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One of my favourite words in English is moreish. The word moreish does not have an exact equivalent word in Spanish. We surely have the concept but this needs a long and winding clarification in Spanish that just kills the beauty of this word’s self -explanatory nature. It might look like a plain and unpretentious adjective, yet the concept contained within is deeply relatable and somewhat humorous. Whether in our language or someone else’s, finding the right word to express a feeling we lacked a word for is not short of discovering linguistic treasure.
Over the years, my brain has adopted several very English concepts which my native language did not provide for. Moreish of course being one. There are also other adjectives such as spooky or cheesy, verbs like chilling out or more complex expressions like “running around like a headless chicken”!
Language and culture inexorably influence each other. After all, words are created in order to identify and describe objects, animals and concepts that surround us. And yet, languages have borrowed and still are borrowing words from one other. Take phrases and words we use in everyday English such as Wanderlust, or Déjà vu, or Schadenfreude. The ideas were definitely there, but English speakers were missing the actual word for them.
There is almost a magical element when you come across one of those elusive words and notions in faraway cultures and unfamiliar languages. It feels like someone was reading your mind all along, yet that someone lives in a distant continent and speaks a language so very different to your own.
As far as I can see, the fact that we can identify wholeheartedly with words that come from different languages and cultures just goes to show that we, as human beings, might be more alike than we think.
The following list contains words which correspond to familiar concepts and new notions that we should definitely adopt:
- From Yiddish
TREPVERTER: A witty comeback you think of only when it’s too late to use.
- From Greek
MERAKI: Carrying out some activity, like cooking, with all your love and attention.
- From Japanese
TSUNDOKU: Buying a book and then leaving it somewhere unread.
- From Tulu
KARELU: The marks on your skin left when you wear something tight.
- From German
DRACHENFUTTER: The present a husband gives his wife when he has done something wrong
- From German
KABEL SALAT: “Cable salad”. A mess of tangled cables.
- From Gaelic
SGRIOB: The itchiness felt on the lips before taking a sip of whiskey
- From Urdu
NAZ: The feeling of knowing that you are loved unconditionally
- From Arabic
GURFA: The amount of water that can be held in one hand
- From Norwegian
FORELSKET: The feeling you experience when you start falling in love
- From Arabic
SAMAR: Partying until the small hours with your friends
- From Spanish
SOBREMESA: Spending time at the table chatting long after you have finished your meal
Resources: Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders
English and French linguistic connections run deep and share many cognates or vrais amis, such as “animal”, “horrible”, “substance”, “importance” and lots more. However, there are instances when you might be deceived by the way words look.
Faux amis, (false friends) or false cognates are pairs of words which seem to be linguistically connected but are not. When we talk about false friends in different languages, we refer to those which look very much like a word in our language but turn out to have a different meaning.
When in a French speaking country, watch out for these deceiving words. Get the wrong one and you will be thoroughly disappointed.
Looking for coins? This is a French coin
Fancy some grapes? Do not order grappes. These is what you will get
Do not be confused! These are prunes
And these, are raisins
A Magasin is not for reading but for shopping
At a librairie you buy books, not borrow them
Learning a second language has countless benefits at any age. Acquiring a foreign language at a young age has additional advantages which no child should miss.
Below we have listed some of the reasons which go beyond the linguistic realm.
- COGNITIVE BENEFITS
- Aside from linguistic advantages, children who learn a second language early in life have better problem-solving skills, enhanced creativity and score higher on SATs.
- NATIVE-LIKE FLUENCY
- Young leaners are not yet limited by the constrictions of their first language, making acquiring a second language as effortless and natural as learning their mother tongue. The result is a flawless, almost native-like accent.
- CULTURAL AWARENESS
- When children acquire a second language they do not do so in isolation. Culture is inherently linked to language. Knowledge of different cultures enriches a child’s deep understanding and respect of diversity, customs and traditions.
- INCREASED EMPLOYABILITY
- Language learning is not just a fun activity with immediate benefits. Exciting employability prospects of those adults, who learnt a language at a young age, will be increased as linguistic skills along with cultural awareness are highly valued in the global market place.
- BETTER AT LEARNING ADDITIONAL LANGUAGES
- Once you master a language, it’s a lot easier to get to grips with a second or a third. Being multilingual is an achievable goal if you start early on!
- WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
- Young children have a unique disposition to be able to differentiate sounds from different languages without the interference from their native tongue. This ability, experts say, starts declining at about 9 years old, making it a lot harder to attain a native-like accent later in life.
- IMPROVED CONFIDENCE
- Having the ability to speak different languages often leads to becoming a competent communicator in your own language as well as others.
France is still one of the most popular summer holiday destinations. If you are heading that way, refresh your memory with this classic holiday French vocabulary list.
- S’il vous plaît (see-voo-play) – please
- Je suis (zheu swee) – I am
- Je cherche (zheu share-sh) – I’m looking for
- Je veux (zheu veu) – I want/I would like
- Un hôtel (ern otell) – A hotel
- Une chambre (une shombre) – A room
- Manger (mon-zhay) – To eat
- Boire (bwar) – to drink
- Payer (pay-yeh) – to pay
- Acheter (ash-tay) – to buy
- Petit-déjeuner (peuti – dayzheurnay) – Breakfast
- Diner (dee-nay) – Dinner
- Un demi (ern deu-mee) – A half pint of draught beer
- De l’eau (deu-lo) – some water
- Un thé (au lait)(ern tay olay) – a tea (with milk)
- La toilette (lar twa-lette) – the washroom, toilet.
- Prix (pree) – price
- Des magasins (day magga-zan) – Shops
- Un supermarché (ern supair-mar-shay) – A supermarket
- La gare (lar gar) – The train station
- L’aeroport(l’aero-por) – the airport
- Une voiture (une vwa-tiure) – a car.
- (bon-zhour) Hello
- (mair-see) Thankyou
- Au revoir. (oh-reu-vwar) Goodbye
- Je ne parle pas français. (zheu neu parl par fron-say )
I don’t speak French
- Répéter, s’il vous plaît.
(poo-vay-voo ray-pay-tay, see-voo-play)
Could you repeat that please.
- Avez-vous…. (avay -voo) Do you have…. ?
- Avez-vous une chambre pour deux personnes?
(avay -voo une shombre poor deuh pair-sonn)
Do you have a room for two ?
- Combien ça coûte ?
(kom-bjanne sar coot)
How much is it ?
- Un café et un café au lait, s’il vous plaît.
(ern caffay ay ern caffay olay, see-voo-play)
One black coffee, and one white coffee please.
- L’addition, s’il vous plaît.
Could I have the bill please.
- Une table pour deux / quatre personnes.
(oon tarbleu poor deuh /cat-r pair-son)
A table for two / for four.
- Nous sommes perdus.(noo som pair-dju)
Lights, camera, action! Record your voice or film yourself whilst you are practising for your written examination. You can then play it back and see what your weak and strong point are.
Post it! If you have trouble remembering certain words, use post it notes and place them around your house in strategic places like on your fridge door, behind the loo door, on your bedside table. Everywhere!
Meet your friends. Get together with your mates and practise dialogues, test each other or watch a film in your second language. Learning a language is all about communication. You can have fun and learn at the same time
Schedule. Write down a schedule for your revision and make sure you practise all different aspects of your language exam: grammar questions, comprehension, oral, etc
Mix it up! The beauty of languages is that they can be written, buy furosemide 40 mg online read, watched, heard, analysed…Try and have different approaches for revision
- Voices in your head. Choose anytime to practise vocabulary. Try to have a running commentary in your brain of what you are doing at the time in the language you are learning. “I’m going to catch the bus”, “I have been to the library”
Practise, practise, practise. And then practise a bit more. This is the secret to success.
Make mistakes. Learn from them and improve. Children make mistakes when they are learning their own language. Allow yourself to fail so you can learn how to say it right next time.
- Get a tutor. Getting a few lessons with a native tutor prior to your exam will improve your confidence and will help you consolidate and reinforce all you have been learning. Just remember to choose a professional, experienced tutor.
Keep calm. You have been working very hard so far, do not let nerves spoil your exam results. Practice these breathing techniques on the NHS page to help you control your anxiety