I sometimes teach English to speakers of other languages, and since Sydney is a popular destination for short-term language courses, there is plenty of work available.
In one class we had to discuss words that English has borrowed from other languages, and the reading material for that was based on the book, The Meaning of Tingo, by Adam Jacot de Boinod, who has collected unusual words from all over the world that do not exist in English, but which English could well incorporate. My two favourites were:
- Lampadato (Italian): An adjective to describe a person whose skin has been tanned too much by a sun lamp.
- Bakkushan (Japanese): A woman who you think is pretty when viewed from behind, but is ugly when you see her from the front.
The latter illustrates just how sexist languages can be at times, or how so much emphasis is put on a woman’s appearance above everything else.
I wonder if Japanese or any other language has a word for a man who looks hot from behind, but ugly when viewed from the front?
If you have any examples of words from a language that would be useful in others, do share!