Sunday, January 14, 2007

Favorite Word

In honor of my efforts at language acquisition (hey, I managed to remember a couple words today!), I thought I'd share my very favorite word in a foreign language, and encourage folks to do the same (though if your favorite word is in English, then that's okay, too).

This is the most perfect word I know of. Pronounce it as you would if you saw the syllables in your version of English and you won't be far off the mark.


That's it.

You could also represent it "hua-hua" or "gua-gua." (Those transliterations make more sense if you're working from Spanish than from English.)

It's Quichua for "baby."

It's perfect, am I not right?

(I know only a few words of Quichua, just what I've picked up on the street, so to speak.)

What's YOUR favorite word?


  1. I used to live in Quito but I never picked up much Quechua.

    I know some English words that derive from Quechua though (coca, condor, jerky, llama).

  2. English: I've liked 'verisimilitude' for some strange region since I first chanced across it. But it seems sententious to use it. Almost as sententious as using sententious instead of w**keresque.

    Other: jamais vu (converse of deja vu)

  3. My one of my favorite words is 'Lagniappe'.

    It is a Louisiana French Cajun word, but has origin in the Quechua language. It means, roughly 'a little bit extra'. For instance, 'if blogger X says anything sane this week, it will be lagniappe'. Links about this term are available here and here.

    My own favorite though is 'Hi-hi', which in the Cree language means 'Thank you'. When I worked on a Cree reservation, they were terribly funny about the fact that they lacked a word for 'Please' in their language.

    The CP

  4. I love the Old English "wordhoard," which sounds so much more exciting than "vocabulary." "Vocabulary" sounds like something that happens to you, while "wordhoard" sounds like something you do, perhaps even something you're compelled to do, obsessively scavenging for words and hoarding them for future use.

  5. I have long been partial to 'ver de terre' (earthworm). I know, it's not one word - but it sure feels/sounds like it.

  6. I've liked "onomatopoeia" for as long as I've known what it was...I guess it just 'splashed' into my brain and periodically 'buzzes' back into my consciousness to let me know it's there...

  7. My favorite word? resistentialism - The theory that inanimate objects demonstrate hostile behavior against us.

    (It explains so much, doesn't it?)

  8. Great words, all.

    And teri, wow, I've never heard of that, but it DOES make some sense.