Words

@ElicBxn (60771)
United States
November 13, 2009 4:34am CST
Do you have words in your vocabulary that you sometimes wonder where they came from? I do. I discovered about 10 that a word, actually a pair of words that I knew when to use, but didn't actually know what they meant were actually German for "thank you beautifully" and, from the young man I learned it from, pronounced very well. Now, that one I actually now understand why I have it, tho its one of only a pair of words that come down from my German great grandmother, who was forbidden to teach her children German (her husband was English and said they were in "America now" so they should only learn the English language. But the other word that I just got to thinking about this middle of the night - why I'm up is something else is "vamoose" and where it came from. Now... I know I learned it from my father, but where the word came from I had no clue (until I looked it up tonight.) I did rather guess it didn't come from English, just not an "English" sort of word. So, it comes from Spanish "vamos" meaning "let's go". http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vamoose I don't know where Dad picked it up from. Did he pick it up when he was stationed in Texas during WWII? Doesn't seem like the kind of word he would've picked up during the Depression in Atlantic City, but, he might've. Now, because I live in Texas, there are a few other words that I know are Spanish - actually Tex-Mex - in my vocabulary, but I was wondering if any of you had words in your normal vocabulary that aren't words normal to you native language? For example, if you know 3 or 4 languages, do you find that one language just doesn't supply the right word for something so you opt for another language for that word. Another example, English only provides one word for "love" but you have to add extra words to explain if its brotherly love, romantic love, respectful love, Godly love - while other languages, classic Greek for example, have specific words to cover the differences.
7 people like this
13 responses
@Sandra1952 (6052)
• Spain
14 Nov 09
Hello, Elic. A word that comes to mind is 'doolally,' which is slang for someone who's a bit mad. In the 1980's, there was an English sitcom called 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum,' which was set in the Indian town of Deolali during World War II. Like many people, I assumed the place name was made up to suggest everyone in the camp was mad, but there was a military camp in Deolali, with a hospital there where injured troops were sent to await return to the UK. Having been in combat, most of them had mental health problems, and were said to have 'gone doolally.' I got this information from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Jimmy Perry, one of the writers of the sitcom who himself served in India during the war, explains all this in his autobiography, 'A Stupid Boy.' I had the privilege of meeting this wonderful man, now in his late eighties, a couple of years ago, so it was a lovely way to find out the etymology of 'doolally.'
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
that's cool that you found out the meaning of the word from one of the places you learned it from
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
13 Nov 09
I don't think that any language is pure at all. I find it interesting where words and expressions very interesting. As people move around the world we keep adding new words. Beside old words get new meanings. I think we pick up the regional words as well.which language words come from is very interesting
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
obviously English is a language that steals, borrows and other abscond with words from other languages
2 people like this
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
14 Nov 09
I think all languages do this.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
I have a teeshirt that says "English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar."
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
14 Nov 09
[b]Yeah, "va" does mean "go" in Spanish, something I discovered years ago in an amusing article about cultural differences & perception, & how it affects marketing. You'll recall the Chevy Nova cars? Well, the makers of it wondered why it did so poorly in sales in Spanish-speaking countries...'til someone clued them in that the name, "Nova," means "no go!" But it was too late to change the title. Maggiepie IMPEACH HIM![/b]
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
and do you remember I had one?
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
no, I think that was the ... well, maybe...
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
14 Nov 09
[b] Yeah, the stares we got! Oh, & that big fat M was SUPPOSED to have been an N! Maggiepie IMPEACH THE IMPOSTER![/b]
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
14 Nov 09
Alright, I see this now. Don't know if this is relevant, but I've always wondered about the word scantily dressed. Why scant? Why scantily? Hmmmm..
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
adj. scant·i·er, scant·i·est 1. Barely sufficient or adequate. 2. Insufficient, as in extent or degree. scanti·ly adv.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
14 Nov 09
Insufficiently dressed... That is like so lol.. thanks for typing the meaning out..
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
typing? I copy/pasted that answer!
@scififan43 (2440)
• United States
19 Dec 09
I looked at the website, it looks intersting. word origns are facination to me as well. I pretuala like the orgina of expressions or slang. I wonder if the site has thoese origns too?
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
20 Dec 09
try it out, I found Vamoose there, and it started as slang...
• United States
21 Dec 09
ah ok, I will have to look there more.
1 person likes this
@MJay101 (711)
13 Nov 09
I'd love to know where the word 'malarkey' comes from. That, and 'shenanigans'. I picked them up off my Dad (he's totally old-school), and happily quote them, without quite knowing the etymology of the word... Not that I think that's particularly important; I love the way that language evolves. Check out www.urbandictionary.com some time, for a list of hilariously new and often unused words!
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
Malarkey n. Slang Exaggerated or foolish talk, usually intended to deceive: "snookered by a lot of malarkey" (New Republic). [Origin unknown.] Shenanigan n. Informal 1. a. A deceitful trick; an underhanded act. b. Remarks intended to deceive; deceit. Often used in the plural. 2. a. A playful or mischievous act; a prank. b. Mischief; prankishness. Often used in the plural. [Origin unknown.]
2 people like this
@MJay101 (711)
14 Nov 09
Thanks for the reply! Some useful information there, for sure... However: origin unknown. And: origin unknown. I'll have to ask my Dad; he's an old dude, I'm sure he'll be able to pinpoint its etymology somewhere in the mists of time!
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
13 Nov 09
Danke Schön for the beautiful discussion. lol I speak German, and every once in a while a word will come along that I learned in German first, strange as that may seem. Other than that, I throw the occasional Russian, Spanish or French word in, but not because there isn't an English word for it.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
and sometimes they are variants of other words... Varmint: n. Informal One that is considered undesirable, obnoxious, or troublesome. [Variant of vermin.] varmint ['v??m?nt] n Informal an irritating or obnoxious person or animal [dialect variant of varmin vermin] of course, varmit is how its said
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
14 Nov 09
[b]"Vittles" instead of the "proper" term, "victuals." :o) Maggiepie IMPEACH HIM![/b]
1 person likes this
@edxcast (1169)
• Ecuador
14 Nov 09
Hi elicbxn. Well i do happen to know word were i then ask where do i know it. I speak two languages, spanish and english. Although i dont think i learn them from other languages, I think i learn this words by reading them somewhere. Once a friend told me, that i knew more words than him, because i have read more than him. Now, i dont really read that much(average i would say), but comparing with him, im the master of the lecture.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
I also read a lot, but I don't always know how to pronounce them!
• United States
13 Nov 09
oh yea.i was pretty much raised by my much older grandmother,and when i first went to school,they didn't know what to do with my out of date way of speaking. like the word "traipsing" as to "traipse off" or wander. where that word originated,i'll never know.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
13 Nov 09
Interesting discussion, Elic. I don't speak but one language & don't guess i'm perfect at that. I do hear people saying things that they have picked up along their way from other languages. Per se was so peopular for awhile around here. To tell the truth i got tired of hearing it.If people were trying to impress w/using that word it had the opposite effect on me, lol.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
14 Nov 09
I hear ya. I am unimpressed when I hear words used wrong
@GardenGerty (96787)
• Marion, Kansas
13 Nov 09
I do not really speak other languages, but have been around a few. Yes, your dad probably picked up vamoose in Texas. Other words we have like that would be "buckaroo" (vaquero) and lariat (la riata). I believe we also brought home lots of words from every war we ever fought. My brain just is not keying on them this am.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
13 Nov 09
I know I probably throw a few more Spanish words into the mix because I do live in Texas and, honestly, I rather suspect that vamoose dallied in the German communities in Texas before it got to English, because of the way it seems to be said. I'm honestly surprised there aren't more German or Chech words here in Texas because of the immigrants from those countries, you can find the food after all...
• China
14 Nov 09
No, I don't think so.If we say a word,does not know if you can ask them just fine.
1 person likes this
@gabs8513 (48717)
• United Kingdom
13 Nov 09
No I don't think so not that I have noticed anyway If People say a word that I am not to sure of I actually ask them what they mean so I do not think that I know any words that I do not know what they mean not even from Childhood lol
1 person likes this