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The Meaning of Tingo and Toujours Tingo
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The Thingummy
Walking with the Wounded
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Cruising To Murder
Murder Your Darlings
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The Meaning of Tingo and Toujours Tingo


  The Meaning of Tingo
  Toujours Tingo

The idea of collecting unusual words from foreign languages and putting them in a book was that of an old friend from university, Adam Jacot de Boinod. My involvement began with a lunch or two chatting about how his book might be structured, and grew from there. Suffice it to say that every last foreign word in the book is Adam’s discovery; my contribution lies in the English links and titles.

Adam has a very beady eye for finding the weirdest and most wonderful definitions from the huge range of foreign languages he’s looked at. The first book, The Meaning of Tingo, contained such great words as termangu-mangu, the Indonesian for ‘sad and not sure what to do’; mukamuka, the Japanese for ‘so angry one feels like throwing up’; nedovtipa, a Czech word which describes ‘one who finds it difficult to take a hint’; and ataoso, the Central-American Spanish for ‘one who sees problems with everything’.

You might have thought that the first book would have exhausted the stock of wonderful definitions from around the world, but not a bit of it. On his second trawl through the world’s languages Adam came back with a huge collection of (often) even better stuff. And so we discover about okuri-okami, the Japanese for ‘a man who feigns thoughtfulness by offering to see a girl home only to molest her once he gets in the door’ (literally ‘a see-you-home-wolf’) not to mention the kanjus makkhichus, the Hindi for ‘a person so miserly that if a fly falls into his cup of tea he’ll fish it out and suck it dry before throwing it away’. I’m spoilt for choice for further examples, but how about digdig, from the Manobo language of the Philippines, meaning ‘to praise someone for the quality he lacks in order to encourage him to develop that quality’ or napleiten (Dutch) ‘to discuss might-have-beens, go over old ground again, keep on arguing after a thing has been decided’.

There are plenty more where those came from …

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