Author Topic: Compound words from other languages  (Read 515 times)

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Offline Johnny Slick

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Compound words from other languages
« on: February 15, 2017, 06:38:55 PM »
Inspired by the one about English compound words... well, it's a Germanic language and the Germans love them their compound words, so let's hear some from you foreigners! Like, state what the word means, and then say what the syllables or whatever mean separately! Here are a couple that stick out to me (a person who, I will grant you, is not exactly a multilinguist):

Schadenfreude - Taking delight at the misfortune of others. Literal translation: "harm-joy" (schade means "harm" and shares the English root of "scathe" as in "he wrote a scathing review", and "freude" means something like "peace and reconciliation" and which comes from the Indo-European "prihos", which is where we get the term "peace").

Handschoenen - Gloves (Dutch: "hand shoes". I'm sorry, Dutch and German people, whenever I think of "hand shoes" it just makes me giggle)

Schildpaad - A turtle (Dutch: literally: "shield-frog" - schild = shield, paad = frog", although to the latter the word the Dutch actually use for frog right now is "kikker", which is its own little ball of awesomeness).

Ijsbeer, wasbeer - Polar bear, racoon (Dutch: "ice bear" and "wash bear")

Fledermaus - A bat (German: "flutter mouse", and you've probably heard this word from operas and stuff already or at least the Tick animated series)

Oliebollen - Like donut holes, only larger (Dutch: "oil balls" - olie = oil, bollen = balls)

Ziekenauto - Ambulance (Dutch: "sick car" - zieken = sick, auto = car... I mean, it makes more sense than "ambulance", which I just think means "a thing that moves")

Hondenpoepveldje - A "dog run" (Dutch: "dog poop grass":  honden = dog (as in 'hound'), poep = poop, veldje = grassy area, as in the English word veldt) (thanks to Louie for alerting me to this one IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN ABOUT THIS WHEN WE WERE IN DUTCHLANDIA)

Boterham - A sandwich or, I guess, even a slice of bread (Dutch: "butter ham". I have no words)

Monster - A sample (Dutch... yeah, I got nothing here. The English root comes from the Latin "monstrum", a nounified version of the verb "monere", which means "to warn", so it initially comes from "a warning", which is what monsters originally were in English and in other languages - not so much evil beasts in and of themselves but creatures whose evil physical appearances, like a man with eyes in his feet so he cannot look up to God, served as warnings to others... but how you get from there to "sample" is lost to me)

And some weirder ones which maybe don't quite translate directly into English words...

Wordhord - Your mind (Old English: "word hoard"... god, did I mention I love this term? Also the fact that where we know it's used, it seems to be used in conjunction with the verb "onleac", as in "wis on gewitte, wordhord onleac", or "wise in understanding [he] unlocked his word-hoard"?)

Oorlog - War (Dutch: "cumbersome ear" - oor = ear, log = cumbersome... WTF Dutch?)

Weltschmerz - A thing us libs are familiar with right now: sadness / ennui, perhaps, at the state of the world today (German: 'World pain' - welt = world, schmerz = pain)

Kummerspeck - Weight you gain after a period of sadness, like eating an entire block of Haagen Daasz after a breakup for example (German: "grief bacon" - kummer = sorry, speck = bacon)

Treppenwitz - When someone says something to you and, like, 5 minutes later, you come up with a witty rejoinder (German: 'Staircase joke' - treppen = stairs (think "trip"), witz = humor (or, well, "wit") - as in "your wit as you are walking up the stairs away from the other party)

Backpfeifengesicht - A punchable face (German: "slap face" - Backpfeife = slap, gesicht = face)

Muilpeer - A slap to the face, perhaps even a backpfeifengesicht! (Dutch: "mouth pear - muil = mouth, peer = pear. Dutch people I don't even)

Sitzpinkler - A less than manly man (German: "sit-pisser", as in "a man who sits down to pee" - also, apparently "schattenparker", which means "shadow-parker", meaning a man who parks their car in the shade so that the interior doesn't get too hot, which just goes to show that Germans have never been to Arizona I guess)

Vuil tyfushoer - A horrible person (as in, an epithet you would yell at someone if they cut you off in traffic) (Dutch: foul typhus whore. The Dutch DO NOT FUCK AROUND)
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2017, 11:31:49 AM »
I enjoyed this list but my monolingual brain has nothing to add from it's wordhoard.
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Online Rai

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2017, 11:34:38 AM »
I will add more later, but my all-time favourite is the Irish

Smugairle Róin - Jellyfish. Literal meaning: seal snot

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2017, 12:05:20 PM »
Handschoenen - Gloves (Dutch: "hand shoes". I'm sorry, Dutch and German people, whenever I think of "hand shoes" it just makes me giggle)
Makes me think of my senile old barber from my child hood.  He's name was George Hanschoemaker, which I pronounced haunchamocker.  Bit of trivia, he ran the barber shop that had been owned by the first black mayor of a town west of the Mississippi or Rockies, not sure which.  As far as I know, he was the last black citizen of my home town for the next 100 years.  They probably ran him out with the Chinese.  But I digress.

Isn't pretty much every German word a compound word. 

Nilfperd - literally a nile horse

or in english from greek

hippopotomus - which is literally a river horse, actually horse of the river. 

An excuse for a story about stupid morning DJs,  When Arnie became governor of CA, a local show in Sacramento was worried his name would be controversial because it meant Black Plougman.  They thought negger meant balck and scwartz meant ploughman.  It's the other way around. 


Edit, man I've needed the word teppenwitz my whole life.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 12:08:07 PM by Ah.hell »

Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2017, 01:59:43 PM »
Krankenschwester - German - means nurse, literally "sick-sister"
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Online nameofthewave

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2017, 01:25:55 PM »
I love German compound words, schadenfreude is just beautiful. Isn't doppelganger one as well?

Offline lubbarin

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 01:50:19 PM »
And poltergeist and zeitgeist
German has an unfair advantage on us in that regard. Portmanteau in English is most often considered cheesy
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Online Friendly Angel

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2017, 02:00:00 PM »
Glockenspiel!

Spanish has an interesting way of compounding verbs and nouns into a single word.

"matasellos" is a postage stamp cancellation mark (kills-stamps)... (a singular noun)1.

Perhaps more familiar, "chupacabras" means "sucks-goats"  also a singular noun1.

Sort of like "kill-joy" but not exactly.

 1- Although the word doesn't change for plural use in either case.  One chupacabras, two chupacabras.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 04:25:30 PM by Friendly Angel »
Amend and resubmit.

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2017, 02:49:57 PM »
My ninth grade English teacher loved the German word Feldherrnhügel (he had it posted over his black board as an illustration of agglutination). Feldherrnhügel could be considered a double-compound verb.  Feldherr, roughly "general" or "commander" literally means "field-master."  Combine that with hügel, "hill" and you get "field-master-hill" which, naturally, means command post.
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Online 2397

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2017, 03:28:57 PM »
We have most of the exact same words in Norwegian, so that does seem to be the nature of Germanic languages.

Skadefryd, handsker, skildpadde, isbjørn, vaskebjørn, flaggermus, smultring, sykebil, ah there we go. I can't translate the dog run one. But you would take your dog on a "luftetur", an air(ing) walk. Getting fresh air.

A couple of different words come to mind:

Askefast -  "ash stuck", to be prevented from traveling by plane due to atmospheric ash. A very recent word.

Ombudsmann - a much older word, and I was surprised when I found out it was an international term. It has Norse origins, but reading it as is "om" can mean around, and "bud" a message or messenger. So it's a person who travels around with a message/messages. "Bud" can also mean commandment.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 03:31:42 PM by 2397 »

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2017, 07:29:41 PM »
Fascinating. I'm not sure what it means in Norway but in the US at least it refers to a person who works for a public-facing [something] (I think I've most often seen the term used around media outlets, especially newspapers, but I know government agencies have them too) who has the task of fielding public complaints and making them heard by the powers that be. So, if you send an angry letter to your local paper about the liberal bias therein, and it didn't go to be put in the editorial section, the ombudsman would have been the person who read it. Is the meaning the same there?
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Offline Simon Jester

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2017, 11:00:31 PM »
Pennsylvania dutch (not all are true compound words but close enough)

hinkelbottboi - chicken pot pie (closer to chicken and dumplings, not the "pie stuff" with a crust)

Weschdaag - wash day

acheybelly - stomach ache

Gookamoedoe - look at that

cunkedawt  - broke down (referring to a car)

schmutzedup - dirty (also ferschmutzed)

Dippyeggs - eggs sunny side up

doanchaknow - used instead of a period at the end of a sentence

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Offline random poet

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2017, 01:31:06 PM »
To nobody's surprise, my contributions all come to you from French.

Ijsbeer, wasbeer - Polar bear, racoon (Dutch: "ice bear" and "wash bear")
Racoon is "raton-laveur" in French. Washing rat, from the belief that they wash their food.

Fledermaus - A bat (German: "flutter mouse", and you've probably heard this word from operas and stuff already or at least the Tick animated series)
Chauve-souris in French. Bald mouse.

Monster - A sample (Dutch... yeah, I got nothing here. The English root comes from the Latin "monstrum", a nounified version of the verb "monere", which means "to warn", so it initially comes from "a warning", which is what monsters originally were in English and in other languages - not so much evil beasts in and of themselves but creatures whose evil physical appearances, like a man with eyes in his feet so he cannot look up to God, served as warnings to others... but how you get from there to "sample" is lost to me)
I think there is a slight mixup in etymology, here. You have to go back farther to find the Latin root, "to show", monstrare. Which gave us the root for monster above (also "monstre" in French), but also the French "montrer", to show. I always thought they were not related, since the semantic drift is so… strange.

The meaning of sample, then, would follow; "let me show you my product."

However, it is not a compound word, in any of those languages.

Treppenwitz - When someone says something to you and, like, 5 minutes later, you come up with a witty rejoinder (German: 'Staircase joke' - treppen = stairs (think "trip"), witz = humor (or, well, "wit") - as in "your wit as you are walking up the stairs away from the other party)
This is "l'esprit d'escalier" in French. Stair wit.

Ombudsmann - a much older word, and I was surprised when I found out it was an international term. It has Norse origins, but reading it as is "om" can mean around, and "bud" a message or messenger. So it's a person who travels around with a message/messages. "Bud" can also mean commandment.
We also use it here, in Quebec, because we use the British Common Law system. I had no idea it came from Norwegian.

Other interesting fact: "Portmanteau" is used in English for a newly created compound word, but in French it only means coat-rack (the litteral meaning of those two words). We use the term "mot-valise" (suitcase word) for what you call portmanteaus. Also the proper plural should be portemanteaux.
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Offline PatrickG

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2017, 04:44:15 PM »
My favorite compound-word oddity:  Oberlippenbart   (literal German: 'above-the-lips beard', meaning moustache)

As inverse, the English is a compound word, but not in most other languages. Butterfly is different in every language:

Butterfly = Papillon (french), Mariposa (Spanish), Schmetterling (german), vlinder (dutch), fluturi (Romanian), fjäril (swedish), motýl (Czech), sommerfugl (Danish),

Minor correction: its 'schildpad' = literal Dutch: 'shielded frog'. 'Pad' is a kind of fat frog that walks rather than jumps.

The generic insults in Dutch are rather benign euphemisms for genitals and what you do with them:
'klootzak' = literally: ball-bag .
'Lul' = spout of a fire hose. Sometimes strengthened to 'slappe lul' or 'boerenlul'. This can also be used as verb 'lullen' = meaningless banter. Similar to the verb 'ouwehoeren' (literally 'old-whoring')
'afzeiken' = to piss on (in the non-Trumpian goldenshower way), meaning to insult at length.
'Mierenneuker' = ant fucker = someone with obsessive attention to detail.

And the Dutch love to use illnesses. Generic form:
vuile <tyfus/kanker/tering/kolere>lijer  = dirty <horrible illness>-sufferer .
Also used as a verb: 'kankeren' ('to cancer') means complaining.


And compound words for ethnic slurs were rather common when I grew up:
Geitenneuker (goat fucker)
Spaghettivreter (pasta-muncher)
Poepchinees (poop-chinese)
Brillejood (glasses-jew)
Kaaskop (cheese head)
Moffenhoer (kraut-whore)
Zandneger (sand nigger)

« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 05:05:37 PM by PatrickG »

Online 2397

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Re: Compound words from other languages
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2017, 05:58:38 AM »
Fascinating. I'm not sure what it means in Norway but in the US at least it refers to a person who works for a public-facing [something] (I think I've most often seen the term used around media outlets, especially newspapers, but I know government agencies have them too) who has the task of fielding public complaints and making them heard by the powers that be. So, if you send an angry letter to your local paper about the liberal bias therein, and it didn't go to be put in the editorial section, the ombudsman would have been the person who read it. Is the meaning the same there?

Pretty much. I mainly recognize it as a government term, like the ones described on the wikipedia page. There's also "verneombud", (vern=protection) which are mandated for businesses with more than 9 people, and is a representative elected by the employees.

Currently "Sivilombudsmannen" has been investigating the conditions for prisoners that we're sending to a prison in the Netherlands, and is accusing the Norwegian government of failing its duties to prevent human rights violations. The Google Translate is mostly intelligible, but where it says "The zones" it should be "They are serving their sentence".

We also use it here, in Quebec, because we use the British Common Law system. I had no idea it came from Norwegian.

Or from Swedish or Danish. Edit: Probably from Swedish, unless the concept/term was spread from Scandinavia as a whole.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 07:05:52 AM by 2397 »

 

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