Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Literal Words I Wish Existed in English/On Vocabulary


I like grouping things and making mental lists. Sometimes the category itself is interesting to me that it doesn’t matter too much if the list becomes populated or if I am not conscientious about remembering what should go on the list. I wish, though, that I kept a list of literal words that I wish existed in English (vs. concept words that don’t exist in English like litost and saudade, which I tend to remember). I’ve come across so many, but I haven’t kept track.

I just have a few I remember. Hope it’s a beginning of a list (and maybe it will prompt me to remember some I’ve already come across, and make a note when I encounter them in the future).

I love the compact nature of the following useful Danish words:

mormor (mother mother) refers to grandmother on the mother’s side

farmor (father mother) refers to grandmother on the father’s side.

Yes, you guessed it, there are grandfather equivalents, too: morfar, farfar.

Not sure if mommom and dadmom would fly in English, but surely we can do better than “my mother on my dad’s side”. It’s not an odd concept or an obscure noun rarely used. I’m surprised we don’t have specific terms for them.

Another example I remember is from German: drachenfutter (dragon fodder). This is may not be commonly used as “my mother on my dad’s side” in conversation but perhaps if we had this word, there would be less marital/relationship troubles. It means a gift to one’s wife to make up for something.


Photo: Sculpture in Odense, Denmark


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This entry was posted on July 31, 2015 by in Culture, Denmark, language and tagged , , .
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