Tag Archive: vocabulary


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We are firm believers that learning languages is an excellent way to expand your mind. Indeed, one interesting thing about different languages is that each has a vocabulary which sees reality in slightly different ways. In fact, there are words which express concepts that don’t even exist in other languages.

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For example, with French:

English supposedly has the largest vocabulary of any languages in the world (7x more words than French !), and well-educated people typically know less than 10% of them. There would be too many English words and nuances that do not exist in other languages (thousands in French, Italian or Japanese), but much less the other way round. Here are examples of the occasional French words that do not have an exact translation in English, or not in a single word.

Read more at http://www.eupedia.com/europe/missing_words_english.shtml

The list is really fascinating, and it really makes you see how various people can see the world so differently.

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One of the great things about learning a new language is finding out words that don’t exist at all in English, and are untranslatable.

Here is an excerpt from a fun article all about that subject:

#8. Kummerspeck (German)

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Means:

Excess weight gained from emotional overeating.

"Kummerspeck" translates to "grief bacon," a word that finally acknowledges that when we are under a crushing weight of sadness or stress, many of us skip alcohol and narcotics in favor of delicious fried meats.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_19695_9-foreign-words-english-language-desperately-needs.html#ixzz2E3VA5wJM

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However, even native English speakers don’t know some of the more interesting facts about the English language.

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Like, for instance, did you know words like Orchid, Porcelain, Vanilla, Avocado and other such common words actually refer to male and female genitalia (private parts)?

Here is an excerpt from a very revealing article on the subject:

1. Orchid
Oops, you just said: Testicles
Take a look at certain orchids’ roots, and you’ll probably notice that they look like testicles. If not, you’ve set yourself apart from multiple generations of language-makers that simply couldn’t help but name the whole plant family after this snicker-worthy observation. Our contemporary word for the flower, introduced in 1845, comes from the Greek orchis, which literally translates as “testicle.” Speakers of Middle English in the 1300s came up with a phonologically different word—inspired by the same exact dirty thought. They called the flower ballockwort from ballocks, or testicles, which itself evolved from beallucas, the Old English word for balls.

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/139380#ixzz2DuFcXoqM
–brought to you by mental_floss!

What a fascinating language English is!

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Interesting comparisons of different English language learning software

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