Food words we may need
As Noam Chomsky and countless other linguists & psychologists point out, our thinking is limited by our language. This post is dedicated to some food-related words from other languages that we might consider adding to English, if only to expand our thinking (& have fun with pronunciations).
In Micronesia the people of the Gilbert Islands sometimes enjoy kamatuao, a meal one eats upon waking in the middle of the night.
Fulumizya is a Mambwe word from Zambia meaning to prepare food quickly for someone who is very hungry.
And why don’t we have a word for what all of us do to an avocado, peach, or tomato before buying it? The Tamil people have the word athukkugirathu, meaning to press fruit softly with the fingers.
The Italians perceive a difference between the average picnic & those particularly stellar picnics enjoyed in October. Those perfect October picnic outings are known as ottobrata.
The Mandinka people of West Africa label the first meal cooked by a newly married bride bulunenekinoo.
When the people of Finland feel that particular hunger for salty food they experience hiukaista, while folks who speak Malay call that ravenous hunger we experience as we chase away an illness kemarok.
In the Easter Islands a person who can’t afford a meal but shows up at someone else’s table expecting to eat is a pakiroki.
And in the Czech Republic, an individual who loiters near a restaurant to eat the leftovers is a bufetak.
Do we need any of these words/ideas, or is English fine without them? Please leave a comment.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: Hugh Rawson’s Toujours Tingo, the OED, WordSense EU, & The Telegraph.
2/20/2020 09:45:25 am
Great list! I especially need hiukaista added to my vocabulary.
2/20/2020 12:40:58 pm
Hey Heather -- thanks for coming by. I agree. And I love the fact that hurriedly cooking for a very hungry person takes so long to say: fulumizya -- wouldn't you think it would be a more hurried word?
2/20/2020 06:06:02 pm
So- a Dee-Deeism for first meal I cooked for my roommate. She requested fried chicken so I made chacha ca-ca fire, fire 🔥 and the city firemen came but declined meal!
2/23/2020 09:43:00 am
Yikes! Nothing like having a few guests over for dinner.
2/23/2020 09:43:59 am
Hey Steve -- Perhaps we should, especially those who prefer vowel-free communication.
2/22/2020 02:26:39 pm
I love these! Any meal I prepare for myself is a Fulumizya meal. As I am not going to bother to go through the process of preparing a meal unless I am very hungry. Too much trouble.
2/23/2020 09:45:11 am
Well in that case, may all your fulkumizyas be fabulous.
2/22/2020 07:49:38 pm
"Kamatuao" is a word our language desperately needs. Love it!
2/23/2020 09:46:07 am
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I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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