English is a rich and wonderful language – but sometimes it’s just not good enough.
For example, have you ever searched around in vain for a word to describe someone who gets excited by eating garlic?
Or wondered why there isn’t a nice pithy term for a person who is only attractive if they’re standing quite far away?
Other languages do have such words. The extraordinary variety of international speech is captured in Toujours Tingo, a new book which draws on more than 300 languages exploring the areas where English fails us.
So try these words for size …
Kaelling – Danish: a woman who stands on her doorstep yelling obscenities at her kids.
Pesamenteiro – Portuguese: one who joins groups of mourners at the home of a dead person, apparently to offer condolences but in reality is just there for the refreshments.
Kanjus Makkhicus – Hindi: a person so miserly that if a fly falls into his cup of tea, he’ll fish it out and suck it dry before throwing it away.
Baling – Manobo, Philippines: the action of a woman who, when she wants to marry a man, goes to his house and refuses to leave until marriage is agreed upon.
Dona – Yamana, Chile: to take lice from a person’s head and squash between one’s teeth.
Oka/SHETE – Ndonga, Nigeria: urination difficulties caused by eating frogs before the rain has duly fallen.
Rhwe – South Africa: to sleep on the floor without a mat while drunk and naked.
Rombhoru – Bengali: a woman having thighs as shapely as banana trees.