Thursday, September 29, 2005

They Have a Word for It

From the Amazon review of They Have a Word for It : A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases:
How much happier Strunk and White would rest if we could just say Torschlüsspanik when discussing "the frantic anxiety experienced by unmarried women as they race against the 'biological clock'"; Treppenwitz when referring to the "clever remark that comes to mind when it is too late to utter it"; and Schlimmbesserung when lamenting "a so-called improvement that makes things worse."
How can I not buy this book?

In related news, A Hand in the Bush: The Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting isn't on my Amazon Wish List (and I assure you, I only got to that page through a very convoluted set of circumstances), but I laughed out loud at this review:
This has to be the worst martial arts technique book on the market. There was no practical use of the fist for street self defence unless you were attacked by a very wet and naked horny Lesbian on heat. I didn't realise that Master bates was not a martial artist in the true sense of the word. This book was a total dissapointment from a Self Defence point of view although i am a total hit with the ladies. Please forgive any error in grammer as my fingers are still sticky.
I know I shouldn't laugh at that, but I can't help it. That should be book jacket copy on the next edition.


Blogger John Eje Thelin said...

For some reason, those are all German lines, so it should be noted that "Treppenwitz" is a German translation of the French "Esprit d'escalier".

9/29/2005 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Ah, well, the reason is that the review gave some other examples of useful words from other languages, but said that German was the grand champion of such things, and then proceeded to list the ones I quoted. I knew about "Treppenwitz" and "Esprit d'escalier", and wrote about them a couple of months ago. But the other ones are new to me and gladly welcomed.

9/29/2005 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to send you this link earlier this week figuring you might find something worth blogging in it:

Signed: Chuck LeChuck

9/29/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

JIEYU Chinese

To break into jail in order to rescue a prisoner.

It's good to know that when Fox exports Prison Break to China, they'll not only have a perfect translation for the title, but also a guaranteed hit audience comprising the people who thought breaking into jail in order to rescue a prisoner was such a reasonable thing to do that they'd better come up with a word for it.

9/30/2005 02:27:00 AM  

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