42/365: Favourite Words

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Misc.
Tags: , , , ,

Before I begin, I must apologise for some crude desi profanities that shall appear in the post below. Not that I care much given how I like it :D

Today Scott asks What is your favourite word?

I’ll share three, all there for different, completely unreasonable reasons ;)

First word is Schadenfreude. I’m not going into the etymology of that word, you can get it here. I’m not really sure why I like this word. It could partly be its German origins, partly the fact that there isn’t a similar word in any of the languages I know but mostly because of what it denotes – pleasure derived from misfortune of others. Over the years, I’ve observed that Schadenfreude heavily defines the lives of people, specially in South Asia & Middle East, in the same way as greed impacts lives in the west. This difference could explained by the highly social nature of life in those regions, against the more individual-centric lives in the west, and the large numbers of poorer people fighting for few resources. Having seen over and over how people, even societies and countries as a whole, merrily ignore their own sorry lives to derive pleasure and ego boosts from others’ failure, has made me realise the huge folly of not having an equivalent word in any of our languages. And since we don’t have a word of our own, I love this German one :)

The second word is Chutiya. I’m definitely not going into the meaning of this word but you can get some answers here. For people who grow up in north India, this is just one of the many profanities that become an integral part of spoken language. They are so integral that the vast majority of their usage isn’t even meant to be offensive – it varies between self-cursing, friendly banter and even appears in movie songs. Of all the common profanities, I’ve always preferred chutiya because, apart from its obvious relation to a female private part, it is not offensive at all. Unlike the other common profanities on lines of bhenchod, this one actually just means idiot and nothing more. Also, unlike other profanities, which are used offensively in moments of anger, this one is usually employed in moments of frustration and is much more harmless.

The final word, also the most recent one, is Gorda. It is, broadly speaking, Spanish for ‘fat girl’ and I use it lovingly for someone special. The word, in one go, connects me to that special one, my love for that language and the good times in Bombay (where I attempted to learn Spanish).

So, there. Those are my three favourite words – each from a different language. Do share yours or, better, blog about it and share a link.



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