Being the geeky blogger-type that I am, I love the written word in all its forms. In my travels across the world, I have come to understand that the words that make up the language of a place reflect its unique culture and vision of life – the result of which is a plethora of native tongues which are as varied in nature as the regions that they emanate from.
If you like to travel like me, then all too often this can leave you quite literally lost in translation.
Allow me to help you out with a handy little pocket translation guide for some of the regions I have been lucky enough to visit, and where I have subsequently learnt the local language.
We’ll start with a little county in England. A place with it’s own, very unique take on the English language, and the location of my home during my adolescent years.
6 words that have a completely different meaning in Essex
1. Have it: to own / possess something
Essex meaning: to party hard. For example: “I’m gonna HAAAAVE IIIIIT” (pronunciation of the “H” in “have” not compulsory)
2. Proper: correct according to social / moral standards
Essex meaning: extremely. For example: “I’m leaving mate. This party is proper bleak”.
3. Bleak: deserted / barren
Essex meaning: disappointing. For example: “She’s well fit, but I took her on a date and found out that she’s actually well bleak”
4. Well: fit and healthy
Essex meaning: see “Proper”. Use interchangeably.
5. Mug: a large receptical used to hold tea
Essex meaning: Someone who has been taken advantage of. For example: “I can’t believe he sold me that motor and then it broke down on the A12 to Basildon. I’m a right mug”
6. Chardonnay: a variety of grape, used for making champagne and other white wines
Essex meaning: One of the girls in your class at school. For example: “Chardonnay’s been suspended cs she was caught sniffing Wayne’s glue stick behind the bike sheds”
We move to Qatar next, where after living here for 18 months, I feel I am finally starting to understand the intricacies of the Arabic language.
6 words that you need to understand before you visit the Middle East
1. Shukran: thank you
2. Salam: Direct translation: peace. Used for: hi!
3. Khallas! a term used to mean that something is completely and irrevocably done, finished, and over. No seriously. Just stop.
4. Yalla! Let’s go!
5. Marhaba habibi (m) / habibte (f): welcome, friend
6. Inshallah (or insha’Allah): Direct translation: God willing. Used for: this is never going to happen. Well, it might. Just not right now because I’m going home.
And finally, let’s go to the rest of the world and some of my favourite words that are completely and utterly unique to that particular place.
6 untranslatable words from around the world
And finally, my favourite; a word which describes the very reason I started this blog in the first place.
Which unique words or translations do you know, from where you live or around the world?