English has probably more words than most comparable world languages, it is used to say. Certainly several reasons contributed to it. The first one is because English was originally a Germanic language (related to Dutch and German). Basically, after the Norman Conquest in 1066, English was mostly influenced by Norman French, at the time the language of the ruling class during a long period of time. Latin, with all its own perilous and vagueness characteristics, influenced also considerably, as you know it, because it was the language of scholarship and of the Church. For all these reasons, English acquired a larger vocabulary (more than a million words) than the majority of the other languages of the world. And ir doesn’t stop to add new words from all the other nearly 6,000 thousands languages of the world…, including Portuguese.
‘Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylarginyl…isoleucine’ is the chemical name of ‘titin’ (also known as ‘connectin’) and it is the largest known protein. It has 189,819 letters and we need about 3 hours to pronounce it…If you have time…listen here:
The ethnospere, i.e., the influence that geography, climate, cuisine, religion, history and humor have on the human soul, make humans to invente new unique and specific words. All pratically untranslatable…
I collect just a few of them down here for your appreciation.
noun: “put your heart and soul” into something
mazel tov (Yiddish)
phrase: means “good luck” and it is a Jewish phrase used to express congratulations for a happy and significant occasion or event
noun: it’s a kind of unfunny joke but at the end of which you laugh anyway
A: Aren’t you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?
B: Yes I am, I married the wrong woman -_-
J2 – Two cows are standing in a field.
One says to the other “Are you worried about Mad Cow Disease?”
The other one says “No, It doesn’t worry me, I’m a horse!”
J3 – Q: What travels around the world and stays in a corner?
A: A stamp.
J4- Q: What is white when it’s dirty and black when it’s clean?
A: A blackboard.
(Note: From here down page I copied from Babel…It is difficult to do better…)
noun: that sleepy feeling you get after a big meal
Everyone has succumbed to drowsiness after a meal at one time or another, but only the Italians have enshrined the phenomenon in a single word. When you wish you could take a nap after lunch, you’re “having the abbiocco” (avere l’abbiocco).
noun: the ability to improvise a quick solution. It seems that we, Portuguese, share this ability with North-Americans. Germans are exactly the reverse of this chrascteristics, they try to do everything along previously defined guiding lines (as it seems to me…)
Desenrascanço is the M.O. of any high-functioning procrastinator. Not only does it mean to solve a problem or complete a task, it means doing so with a completely improvised solution. TV’s MacGyver utilized this skill every time he averted disaster with nothing but a bent paper clip and a chewing gum wrapper.
adj: comfy, cozy; intimate; contented
Do you ever wish there was one word to combine everything snuggly, safe, friendly and caring? The Danes have you covered with hyggelig. The word is used so often in daily life that many Danes consider it part of the national character.
noun: after-lunch conversation around the table
The Spanish are known for enjoying long meals together, but eating isn’t just about food. When you stay at the table after lunch in order to savor a final course of stimulating conversation, you are indulging in sobremesa.
noun: a beer you drink outside
Norwegians must endure a long, dark winter before they can enjoy the brilliant, but brief, summer. So a beer that you can drink outside, while absorbing the sun’s glorious rays, is not just any old beer.
verb: to make something worse when trying to improve it
We’ve all done this before: by trying to fix a small problem we create a bigger problem. Perhaps you tried to repair a flat tire on your bike, and now the wheel won’t turn? Or after reinstalling Windows your laptop freezes every time you boot up? Oh no, don’t tell me you tried to fix that bad haircut yourself!
yakamoz (Turkish) and mångata (Swedish)
noun: the reflection of moonlight on water
No matter which language you speak, from time to time you probably admire the moon’s reflection on a body of water. But unless you’re Turkish or Swedish it’s impossible to describe this beauty with a single word. The Swedish mångata literally translates to “moon-road”, an aptly poetic description.
Turkish also has a very specific word, gümüşservi, but it’s not really used in everyday speech. It’s far more common to call the moon’s reflection on water yakamoz, which can be used to describe any kind of light reflecting on water, or even the sparkle of fish.