Thursday 28 February 2019


DammitKaren: Gesundheit. Some languages seem to have embraced the magic of single, compound-noun words.*

For example, in German (should I know how to speak German, that is), I could claim that several people have exhibited Freundschaftsbezeugung ("demonstration of friendship") for me, even though I am Dreikäsehoch ("three cheeses high").**

In Welsh, I could take a train from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch ("St. Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio of the red cave").

And in Iceland, I'm sure I would help look for vaðlaheiðarvegavinnuverkfærageymsluskúraútidyralyklakippuhringur, ("a keychain ring for the outdoor key of road workers shed in a moor called Vaðlaheiði"), should it go missing.

So, surely, someone could have come up with a better phrase than Kauf einer neuen Anlage / prynu planhigyn newydd / kaup á nýju álverinu ("purchase of a new plant") to capture the complicated feelings of I'm-so-happy-with-your-lush-greenness-and-full-of-hope-that-you-will-transform-my-living-space-but-already-feel-guilty-that-you-are-going-to-wither-and-die-but-maybe-you-won't-even-though-I'm-repotting-you-into-the-Pot-of-Death***-which-has-already-claimed-too-many-victims-to-count.

Willkommen in Ihrem neuen Zuhause, sterben Sie jetzt!
("Welcome to your new home, now die!")

* If I have misspelled a word or phrase in your language, please blame wikipedia.
** SO much more dignified than three apples high.
*** New pot, same outcome.  Sigh.

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