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Off topic: What vocabulary tells you about a culture
Thread poster: Nathalie Schon

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:42
German to French
+ ...
Jun 26, 2009

Some cultures have more than 10 words for snow. We have 3?
I think it's always interesting to think about it.
When I was in the USA I noticed that Americans are a lot into berries.
At least three different kinds of berries translate in French into "myrtille" and as far as I know we, the French are a lot into berries too :

http://www.leblogdelamirabelle.net/article-32958742.html

So how come? Is there a deeper meaning behind that?
What do berries stand for?

Enjoy the Berry Merry cocktail recipe in the article and let's see if there's a deep philosophical meaning behind this vocabulary issue (ok maybe not AFTER drinking the cocktail)


[Edited at 2009-06-26 09:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-06-26 09:02 GMT]


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foghorn
English to Turkish
+ ...
bouchoné Jun 26, 2009

Speaking about philosophy… i looked for French brands of sparkling wine at Monoprix's and Nichola’s but there were only Italian brands (Valpolicelli was my favorite). Do French make sparkling wine?

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pigs are important Jun 26, 2009

In the case of Spain, from the top of my head I can list many synonyms for "pig" (I am surely forgetting many of them): cerdo, guarro, cochino, marrano, puerco, gorrino... There are many other names in Latin America.

In our case, pigs were the major source of meat preserves you could enjoy all year around, like many different types of saussages, bacon, ham, lard, and a long list of other parts (including ears, feet, face...).

In Spain we say "From pigs, even the way it walks is tasty!" ("Del cerdo me gustan hasta los andares"). Pigs have been and are important in Spain, so it's only natural that we have many names for them.


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George Hopkins
Local time: 09:42
Swedish to English
Weather Jun 26, 2009

A cartoon in the local newspaper on June 16, roughly translated, reads:

Yes, it's true, we have more than 100 words for snow.
Furthermore, we've got more than 200 for ***** bad weather.


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Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:42
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sparkling wine Jun 26, 2009

foghorn wrote:

Speaking about philosophy… i looked for French brands of sparkling wine at Monoprix's and Nichola’s but there were only Italian brands (Valpolicelli was my favorite). Do French make sparkling wine?



Sure we do: white and rose

It's called:

-Mousseux
-Crémant d'Alsace
and of course: Champagne!


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:42
Member
English to Turkish
Family relations Jun 26, 2009

Turkish has an immense vocabulary when it comes to family relations. An uncle would have a different name depending on whether he's the brother of your father or mother or he's a husband of an aunt, who, again would have a different name if she's the sister of your father, another one if that of your mother, and yet another one if she's the wife of an uncle... and so on. We have four words for sister and three for brother - some are virtually obsolete, but might as well pop up in some distinct context and the use of each vary depending on the context, connotations, intent, age relation (whether the sister or brother in question is your elder or not). Women who are married to brothers, men who are married to sisters, cousins, each one of the people who'd be simply called "someone in-law" in English, steps, grands... each has a distinct name.

What does this tell me about the culture: you may have too many people around to poke their noses into your business


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 02:42
Spanish
+ ...
That's brilliant! Jun 26, 2009

George Hopkins wrote:

A cartoon in the local newspaper on June 16, roughly translated, reads:

Yes, it's true, we have more than 100 words for snow.
Furthermore, we've got more than 200 for ***** bad weather.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:42
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
How about swear-words? Jun 26, 2009

It seems US-English has only one, which is repeated over and over.
Cheers
Heinrich


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
English to German
+ ...
Watching the wrong movies? :-) Jun 26, 2009

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

It seems US-English has only one, which is repeated over and over.
Cheers
Heinrich


You can swear quite beautifully in US English without ever using this particular word.


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Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:42
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Examples !!!! Jun 27, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

It seems US-English has only one, which is repeated over and over.
Cheers
Heinrich


You can swear quite beautifully in US English without ever using this particular word.


Examples! examples!


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chica nueva
Local time: 19:42
Chinese to English
English 'hotch-potch' Jun 27, 2009

I wonder what the relatively high number of foreign loan-words says about the English ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loan_word#In_English The reasons for English's vast borrowing include: ...

[Edited at 2009-06-28 14:16 GMT]


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:42
Member
English to Turkish
Turkish has all but one :-) Jun 28, 2009

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

It seems US-English has only one, which is repeated over and over.
Cheers
Heinrich


The Turkish equivalent of the verb you mention -I mean, imply - sounds much harsher and dirtier, moreover it is biased towards one sex. This situation of 'unspeakableness' has led to an interesting evolution in swearing: almost any other verb can be used to mean exactly that!


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 09:42
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Swearing Jul 7, 2009

in different languages is certainly interesting. The most common Norwegian swearwords concern hell and the devil. English (at least US) swearing are mostly about sex and sexual organs. (And maybe bodily excretions, which I believe are common in French and German also?)
The other day I asked my Dutch colleague what their swearing concerns - and to my surprise, he answered: diseases!
Maybe this says something about a culture also, though I am not sure exactly what.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Swearwords in Spain -> related to sex Jul 7, 2009

In Spain, most swear words are related to sex, its organs, and its consequences. To me, the reason is very probably the long centuries of sexual repression suffered by the Spanish population, mostly for religious reasons I reckon.

Some very frequent swearwords in Spanish in order of frequency:
- "hijo/a de puta" (son/daughter of a prostitute)
- "gilipollas" (silly penis)
- "cabrón" (the husband cheated by his wife)
- "zorra" (prostitute)
- "la madre que te parió" (in the name of the mother who gave you birth)

And also adjectives you don't want to use:
- "coñazo" (awfully boring, means "big female genitalia")
- "huevazos" (a person that is too slow, means "big testicles")

One I particularly like, to refer to a very brave, almost wreckless man in any situation:
- "a calzón quitado" (without his underpants, meaning ready for sex intercourse)


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chica nueva
Local time: 19:42
Chinese to English
What do Chinese foreign loan-words and four-character set-phrases say about the Chinese ... Jul 7, 2009

lai an wrote:

I wonder what the relatively high number of foreign loan-words says about the English ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loan_word#In_English The reasons for English's vast borrowing include: ...

[Edited at 2009-06-28 14:16 GMT]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_language#New_words
... direct phonetic borrowing of foreign words has gone on since ancient times. ...
葡萄 "grape," 石榴 "pomegranate" and 狮子/獅子 "lion."
佛 "Buddha" and 菩萨/菩薩 "bodhisattva."
胡同 "hutong."
琵琶 "pípa", the Chinese lute, or 酪 "cheese" or "yoghurt"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengyu
... Chengyu were widely used in Classical Chinese and are still common in Vernacular Chinese writing and Spoken Chinese today. ... Chengyu in isolation are often unintelligible to modern Chinese ...

I think the Chinese talk about health quite a lot. People say that the English and New Zealanders like to talk about the weather, perhaps because it is so changeable.

[Edited at 2009-07-08 02:47 GMT]


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