Friday, May 05, 2006

Learning New Words

Me, that is, not Celeste (although she seems to be adding a new word or three each day).

While having a conversation with L--- this morning about kids and funny stories, and she started to say something about her daughter-in-law's parents and all of the sudden paused. The word she wanted to use was mekhutonim, but she was pausing to think of the simplest way to explain her relationship to these people and in English it was either "my daughter-in-law's parents" or "my son's in-laws." Yiddish, however, has the single word מחותּנים to describe that relationship. Similarly, if she wanted to talk about her son's father-in-law, she could say mekhutn (מחותּן); or for her son's mother-in-law, mekhutnste (מחותּנתטע). (Transliterations via Yiddish Dictionary Online – ייִדיש װערטערבוך אויפֿן װעב)

The other new word popped up a week or two ago while reading The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winklegoffer. Finding one of Lucie's pinny, "Mrs. Tiggy-winkle ironed it, and goffered it, and shook out the frills." Two nights ago, the same word popped up while Evelin was reading Daughters of Britannia.

A goffer is both a pleated ornamental frill and a type of iron [picture] for goffering. And, just as to iron is a verb for the act of using an iron, to goffer is the verb for goffering.

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