2007-07-09

The word is not enough

The Finnish word for 'world' is 'maailma', which comes from the words 'maa' as in 'earth' and 'ilma' as in 'air'. One wonders how they came up with it.

"So, what are we going to call this?"

"What?"

"This. [points around]"

"It's a swamp, isn't it? A frozen swamp. Do we need a special word for it?"

"No, no. I mean... everything. This. [points around]"

"Oh. I see."

"Quite."

[long pause]

"Huh."

"Precisely."

[another long pause]

"Okay, I think I got it. What's everything?"

"Er..."

"It's simple. There's earth, right?"

"Yes."

"And there's air."

"Right."

"I give you... earth-air!"

"Earth-air! Brilliant!"

"Now that we have that sorted, let's go hunt some squirrels."

"Mmm, squirrel."

10 comments:

Juan Manuel said...

I was actually wondering where does maailm come from in Estonian. Now I know it.

Louis said...

except in estonian you have "land weather", haha this one had occured to me too.

I think its natural when learning other languages to pick up these small things which native speaks just miss because its something they use every day.

For example my home town in Australia is "Newcastle", admittedly taken from the place in England. So was there once a shiny new fortress built on the site of Newcastle Upon Tyne? One could easily grow up not considering the two words put together, except when they call the rugby league team "the knights".

Louis
www.zezeran.com

Mark said...

I enjoyed that, funniest thing I'd read all day.

Jan Sand said...

Now figure out "ilmaseksi" which should mean without sex.

Anonymous said...

Heh, that was great. In fact, although I'm a Finn, I had never really thought about the word 'maailma', that it consists of 'maa' and 'ilma'!

Ari said...

Jan, never mind "ilmaseksi", what's the deal with "kuraseksi"?

Jan Sand said...

Kura seems to be mud in my dictionary but it does not list kuraseksi. Is it a roll on the mud?

Aapo said...

Kuraseksi? Tulen kun mudassa myörin.

Jan Sand said...

I apologize for my lousy Finnish but it seems to be an invitation to jump into the mud.

Ari said...

Jan, "kuraseksi" is slang for "kuraiseksi" and roughly means "(to become) muddy". The standard form, found in dictionaries, is "kurainen".

Aapo, well played.