Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for... Speaking Four Languages

S is for speaking four languages!

Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Terms used by locals, and not usually used outside of Switzerland, are known as Helvetisms. Apparently some of these words have been borrowed by others over the years, and heimweh, or homesickness (in German) is one of them, first used by Swiss soldiers posted far afield:

Source: Oxford English Dictionary
I love that first quotation and its reference to distemper, referred to on the German Wikipedia page as "'Schweizerkrankheit' - morbus helveticus."

An interesting new word for me was bise:

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

We felt this wind for the first time the other day, and I could see its rippling effects on the lake, which is otherwise usually clear as glass.

Meanwhile, peacocks and peahens on the United Nations grounds!

Have you heard the call of the peacock?
How would you describe it?
Some people say it sounds like a cat, but that doesn't quite fit.

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