The Meaning of Tingo: and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World

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Penguin UK, Oct 5, 2006 - Humor - 224 pages
2 Reviews
Did you know that people in Indonesia have a word that means 'to take off your clothes in order to dance'? Or how many words the Albanians have for eyebrows and moustaches? Or that the Dutch word for skimming stones is plimpplamppletteren? Drawing on the collective wisdom of over 154 languages, this intriguing book is arranged by theme so you can compare attitudes all over the world to such subjects as food, the human body and the battle of the sexes. Here you can find not only those words for which there is no direct counterpart in English (such as the Japanese age-otori which means looking less attractive after a haircut), but also a frank discussion of exactly how many 'Eskimo' terms there are for snow, and a vast array of information exploring the wonderful and often downright strange world of words. Oh, and tingo means 'to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by asking to borrow them'.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - juglicerr - LibraryThing

This is a book for word lovers. It is a collection of words, not in English, that convey concepts that are unfamiliar, or simply not so succinctly put. My personal favorite is scheissbedaurn, the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NielsenGW - LibraryThing

Boinod’s culling from over 250 languages can get a bit tiring if one tries to read in a single sitting. The sheer insane spectrum of meanings and shades of meanings and nuances of meanings is mind ... Read full review


Meeting and Greeting
False friends
Snobs and chauffeurs
From Top to Toe
False friends
Go whistle
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Doormat dandy
Below Par
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From Cradle to Grave
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The long of it

Movers and Shakers
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Back as forth
Getting Around
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It Takes All Sorts
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Survival instincts
Falling in Love
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Thumbs up
The Family Circle
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Him blong Missy Kween
Clocking On
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Executive essentials
Time Off
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Married in a brothel
Eating and Drinking
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The short of it
All Creatures Great and Small
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Spellcheck nightmare
Whatever the Weather
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My underground oven
Hearing Things
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Top ten
Seeing Things
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Number Crunching
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Process of elimination
Whats in a Name?
False friends

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About the author (2006)

Adam Jacot's interest in foreign languages was first piqued when doing research for the TV programme QI, hosted by Stephen Fry, and subsequently developed into a full-blown obsession. While compiling this book, he read approximately 220 dictionaries, 150 websites and numerous other books on language.

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