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Blog Spirit of the Stairway 22/Feb/2005

Jack links to a charming Metafilter thread on foreign words that don't have a direct translation in English. Which has proven utterly indispensable when I have needed an appropriately French phrase in order to appear intelligent* to my friends.

What I'd like, however, is to do the opposite. Here are some phrases—do you care to suggest a word for any of them?

  • The performance anxiety I feel when about to send an email to several hundred people.**
  • An abortive MSN conversation in which the other person makes a Chat Request, and then doesn't say anything, closing the chat after five minutes.***
  • The politically-correct discomfort I feel when a Jewish person wishes me a merry Christmas, and I am unsure of the correct response.****

The comments are your proverbial oyster.

Cheers,

Derek.

* pretentious.

** which doesn't affect my blogging, since my average readership is a couple of orders of magnitude lower.

*** commonly caused by people using GAIM when I'm using Mercury—when I log in or change status, a flurry of boxes appears from my GAIM-using friends.

**** bonus marks if this is in Yiddish.

 
CommentsComments 

Loyde Ayers said:
For the last one, try the Yiddish:
Ikh ken esn gloz un es tut mir nisht vey.

or (phonetic) Hebrew:
Anshei hachol rochvim betoor bichdei lehasvot et misparam.

Craig said:
ooft!

Derek said:
Of course! How could I forget? We need a word for a person of strong convictions that mysteriously disappear in discussions with senior academic staff! ;)

Gary Fleming said:
Might I suggest the first one is "cowardice". :P

Derek said:
Touché—almost. Last year, when this event might have hypothetically happened, Hanukkah began on the 8th of December, and was over by that time. (No such worries next year: it begins on the 26th.)

Which reminds me of the time I went to visit one of my Jewish employers, knowing that it was Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). On leaving, I cheerfully bade him a happy new year, only to be informed that it was, in fact, quite a solemn occasion….

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