Umberto Eco sagte einst in einem berühmt gewordenen Bonmot: „Die Sprache Europas ist die Übersetzung“. Er hat wahrscheinlich recht, denn die meisten Europäer müssen über ihre sprachlichen Grenzen hinausgehen, um gemeinsame Erfahrungen teilen zu können. Gleichzeitig drücken die meisten Wörter in verschiedenen Sprachen mehr als gewöhnliche Ideen aus. Viele von ihnen sind in eine andere Sprache schlicht nicht übersetzbar, denn sie sind Teil einer spezifischen Kultur und Geschichte. Wörter aus einer anderen Sprache zu lernen ist daher eine Möglichkeit, die eigene Sicht auf die Welt zu verändern und zu vertiefen. Diese Kategorie versucht, das sprachliche europäische Erbe auszuloten und weiterzugeben. Spielen wir mit Europas Wörtern!

European Untranslatable Words

The act of speaking is a cultural expression par excellence. A language concentrates all the cultural representations of a community about, for instance, interpersonal relations, feelings, behaviors, world perceptions…. They embody historical experiences and consequently, can’t be shared in the very same way by others. In Europe, untranslatability shouldn’t be a barrier to the will of living together, but a way to enhance our common heritage with many other words completing our vocabulary. Above is this first list ever published of European untranslatable words. You’ll see, some words are very amusing and express emotions that we all experienced once […]

European Swear Words

Mini - European Swear Words Goddammit! We all knew that Europeans swear like troopers but we may have forgotten how creative they can be. Captain Haddock had better watch out : he has serious competitors. “Fuck!” say the Brit, “Putain!” answer the French, “Cazzo!” reply the Italian, “Kurwa!” say the Pole… All Europeans have their own words to express anger, irritation, contempt, or disappointment, but they don’t use the same swear images. A whole set of countries use the word “hell” or “satan” to swear : it is not really rude, and almost nice if you look carefully ! Others swear […]

European Longest Words

Did you know that Turkey with a 71-letters word was the European longest word and that the Irish Gaelic one was the shortest sample of our list? More surprisingly and for some curious reasons, it is interesting to notice that the longest word in some European countries is directly linked to their national backgrounds. French men launched a revolution to get a constitution, they invented the word ‘Anticonstitutionnellement’, English men separated their Church from the Vatican, and they and they get ‘Antidisestablishmentarianism’, Norwegianpeople invented the Peace Nobel Price, they have ‘Menneskerettighetsorganisasjonene’ […]

European Surnames

Family names are part of the history of each nation. They contribute to the social contract which binds citizens together in a society. So when we look carefully at the most common surnames in Europe, we approach identities in how they appear the most real and pure. Did you know that the most prevalent family name is the Spanish one ‘Garcia’? Did you notice that Polish, Czech and Slovenes shared the same most prevalent last name, meaning ‘new man’. And last, did you observe that in some Balkan countries, the most common surnames designate actually the neighbor’s nationality? The list bellow is a compilation of the most frequent surnames for each […]

European Little Johnny

With one official language for each 20 million inhabitants and 225 secondary languages, Europe may sometimes realize the ancient myth of Babel. In the fierce debate over a common language for Europe, Umberto Eco once said in a famous sentence that the language of Europe was actually translation. This is in particular the case for this funny list, which tries to collect all the translation, origin and explanation of the Little Johnny jokes in every European countries. This is indeed amazing to notice that, in almost every single European country, there is an equivalent for those childish jokes. This list is full of surprises […]

European Toasts

Mini - European Toasts Let’s have a drink together in Europe! The toast is often described has being deeply rooted in Western culture, or even more in European culture. It has been part of our common patrimony for ages with stories dating back from centuries. The first toasts between European kings in the Middle-Age actually sealed peace and solidarity after wars. The most interesting events in Europe were celebrated with toasts full of joy and happiness. That is the reason why the following list pay due tribute to this secular tradition of European toasts. Cheers, Santé, Prost, Skål, those little words hide the most interesting stories and anecdotes.  […]

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