11 March 2013

More word fun!

There are words in the Croatian language that'll trip you up, no matter what. I don't even know what to call these language speedbumps...but they are sure to cause confusion whenever an English-speaking foreigner encounters them:

Smoking:  this is not a verb.  This is a noun.  It has nothing to do with lighting up and taking a puff.  A 'smoking' is the word for a tuxedo jacket.  Yup.  A guy wears a 'smoking' at his wedding.  Nobody can tell me where this word came from...but I am guessing that in lots of old British and American movies, the guys in tuxedos were usually smoking...and then somehow in a roundabout way, it made sense.  Somehow.

Keks:  sounds like cakes.  It refers to cookies (the kind you dunk in coffee, not the kind that live on your computer).  If someone asks you to bring keks to a party and you show up with a cake instead of a platter of cookies...there'll be raised eyebrows.

Torta:  no, it isn't a thin pie-like dessert item.  Torta is the word for cake.  If someone asks you to bring the torta for a birthday party...you'd better be bringing a birthday cake.  Otherwise, there'll be some really raised eyebrows.

Pita:  no, it isn't a type of Greek flat-bread that you fill with falafel and other yummies.  Pita is anything (sweet or salty) that involves a filling being rolled in a phyllo-type dough and then baked (sort of like apple strudel).  If someone asks you to bring pita to a party, and you show up with falafels....there's just going to be complete and utter silence.  And raised eyebrows.

Hulahopke:  okay, a while back, I told everyone how Croatians refer to the '@' sign as the monkey sign (for real).  And I mentioned how it always makes me laugh when I have to say it out loud when giving someone my email address.  Well, this next one is even funnier:  hulahopke is the Croatian word for that piece of ladies hosiery known as nylons or pantyhose.  I know, you are thinking to yourself:  so what, hulahopke, pantyhose, that ain't funny at all.  But wait, hulahopke is a Croatian word taken phonetically from the English word for hula-hoops!  Yup, nylons are known as hula-hoops!  So when you go to the ladies hosiery department and the saleslady asks how she can help you, you've got to tell her that you're looking for some hula-hoops!  And it cracks me up each and every time.  The best part, is that nobody can tell me WHY they are called hula-hoops.  I can only imagine that the motion one has to go through to get the things put on looks a lot like a woman doing the hula, or working a hula-hoop. 

That's all I got today.  I'll have more soon.