difficile e impegnativo. Se immagino la scena direi che sono d’accordo: le rane sono piuttosto viscide!

2. In a pig’s eye: indica incredulità e scetticismo. Dire che qualcosa si verificherà in a pig’s eye equivale a dire che è molto improbabile. L’implicazione si basa sull’idea che il punto di vista di un maiale non può essere molto attendibile…

scimmie - Help Traduzioni3. To have more fun than a barrel…

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[Repost] 20 “Forgotten” Words That Should Be Brought Back (by Lana Winter-Hébert)

Previously shared on twitter by Wise OWL Translations

Cf. original piece: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/20-forgotten-words-that-should-brought-back.html

20 “Forgotten” Words That Should Be Brought Back


Languages are living things that shift and evolve over time. If you look atthe history of the English language, from Anglo Saxon through the Great Vowel Shift to what we consider Standard English today, you’ll notice that it has undergone some spectacular changes over the centuries. Some basic words have stuck around through the ages, like “father”, “house”, “egg”, “boat” and so on, but just as new words developed over time, other words were discarded along the way.

Many others from Shakespeare’s time through to the early 20th century have fallen out of common usage, and we are undoubtedly the poorer for it. Here are 20 words that could only serve to add a bit more colour to our daily lives if they happened to come back into regular use.

1. Bunbury


An imaginary person whose name is used as an excuse to some purpose, especially to visit a place.

“Auntie Jane the cottage dweller” was my go-to bunbury whenever I wanted to take a day off to go play in the forest.

2. Scurrilous


The description of something said or done unfairly to make people have a bad opinion of someone.

Mrs. Mumford had spread rather scurrilous gossip about Miss Violet in the hope of tarnishing her reputation. Honestly, who would do that sort of thing with a llama?

3. Gallimaufry


A hodge-podge, or jumbled medley (can also refer to an edible dish).

Lydia’s casserole was a veritable gallimaufry of beans, raisins, cauliflower, sausage, cheap wine, and cabbage. Guests never asked for second helpings.

4. Thrice


Three times.

I’ve told you twice not to eat raw pork with mustard or you’ll get sick—don’t make me say it thrice!

5. Blithering


Talking utterly and completely foolishly, OR used to describe a foolish person.

The blithering idiot was blithering on about something or other, but I tuned him out.

6. Pluviophile


A person who takes great joy and comfort in rainy days.

Your average pluviophile will be in utter glory when thunder roils, as she can curl up with blankets and books while rain pours down outside.

7. Librocubularist


One who reads in bed.

When you’re married to a librocubularist, you can rest assured that you’ll have to compete with a stack of books for nighttime attention.

8. Febricula


A slight and transient fever.

Attending the opening of Twilight’s 17th sequel gave Arabella a mild febricula, but the air-conditioned cinema interior cleared it up quickly. 

9. Starrify


To decorate with stars.

The student council would starrify the high school gym every year in preparation for the homecoming dance. 

10. Sophronize


To imbue with sound moral principles or self-control.

It’s vital that parents sophronize children, not just expect them to behave properly of their own volition—you know what havoc they’d wreak.

11. Mullock


Rubbish, nonsense, or waste matter.

I don’t know what kind of mullock you’re gibbering on about today, but you really need to stop reading those conspiracy magazines.

12. Uglyography


Poor handwriting, and bad spelling.

His uglyography was so heinous that his essay was used as kindling, but the flames extinguished themselves rather than be tainted by association.

13. Namelings

plural noun

Those bearing the same name.

There were six boys named Jason in that particular class, prompting the teacher to address them all by their last names. When faced with namelings who both answered to “Jason Birch”, she called them “Birch” and “tree”, respectively.

14. Ultracrepidarianism


The habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge.

Child-free people who try to give parenting advice are often guilty of the worst kind of ultracrepidarianism.

15. Pannychis


An all-night feast or ceremony.

Edmund took another energy drink, hoping that its caffeine content would help him survive this raucous pannychis.

16. Guttle


To gobble greedily; to cram food into one’s gut.

The dinner guests watched in horror as Lord Penderquist guttled an entire roasted boar into his maw.

17. Snollyguster


A person, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles.

The snollyguster who won the mayoral election just lines his pockets with cash to support his drug habit.

18. Welkin


The upper sky; “vault” of heaven.

Icarus would have passed through the welkin on his legendary flight, but we all know how that turned out for him. 

19. Barbigerous


Characterized by having a beard.

I had wanted to compliment him on his fiancee’s beauty,  but her barbigerous aspect was so dominant that I had to remain silent.

20. Eventide


The end of the day, just as evening approaches.

Moonflowers only bloom at eventide, opening their petals as the sun slips below the horizon.

As a special little addition, we’ll also reach into the annals of history for a fun little Anglo-Saxon term that we can all relate to:



To lie awake in the period just before dawn because you’re worrying too much to be able to sleep.

Caedda uhtcearan: Him þūhte þá éowa ēanian. Hwā wolde hē his wīf asecgan?

How many of these do you often use? If You’ve Never Used These English Idioms, You’re Probably Not a Native English Speaker


Lana Winter-Hébert

Wordsmith. Lana likes to play with words and punctuation marks, arranging them into aesthetically-pleasing shapes that tell stories. When she isn’t writing or editing, she’s either immersed in illustration and design for Winter-Hébert—the design studio she runs with her husband—or curled up under a tree with a book.

[Repost] 13 Words You Probably Didn’t Know Were Coined By Authors (by Paul Anthony Jones)

Previously shared on fb by Las 1001 Traducciones
Cf. original piece http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-anthony-jones/13-words-you-probably-did_b_4795071.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
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13 Words You Probably Didn’t Know Were Coined By Authors
Posted: 02/20/2014 8:03 am EST Updated: 02/20/2014 8:59 am EST


Last month, HuffPost Books put together a list of 13 Words You Probably Didn’t Know Were Invented By Shakespeare. Amongst them were such everyday terms ascourtshipcriticalgloomylaughablegenerous and hurry. Although debate rages about whether Shakespeare actually coined these terms himself or was merely the first person to write them down, it is at least likely that a fair proportion of the 1,700 words and phrases his works provide the first evidence of were indeed his. (And given that his Complete Works includes only around 30,000 different words in all, that’s still around 1 in every 30.)

But Shakespeare isn’t the be-all and end-all of course (that’s another of his by the way). English has had its fair share of literary giants over the years who, from Chaucer and Milton to Dickens and even Dr. Seuss, have each contributed words to our language. Here are 13 words that authors coined:

If you’re not a fan of his books then it’s probably no surprise that Charles Dickens is credited with inventing the word boredom in his classic 1853 novel Bleak House. Dickens’s works also provide the earliest records of the words cheesinessfluffiness,flummoxrampagewagonful and snobbish — although snobbishness was invented by William Thackeray.

A combination of “chuckle” and “snort,” chortle was coined by Lewis Carroll in his 1871 novel Through The Looking-Glass. Carroll, like Shakespeare, is celebrated for his linguistic inventiveness and coined a vast number of similar expressions (which he termed “portmanteaux”) that blend together two pre-existing words, includingfrumious (“fuming” and “furious”), mimsy (“miserable” and “flimsy”), frabjous(“fabulous” and “joyous”), and slithy (“slimy” and “lithe”).

A name for the imagined location in which a dream takes place, the worddreamscape was coined by Sylvia Plath in her 1958 poem, “The Ghost’s Leavetaking.” One of the 20th century’s most important female writers, Plath also invented the words sleep-talkwindrippedsweat-wet and grrring, which she used in her short story The It-Doesn’t-Matter Suit to describe the sound of alley-cats.

The earliest record of the word freelance in English comes from Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel Ivanhoe. Whereas today it describes a journalist or similar worker employed on a project-by-project basis, it originally described a mercenary knight or soldier with no allegiance to a specific country, who instead offered his services in exchange for money.

The name of both a type of loose-fitting breeches (knickerbockers) and an ice cream (a knickerbocker glory), on its first appearance in English the word knickerbockerwas a nickname for someone descended from the original Dutch settlers of New York. In this context, it is derived from a pseudonym of Washington Irving, author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, who published his first major work, a satirical History of New York, under the alias Diedrich Knickerbocker in 1809.

Although there is some debate as to where the word nerd comes from — one theory claims it comes from Mortimer Snerd, a dummy used by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen in the 1940s and 50s, while another claims it is a reversal of the word “drunk” — more often than not it is credited to Dr. Seuss, whose 1950 poem If I Ran The Zoo provides the word’s first written record.

Nowadays we use pandemonium to mean simply “chaos” or “noisy confusion,” but given that its literal translation is “place of all demons” this is a pretty watered-down version — in fact it was coined in 1667 by the English poet John Milton, who used it as the name of the capital of Hell in his epic Paradise Lost.

The earliest written record of the word pie-hole, a slang name for the mouth, comes from Stephen King’s 1983 novel Christine. Admittedly however, this is something of a grey area as it’s questionable whether King actually coined the word himself.

The word robot was first used in the play R.U.R. (“Rossum’s Universal Robots”) written by the Czech playwright Karel Čapek in 1920, and first translated into English in 1923. Čapek in turn credited the word to his brother, Josef, who presumably based it on the Czech word robotnik, meaning “slave” or “worker.” Unlike today, in the play Čapek’s robots were not automated machines but rather artificial “people” made of skin and bone but mass-produced in factories, who eventually revolt against mankind to take over the world.

Tintinnabulation, another name for “a ringing of bells,” is credited to Edgar Allan Poe, who, appropriately enough, used it in a 1831 poem called “The Bells.” Other words Poe’s works provide the first record of include sentience (in The Fall of the House of Usher, 1839), multicolor (in the short tale The Landscape Garden, 1842) andnormality (in Eureka, 1848).

The works of Geoffrey Chaucer provide the Oxford English Dictionary with more first attestations of English words than any other writer. Like Shakespeare, it is difficult (if not impossible) to ascertain which of these 2,000+ words Chaucer actuallyinvented and which were already in use before he wrote them down, but twitter, supposedly onomatopoeic of the sound of birds, is almost certainly his.

If one 20th century writer above all others rivaled Shakespeare’s linguistic creativity, it was Thomas Hardy. Unslumbering, meaning “in a state of restlessness,” is probably one of the most straightforward and most useful of his inventions, with more outlandish Hardyisms including outskeletonblast-beruffleddiscompose and evenunbe (the opposite of “be”). In fact, Hardy himself once commented, “I have looked up a word in the dictionary for fear of being again accused of coining, and have found it there right enough — only to read on and find that the sole authority is myself.”

It might be one of the world’s biggest corporations today, but the word yahoo has its more humble origins in Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift’s 1726 adventure story in which the “Yahoos” are a race of dangerously brutish men. Within just a few years of its publication, the name yahoo had been adopted into English as another word for any equally loutish, violent or unsophisticated person.

Based on material taken from Haggard Hawks & Paltry Poltroons and@HaggardHawks.

Follow Paul Anthony Jones on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HaggardHawks

[Repost] 21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand (by Maddi Lewis)

Previously shared on fb by ElleDi Traduzioni

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

Now, which language do I write this post in again…?posted on March 12, 2014 at 10:59am EDT

Maddi Lewis


1. Needing a word in one language but only being able to think of it in the other.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“What’s the name of that little thing that lives in Australia? It’s ‘ornithorynque’ in French, what is it in English?”

2. Accidentally speaking the wrong language.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Warner Brothers Pictures / Via theheartofcamelot.com

“Yes, do you have a question?”
“Oui, savez-vous où… sorry.”

3. Having to speak in one language after you haven’t used it in ages.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Universal Pictures / Via prettyguilty.com

“I just came ba- oh, in French? Umm… Je, euh, je viens de passer mes vacances à, euh, c’est-à-dire en Australie où, euh, où j’ai vu un platyp- un ornithorynque.”

4. “Ooooh! Say something in [insert language here]!!!”

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Buena Vista Pictures / Via herecomesjohnny.tumblr.com

Um, okay. “Va t’en, s’il te plaît.” GO AWAY.

5. “OMG! Teach me [insert language here]!”

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
NBC / Via mashable.com

Okay, do you have several years to spare? ‘Cause I sure don’t.

6. “Will you pleeeease do my [insert language here] homework? Since you’re an expert and all.”

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
BBC / Via giphy.com

A) No B) NO C) NO

7. Being the automatic translator whenever anything in your language is present: people, films, books, the translations of nutrition facts on food labels, etc…

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
MTV / Via rebloggy.com

Do you really need me to tell you that “hydrates de carbone” means “carbohydrates?” Is this really something you need reinforced?

8. Having people assume that, since you know one foreign language, you can therefore help them with any given language, no matter what it is.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
The CW / Via goodreads.com

“You need my help? Okay, well I don’t speak Spanish… No, it doesn’t matter than Spain and France are next to each other. The languages are not the same.”

9. Accidentally changing language mid-sentence.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“I saw this guy on Friday night, et il était le plus bel homme du monde, il était tellement magni- damn it, sorry.”

10. Autcorrect. Just, autocorrect.

Autcorrect. Just, autocorrect.

Screenshot / Via Maddi’s iPhone


This is what happens when you type English into a French keyboard. It’s mayhem.

11. Trying to tell really funny jokes from one language and having them fall flat because the humor gets lost in translation.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“It’s really funny, I swear it is! No, like, seriously! I promise!”

12. Thinking something through in one language and then having to say it in the other.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“Hold on, let me translate my thoughts real quick…”

13. Reading one language as if it were the other and being totally confused when it makes no sense.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
FOX / Via goodreads.com

“This is absolute gibberish!!… OH, it’s in English. Never mind.”

14. When you try to impress someone with your bilingualism but they couldn’t care less.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Paramount Pictures / Via cjr.org

“Well, heyyy there! What’s your sign- or, should I say, quel est votre signe? Oh, not interested? That’s cool. Just walk away now.”

15. Anything to do with accents: sounding American when you speak your foreign language, sounding foreign when you speak English, getting accents mixed up, etc. It’s a struggle.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
NBC / Via stevencee.com

“Ah, crap- did I really just do a guttural ‘R?’ I’m not speaking French right now! What am I doing??”

16. When you visit wherever your “foreign” language is spoken and can’t understand a single word of any of the slang.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

It’s not the same between countries. Slang is not is universal.

17. When someone thinks they speak your language perfectly even though they only had, like, one semester of it in high school but they insist on using it anyways and it’s awful.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
NBC / Via gifrific.com

“Uh huh, what you just said actually makes no sense, and half of it was just American words said with an accent.”

18. Accidentally trying to use foreign words in Scrabble/Words with Friends.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“But it’s worth so many poooooiiinntttssss.” 😦 😦 😦

19. Getting grammar rules mixed up.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
The Walt Disney Company / Via teen.com

The English sentence is ‘Oh yea, I saw him there when I bought that.’ In French, you say ‘Oui, je l’y ai vu quand je l’ai acheté.’ Direct translation? ‘Yes, I he there saw when I it bought.’ Now YOU try to not get that shit mixed up when switching languages.

20. Knowing the subtitles for foreign-language characters in films are horribly wrong.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“Yea, he didn’t just say ‘Put the money in the bag, bitch.’ He said, ‘Give me the duck and crackers, son.’”

21. IDIOMS. They never translate between languages, and languages don’t really share idioms.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“Vous avez le cul bordé de nouilles?* Oh my god, are you okay? Oh… another damn idiom. Sorry.”

*This is a real idiom that literally means “to have an ass lined with noodles.” The idiomatic meaning? “To be lucky.” Yea, I don’t get it either.

[Repost] 7 Backstories Behind Everyday Technology Terms (by Yohana Desta)

7 Backstories Behind Everyday Technology Terms


Mouse, cookie, spam — all of these words are double agents.

The common terms take on a second meaning when it comes to the tech world. Everyday words are lifted from the dictionary and crafted to have entirely different meanings to represent their computer counterparts.

Then there’s the terminology flip-side, where words like “meme” or “weblog” are completely made up to define new Internet advancements.

Do you ever wonder how those terms came to be? We do. Here are seven backstories behind popular tech terms we constantly use.

1. Mouse



What it is: A navigational device used for computers.
Where it came from: No one really knows, not even its inventor, Douglas Engelbart. 

“I don’t know why we call it a mouse. Sometimes I apologize. It started that way and we never did change it,” he said, during a 1968 conference where he introduced the creation. In another interview with Super Kids, he said “no one” could remember the origin, but that it “looked like a mouse with a tail, and we all called it that in the lab.”

Roger Bates, a hardware designer who had been working on the mouse at the time, remembers things a bit differently. In the book What the Dormouse Said, he says the cursor on the computer screen used to be called a “CAT,” so it was only natural the cat would chase the mouse.

2. Blog



What it is: A personal website for writing posts and sharing links.
Where it came from: The term is actually a shortened nickname for “weblog.” Coined in 1997 by Jorn Barger, the term referred to his website Robot Wisdom, which “logged his Internet wanderings.” As time progressed, the word was truncated and grew as a popular web pastime. 

3. Cookies



What it is: A small piece of information stored when you visit a website.
Where it came from: It’s derived from “magic cookies,” an older computing term with essentially the same meaning. Lou Montulli, inventor of the web cookie, explained the word choice in a post on his blog

“I had heard the term ‘magic cookie’ from an operating systems course from college … I liked the term ‘cookies’ for aesthetic reasons. Cookies was the first thing I came up with and the name stuck.”

There’s no clear definition of where “magic cookies” originated, but theories include a reference to old video games, where players had to gain “magic cookies” in order to advance.

4. Spam



What it is: An unsolicited amount of junk email.
Where it came from: You can thank Monty Python for this. An old sketch from the comedy show featured a diner with Spam in every dish. Soon the characters sang and shouted the word “spam” multiple times. The term caught on in Internet chat rooms, becoming associated with annoying, repetitive stuff you don’t want. 

5. Meme



What it is: An idea or action that spreads virally on the Internet.
Where it came from: In the 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, scientist Richard Dawkins wrote that he wanted a word to describe the act of cultural imitation. He settled on the Greek word “mimeme,” which means “imitated thing,” but shortened it to “meme,” so that it almost rhymed with “gene.” It also resembled the French word “même,” which means “same.” 

The term was hijacked and popularized by the Internet, which Dawkins doesn’t mind.

“When anybody talks about something going viral on the Internet, that is exactly what a meme is,” he said in an interview with Wired.

6. Hacker



What it is: A computer criminal who forcibly accesses unauthorized data.
Where it came from: Hacking wasn’t always a negative thing. In the early tech days, it meant being clever and talented with electronics, not necessarily just computers. Slowly, a hacker culture was born that cultivated a deep interest in positive tech activity. 

In the book Piracy Cultures, the origin of the term came about from the phrase “one who works like a hack at writing and experimenting with software.” Positive hacking still exists, and members of the culture prefer to call malicious hackers “crackers” instead.

7. Firewall



What it is: A protective program to defend computers against harmful hackers, worms and viruses.
Where it came from: The term has been around for hundreds of years, and is exactly what it sounds like: a wall designed to protect buildings from a spreading fire. The computer version functions similarly, by protecting technology from the spread of harmful viruses. 

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