Monday, December 11, 2006

Words You Might Need This Week

© 2006 by Julius Lester

Here are some words we don't have in English but ones that might come in handy this week:

pana po'o (Hawaiian) To scratch your head in order to help you remember something you've forgotten.

Backpfeifengesicht (German) A face that cries out for a fist in it.

ngaibera (Pascuense, Easter Island) A slight inflammation of the throat caused by screaming too much.

o ka la nokonoko (Hawaiian) A day spent in nervous anticipation of a coughing spell

mencak-mencak (Indonesian) To stamp one's feet on the ground repeatedly, getting very angry

In the coming week may you not meet a Backpfeifengesicht or have to mencak-mencak.

All words are taken from The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the world by Adam Jacot de Boinod.


My wife is an avid (fanatical) knitter. Each Memorial Day weekend we go to the Sheep and Wool Fair in Cummington, Massachusetts. In addition to people selling wool, spinning wheels, and sweaters, shawls, socks and various other items made from wool, people also bring animals - sheep, goats, llamas, and camels. There are judging contests in which farm children parade around a barn with lambs they have raised, and, my favorite event, the Border Collie Trials. Pictured here is an Angora Goat.