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In Other Words by Christopher J. Moore

In Other Words

by C. J. Moore

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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343947,179 (3.37)6
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English (8)  Swedish (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A pleasant guide to the byways of language and the difficulties of translating cultural concepts.
  Fledgist | Mar 14, 2010 |
A delightful little book of languagae and culture that redresses its academic shortcomings through charming authorial idiosyncracy. ( )
  TheoClarke | Oct 23, 2009 |
This is intended as a collection of words, not in English, that convey concepts that are unfamiliar, or simply not so succinctly put. The book is divided into section by language or geography, with separate sections on indiginous languages and creoles & pidgins. Pronunciation is given, although I had understood that "feng shui" is pronounced more like "fung schway" than "feng shoo-ay". The book includes an index.

Moore seems to be seeking to introduce other cultures, as much as different words. I am not quite certain how to take his generalizations about national character. Presumably for this reason, he introduces a lot of idiomatic expressions, as well as individual words. Around the same time that I got this book, I got Made in Japan, about Japanese commercial art. Makes me somewhat skeptical that something that doesn't have "wabi", tranquility, isn't Japanese.

I don't find this one of the best of its type. For one thing, I find Moore's introductions somewhat patronizing, not the least to English speakers. He also includes a number of works, like yinyang, Schadenfreude, demi-monde and guru that I think are already part of the English-speaking vocabulary. He sometimes explains the meaning in terms of English-language idioms that aren't familiar to me.

This is interesting, but not the first book that I would buy.

Interested readers might also want to check out They Have a Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words & Phrases by Howard Rheingold, and The Meaning of Tingo: and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World by Adam Jacot de Boinod. (tingo: to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them.) ( )
  juglicerr | Oct 18, 2009 |
Interesting conversation starter that is a reprint of In Other Words without reference to that earlier publication. ( )
  TheoClarke | Oct 5, 2009 |
This would be a good reference book more so than reading it end to end. The book is a lexicon of words in different languages across the world and in the past that define specific things for which there is no word in English. Some of the words seem eminently useful and others are fantastically specific or rooted in the culture. ( )
  Othemts | Jun 26, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Kanske reagerar jag med viss övermättnad, som efter att ha ätit för mycket tårta, helt enkelt för att jag har läst igenom boken. Förvisso är den säkert mest nöjsam som uppslagsbok

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Moore, C. J.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dhol, SharanjitDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nilsson, ThorbjörnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Packer, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winchester, SimonForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First published as In Other Words (New York: Walker, 2004) and later published as The Untranslatables (London: Chambers, 2009).
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802714447, Hardcover)

When ideas fail, words come in handy. But sometimes you can’t find the right word, and what you want to say can’t be found in the dictionary. English has its limitations, but the expression you’re searching for may exist in another language. In Other Words is a unique collection of well-known and absolutely obscure “untranslatables”—linguistic gems that convey a feeling or notion with satisfying precision yet resist simple translation.

This quirky lexicon of hard-to-translate words gives the reader a new way to look at the world and how words relate to us. The words are arranged by region or country of origin, and a brief introduction to each section—each done by a respected translator—gives insight into the culture of the people as well as the language. Each of these singular words is cleverly and thoroughly defined, with interesting details and references throughout. The search for that elusive mot juste may be over.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In this short but enthusiastic book, linguist Moore selects, from languages across the world, words and phrases that are impossible to translate neatly into English. In many cases the difficulty arises because our culture simply doesn't share the same experiences as others. Other untranslatable words are those used for a feeling or situation that English describes in a roundabout way. This book will appeal to anyone who loves linguistic oddities.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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