ISSUE 1 - For the love of language

For the love of language Issue 1 Contributed by: Adam Jacot de Boinod who worked on the first series of Stephen Fry’s BBC television programme QI and is the author of The M eaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books and creator of the iPhone App T ingo, a quiz on Interesting Words. We can be green with envy, see red, or feel a bit blue. Colours have a strong symbolic force, but not everyone agrees what they stand for. Here are some examples from across Europe for the colour yellow: slå noen gul og blå (Norwegian) to b eat someone up badly (lit. to beat someone yellow and blue) un libro giallo (Italian) a thriller book (lit. a yellow book) giallo d'invidia (Italian) very envious (lit. yellow with envy) sararıp solmak (Turkish) looking sad or unwell (lit. getting yellow and withered) un giallo (Italian) an u nsolved mystery (lit. a yellow) me ferrei de verde e amarelo! (Portuguese) I'm in trouble (lit. I'm screwed in green and yellow!) sorriso amarelo (Portuguese) a forced, insincere smile (lit. a yellow smile) rire jaune (French) to give a forced, insincere laugh (lit. to laugh yellow) a se îngălbeni de frică (Romanian) to become visibly afraid (lit. to become yellow with fear) a flutura steguleţe galbene (Romanian) to blather (lit. to stream little yellow flags) galben ca turta de ceară (Romanian) very pale (lit. as yellow as wax cake) voir jaune (French) to b e pessimistic to see yellow) a râde/surâde galben (Romanian) to laugh or smile in a forced, insincere way (lit. to laugh or smile yellow) un jaune (French) a strike breaker (lit. a yellow) Gelb vor N eid (German) envious (lit. yellow with envy) 4
For the love of language das Gelbe vom Ei (German) a good thing (lit. the yellow of the egg) žut ko krpa (Serbo-­‐Croatian) nauseous (lit. yellow as cloth) sárga az irigységtől (Estonian) very envious (lit. yellow with envy) leissza m agát a sárga földig (Estonian) he's very drunk (lit. he drinks himself to the yellow gourd) żółtodziób (Polish) an inexperienced person, a rookie (lit. a yellow beak) mieć żółte papiery (Polish) to be insane (lit. to have yellow papers) buidheach (Scottish Gaelic) jaundice (lit. yellowness) keltanokka (Finnish) a beginner, a rookie (lit. yellow-­‐
beaked) slå någon gul och blå (Swedish) to bruise someone (lit. to hit someone yellow and b lue) et barn på gule plader (Danish) a step-­‐child (lit. a child with yellow licence plates) 1