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Old 12-15-2019, 01:27 AM
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Do you use certain foreign words/phrases exclusively rather your native language's words?


Sorry if the topic is a bit confusing.

English is my first and only intelligible language, but I sometimes catch myself using Japanese words/phrases exclusively in certain situations. I'm not talking about about local words or phrases, for example in Hawaii, bento could be described a a lunch box since it contains a variety of foods in a container, but it's never described as anything but a bento or bento box which is actually more descriptive.

I just pulled my clothes from the dryer and caught myself yet again saying atsui, Japanese for hot. To the best of my conscious knowledge I've never said hot (to the touch).

Another word and phrase that I've never said without thinking about it consciously are heave-ho and upsy-daisy/here we go/give it your all or their equivalent. I always use yoisho which is usually translated as heave-ho or yotdokkoisho* which is usually used by old people (myself included) when getting up or doing something strenuous.

*I usually don't add the sho, unless it's really strenuous and then it's semi-consciously said to get myself an extra energy boost.

Last edited by lingyi; 12-15-2019 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:08 AM
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I always respond with ˇSalud! instead of Bless you! when someone sneezes.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:06 AM
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I always respond with ˇSalud! instead of Bless you! when someone sneezes.
Gesundheit is very popular is some circles.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:56 AM
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My wife says she needs to shishi when she wants help getting to her bedside commode, and I ask her if she’s pau before I help her up.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:49 AM
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I use bueno (Spanish for 'good') while texting, and a lot spoken (altho not exclusively).
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:51 AM
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I use many English words in everyday conversation, like many of my friends and many Germans in general. "Fuck" is my to-go swear word, and I rather use "sorry" than "Entschuldigung" just for brevity. I correspond a lot with my doper friend The Butterfly's Ghost, who's also German, via WhatsApp and we usually tend to code-switching and using a mishmash of both languages, especially when talking about things on the dope.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:58 AM
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One comes right to mind for me. Growing up, foul language spoken in front of my Mom was strictly forbidden. But my Dad taught me and my siblings the German word for the expletive "shit." (Scheisse.) We couldn't say that in front of Mom either, but I got used to saying it instead of the English equivalent. I still do.

Just thought of this. I was in France for many months back the the mid 1980s. The french word is merde. I use that on occasion, but have to think about it first.

Last edited by ASGuy; 12-15-2019 at 10:02 AM. Reason: add merde
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:11 AM
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Yiddish and Hebrew pepper my language pretty frequently.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:13 AM
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I use an occasional Yiddish word. Not just Gesundheit, but oy vey, Chutzpah, and a few others (some of them appear to have entered English). I also use a few French words since they have become standard in Montreal. For example, depanneur, for 7/11 type stores (I am not even certain what the English word is: convenience store, maybe).
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:14 AM
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I used to toss out a lot of French words and phrases as a child, then I found out those weren't really French words.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:23 AM
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We had grand ambitions of teaching the twins Japanese when they were born, but it's kinda devolved entirely into mom-nagging words. They exclusively use Japanese words for "brush teeth", "take bath", "what are you doing", "what have you done", "why did you do that". I don't speak a ton of Japanese but I learned enough to contribute my fair share of the nagging.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:25 PM
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I use Yiddish as often as I can. It's a beautiful language in which you can say things that you can't use in English. Just last night I got verklempt at a really touching commercial.

FWIW, I'm in no way connected to Judaism.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:34 PM
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I use Yiddish as often as I can. It's a beautiful language in which you can say things that you can't use in English. Just last night I got verklempt at a really touching commercial.

FWIW, I'm in no way connected to Judaism.
There are many Yiddish words that entered High German like Chuzpe, meschugge or Schickse. So I also often use Yiddish words, though they are not really foreign words but lean words that have entered German long ago.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:42 PM
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I use foreign words when there isn't an English version. But the other day I caught myself about to exclaim Kawaii! (cute) about something that isn't a manga puppy with huge eyes. I stopped myself and said "Aww, cute!"... it's better communication with English-speakers.

And it keeps me from being a linguistic show-off ("Look at me, I'm so creative that I use words from other cultures..."), which I could be; I love language and my radar's always on high alert for fun foreign words, so I've picked up hundreds... and besides, Japanese and French and Italian just sound so beautiful.

It's like stopping myself from using a long, convoluted word where a succinct one would work better... it's my attempt to not be full of myself and fit in with normals.

Moshi-moshi! Desolato, but gotta allez-y...No te rindas!

Last edited by digs; 12-15-2019 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:06 PM
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I use bueno (Spanish for 'good') while texting, and a lot spoken (altho not exclusively).
This, and I also will say "uno momento por favor" if a co-worker is instant-messaging me a request and I'm in the middle of something else. I figure it sounds better than "hold your horses".
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:12 PM
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I use toot sweet, which is the anglicised form of tout de suite. I rarely use as soon as possible when speaking, but I will use ASAP when writing.

Last edited by Personal; 12-15-2019 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by digs View Post
I use foreign words when there isn't an English version. But the other day I caught myself about to exclaim Kawaii! (cute) about something that isn't a manga puppy with huge eyes. I stopped myself and said "Aww, cute!"... it's better communication with English-speakers.

And it keeps me from being a linguistic show-off ("Look at me, I'm so creative that I use words from other cultures..."), which I could be; I love language and my radar's always on high alert for fun foreign words, so I've picked up hundreds... and besides, Japanese and French and Italian just sound so beautiful.

It's like stopping myself from using a long, convoluted word where a succinct one would work better... it's my attempt to not be full of myself and fit in with normals.

Moshi-moshi! Desolato, but gotta allez-y...No te rindas!
Meh. Fitting in with normals is overrated. If ya got something to show off, I say show off! Don't hold back to protect other people from your wonderfulness, kwim?
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
I use foreign words when there isn't an English version. But the other day I caught myself about to exclaim Kawaii! (cute) about something that isn't a manga puppy with huge eyes. I stopped myself and said "Aww, cute!"... it's better communication with English-speakers.

And it keeps me from being a linguistic show-off ("Look at me, I'm so creative that I use words from other cultures..."), which I could be; I love language and my radar's always on high alert for fun foreign words, so I've picked up hundreds... and besides, Japanese and French and Italian just sound so beautiful.

It's like stopping myself from using a long, convoluted word where a succinct one would work better... it's my attempt to not be full of myself and fit in with normals.

Moshi-moshi! Desolato, but gotta allez-y...No te rindas!
Since I watch a lot of Japanese, Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) and Korean movies/shows, I tend to use subconciously use that language's phrases when talking to myself. I have to consciously stop myself when I'm speaking to a native speaker.

Cute:

kawaii - Japanese as mentioned
gwiyeo/gwiyeobda - Korean
ke ai - Mandarin

Surprise/distress

Ai ya! - Cantonese, Mandarin and most Chinese dialects
Aigoo! - Korean

Ironically, I can't think of any Japanese word except Oi!

Last edited by lingyi; 12-15-2019 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:22 PM
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Meh. Fitting in with normals is overrated. If ya got something to show off, I say show off! Don't hold back to protect other people from your wonderfulness, kwim?
I think I'll start saying "Kwim?"...

Maybe people will assume it's a foreign word with many layers of meaning. Used by globe-trotting femme fatales and men of mystery.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:27 PM
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Although there are many foreign words I like, I wouldn’t use them exclusively. For the sake of clarity. And because the world has enough pretentiousness. But some words are too good to never use, and a lot of words don’t have an easy and exact equivalent.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:19 PM
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What I'd like is a person who uses cool foreign words but explains them. Then I learn a new word and don't feel stupid.

I have a friend who'll use the perfect word (that anyone could figure out from context) and follow it with "...as they say in France."

So I spice mine up a bit with him and get more geographically-clever: "Okay, I am marre... as the peasants in Provance say when they can't take any more of this merde."
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:26 PM
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My wife says she needs to shishi when she wants help getting to her bedside commode, and I ask her if she’s pau before I help her up.
Growing up I thought pee and poop were bad words and always said shishi and unko instead. One of my favorite phrases I didn't learn until my teens is "I need to 544 (go shi shi)!"
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:40 AM
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Ai ya! - Cantonese, Mandarin and most Chinese dialects
When I hit my head, I now instinctively say "ai yo!" (a slight variant) instead of "ow!"
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:09 AM
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I think I'll start saying "Kwim?"...

Maybe people will assume it's a foreign word with many layers of meaning. Used by globe-trotting femme fatales and men of mystery.
Homophone of Quim, right? Careful which femme fatale you say it to.

j
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:08 PM
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When I hit my head, I now instinctively say "ai yo!" (a slight variant) instead of "ow!"
Interesting! Do you speak Taiwan Mandarin or watch Taiwanese shows as that's the only time I've heard it used.

Last edited by lingyi; 12-16-2019 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:40 PM
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I'm not Italian, but I've been starting to use "che cazzo?" instead of "WTF?"
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:51 PM
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I'm not Italian, but I've been starting to use "che cazzo?" instead of "WTF?"
Speaking of Italian, I somehow grew up with "kuh-peesh" (capisci, I assume) for "do you understand"? I don't think there were a lot of Italians in my neighborhood growing up -- in fact, I can only think of one -- but "kuh-peesh" was commonly used by the old-timers, so I remember and use it to this day.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:59 PM
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Most common is to say I got stuck in Stau (traffic jam). The word is shorter.

Of course, Gesundheit instead of the religious God Bless You.

Ciao instead of good-bye, but never for hello.

Bahnhof instead of train station.

Other words get mixed in, both German -> English and English -> German, depending who I'm talking to, the phase of the moon, etc.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:24 PM
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When making a toast, I usually use the Irish word slainte (meaning "health," and pronounced, roughly, as "SLAWN-chah") instead of "cheers."
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:38 PM
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I mix and match sometimes, but the non-English words I'm most likely to use are a) food related (I learned to cook Indian food largely from visiting my husband's family in India) and b) occasional Spanish/French/Italian randomness when I'm teasing my kids.

So, cooking/food words - methi (fenugreek), khala (cumin seed), different types of dahl (lentils, like channa (chickpeas), toor (pidgeon peas), urad (black lentils)), tawa (griddle), kuturi (small bowl), proper names of Indian dishes, etc.

Spanish and/or French words/phrases - Que triste, tan lacrimoso! How sad.
Ma petit chou or ma petit chou-chou - my little cream puff, my little cabbage
And other random shit I say to my kids.

Oh, we also call my daughter chuckli (I don't think I spelled that right) which is Gujurati for sparrow, the nickname her great grandmother gave her and there are a few other random Gujurati phrases I've picked up that come in handy when yelling at my husband's uncle's dog.

Unless I have to take a call in another language or am speaking with my brother in law about something I don't want my kids to hear, I don't tend to speak non-English outside a family setting. It's kind of pretentious and it's not like I can't remember the English word, I just don't happen to use it most of the time because a) I learned the word in a different language first or b) it's most likely to get me understood or c) it's just become habit.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:48 PM
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Ugh, I love duplicate posts! Sorry about that.

Last edited by overlyverbose; 12-16-2019 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by overlyverbose View Post
I mix and match sometimes, but the non-English words I'm most likely to use are a) food related (I learned to cook Indian food largely from visiting my husband's family in India) and b) occasional Spanish/French/Italian randomness when I'm teasing my kids.

So, cooking/food words - methi (fenugreek), khala (cumin seed), different types of dahl (lentils, like channa (chickpeas), toor (pidgeon peas), urad (black lentils)), tawa (griddle), kuturi (small bowl), proper names of Indian dishes, etc.

Spanish and/or French words/phrases - Que triste, tan lacrimoso! How sad.
Ma petit chou or ma petit chou-chou - my little cream puff, my little cabbage
And other random shit I say to my kids.

Oh, we also call my daughter chuckli (I don't think I spelled that right) which is Gujurati for sparrow, the nickname her great grandmother gave her and there are a few other random Gujurati phrases I've picked up that come in handy when yelling at my husband's uncle's dog.

Unless I have to take a call in another language or am speaking with my brother in law about something I don't want my kids to hear, I don't tend to speak non-English outside a family setting. It's kind of pretentious and it's not like I can't remember the English word, I just don't happen to use it most of the time because a) I learned the word in a different language first or b) it's most likely to get me understood or c) it's just become habit.
Great username/post combo .
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:43 PM
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Manana is so much easier to text than tomorrow
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Old 12-16-2019, 05:47 PM
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Great username/post combo .
Ha. I do tend to run at the mouth/keyboard.
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Old 12-16-2019, 05:56 PM
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When I went to school, I overheard a fellow student (Francophone primary, but also spoke English) swearing to herself in English. I asked why in English, and she said French swear words are "church" words (eg chalice, tabernacle, etc) and they didn't feel strong enough.
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Old 12-16-2019, 06:10 PM
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A lot of languages make useful distinctions that English doesn't, or does only awkwardly. For instance, I've been known to clarify "hot", when referring to food, as either "caliente" or "picante". It's a lot easier to say that the chili is too caliente to eat, than to say "It's too hot, I mean as in literally hot, not spicy, but it'll cool down in a few minutes".

And of course, languages are full of loanwords, from when enough people thought that the foreign word worked better than anything their language already had to offer. I think English probably takes on loanwords more than the average language, but all do it.
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Old 12-16-2019, 06:11 PM
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When I was in college I had a lot of Jewish friends, some of whom had grown up in Yiddish speaking households. So I learned and started saying putz (jerk) and schmaltzy (overly emotional) and quite a few others.

Nowadays I'll occasionally throw out a short phrase by accident or just to be weird in one of the non English languages I speak. Allons-y (French for Let's go) for example.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:05 AM
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I use regularly use some Italian phrases and swear words I picked up from my mother, an Italian immigrant. I hate the English "turd" and use strunzi instead. Technically, strunzi is plural, but in my mom's dialect, it's singular as well. There are too many others to list, but I use "Madonn'!" a lot, again because I grew up hearing it.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:44 AM
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I use teleferico - as do my sister and our father - which is an aerial cablecar. Aerial tramway. Whatever it's called because it has so many other names and because teleferico is the word I learned for it first. N.B. I know there is supposed to be an accent but I haven't figured out how to do one on my kindle.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:41 AM
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I mix and match sometimes, but the non-English words I'm most likely to use are a) food related (I learned to cook Indian food largely from visiting my husband's family in India) and b) occasional Spanish/French/Italian randomness when I'm teasing my kids.

So, cooking/food words - methi (fenugreek), khala (cumin seed),
Isn't cumin jeera (sometimes transliterated zheera) or is khala a local language word?
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:54 AM
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When I was in college I had a lot of Jewish friends, some of whom had grown up in Yiddish speaking households. So I learned and started saying putz (jerk) and schmaltzy (overly emotional) and quite a few others.
Those, I think, have transitioned to the common American English lexicon. I didn't grow up knowing any Jewish people, but words like putz, schmuck, schlep, spiel, shtick were reasonably known. Probably can add chutzpah in there, too, and if you were a curious sort, you might ask what those opening words of the Lavergne and Shirley tune meant (the meaning of those, schlemiel and schlemazel I didn't learn until college, though.) What we didn't know necessarily was that words like putz and schmuck are also words meaning "penis." Feh is a good one that I sometimes use that I picked up later in life.
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:45 AM
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Isn't cumin jeera (sometimes transliterated zheera) or is khala a local language word?
I should've clarified - khala is shorthand for khala jeera, which is black cumin. So, yeah, jeera = cumin. Khala jeera tastes a little different and is skinnier than typical cumin seeds. It could be a more northern way to say it since I think it's used more often in north Indian cooking rather than south. Looking at Dr. Google, it does have a few alternate words depending upon where you are. Also, I'm a decent cook but a lazy speaker.

Last edited by overlyverbose; 12-17-2019 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:17 AM
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I think I'll start saying "Kwim?"...

Maybe people will assume it's a foreign word with many layers of meaning. Used by globe-trotting femme fatales and men of mystery.
Or not I was only aware of the British slang and if someone ended a comment with KWIM, I'd wonder why they were insulting me.

I pepper my speech with a lot of Brit slang; well, mostly curse words. I'm also another one to use a lot of Yiddish terms and it's fun to see it rub off on my gentile co-workers. I've got everyone saying "schlep", and "schmutz" and everyone's favorite, "schmuck" .
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:34 AM
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I should've clarified - khala is shorthand for khala jeera, which is black cumin. So, yeah, jeera = cumin. Khala jeera tastes a little different and is skinnier than typical cumin seeds. It could be a more northern way to say it since I think it's used more often in north Indian cooking rather than south. Looking at Dr. Google, it does have a few alternate words depending upon where you are. Also, I'm a decent cook but a lazy speaker.
OK, I am familiar with the word kala as "black" as in kala namak, "black salt," and I'm pretty sure I have some kala jeera lying around somewhere in this house (I'm not Indian, but I do spend a lot of time in the South Asian community and have learned my herb and spice vocabulary pretty well, as I also love to cook. And hing is so much nicer a word than "asafetida." And haldi rings better than "turmeric.")

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-17-2019 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:38 AM
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I remember when we were little our family exclusively used the Polish "dupa" for butt or rear end. We're not Polish, I don't know where that came from.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:45 AM
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I'm big on the concept of mitzvah--Doing something good for another person simply because it makes you a better person. I've introduced it to quite a few people, using while doing one for them.
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:01 AM
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I have lots of words I've pick-pocketed from other languages. Usually to add some nuance different from common English words.

aniyo! from Korean meaning "no!" but more firm.
dubu from Korean meaning "tofu". There's a whole host of words that I use for Korean foods, but this one readily translates to "English" and I use Korean anyway.
kaiju from Japanese meaning "giant monster".
kaja from Korean meaning "let's go" and easier to say.
kapu from Hawaiian meaning "forbidden" but the most strong (like I'll "kill" you if you do that).
jiji from Korean meaning "dirty" in the context of don't touch that or put it in your mouth.
jinjja? from Korean meaning "really?", as in "are you pulling my leg?".
verboten from German meaning "forbidden" but more stern.

I'm noting how I use the words, which is likely not exactly how they're used by native speakers.

I'll probably think of more later.
  #48  
Old 12-17-2019, 11:13 AM
overlyverbose is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
OK, I am familiar with the word kala as "black" as in kala namak, "black salt," and I'm pretty sure I have some kala jeera lying around somewhere in this house (I'm not Indian, but I do spend a lot of time in the South Asian community and have learned my herb and spice vocabulary pretty well, as I also love to cook. And hing is so much nicer a word than "asafetida." And haldi rings better than "turmeric.")
Yeah, we usually refer to asafetida as ass powder. As in, "Hey, hand over the ass powder. I need to spice the aloo." Luckily the kids don't call it ass powder outside of our house.
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:18 AM
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"Daijoubu" is a Japanese word that means OK/fine/good enough/no problem. Wife is Japanese, and we use this word a lot around each other. We occasionally slip up and use it around people who don't speak any Japanese, necessitating some explanation.
  #50  
Old 12-17-2019, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
I remember when we were little our family exclusively used the Polish "dupa" for butt or rear end. We're not Polish, I don't know where that came from.
WHOA! My mom is from Slovak parents, and I haven't heard that word since I was a little kid.

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Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
I'm big on the concept of mitzvah--Doing something good for another person simply because it makes you a better person. I've introduced it to quite a few people, using while doing one for them.
Mitzvah actually means commandment (plural: mitzvot). Bar Mitzvah is Son of the Commandment, Bat Mitzvah is Daughter of the Commandment. Mitzvah has come to mean good deed colloquially.
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