BOOK: THE MEANING OF “TINGO” AND OTHER STRANGE WORDS

BOOK: THE MEANING OF “TINGO” AND OTHER STRANGE WORDS

I read an unusual book: The  Meaning of Tingo and other extraordinary words from around the world by Adam Jacot de Boiod.It is a collection of unique words from languages all over the world. For example, “Tingo” in Pascuense language on Easter island Language means to take all of the things from the house of a friend by borrowing them one by one. 

Did you know that on the Canary Island La Gomera there is a language called Silbo Gomero that uses different whistle sounds instead of words.? It is thought this means of communication was developed by the early African settlers some 2500 years before. The sounds can be heard up to two miles away.  Whistling as a language is used by the Mazatco Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico. Whistling isn’t really a language but rather communication by rhythms and pitch but without words. Similar communication has been found in Greece, turkey and China. It is not unlike the drums of the Congo, the yoedelling of the Swiss or the smoke signals of the American Indians.

One word I did like was "spezzarura" in Italian which means an effortless technique of excellence. A basketball player who is "in a zone" and makes every shot as if in a trance is an example. Then there is "Wabi" which in Japanese describes a flaw in a detail that enhances the quality of the work of art. It made me think of people whose flaw in appearance or demeanor enhances who they are.

I never knew there were so many unusual words and so many different languages in the world. This thin little book was fun reading.

 

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