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Our Glorious Mosaic

After moving to Argentina three years ago, Dominic Hilton remains frustrated with his inability to learn the language—and bemused at the locals’ misuse of English:

You see a lot of that in Buenos Aires. English swearwords, I mean. It’s as if swearing in a foreign language doesn’t count. Oh, those? I imagine people saying. Forget about those. They’re just some random four-letter words. No one understands, or bothers with translating them. Let’s go eat some more beef!

Meanwhile over at the Guardian, correspondents contributed to a list of 10 of the best words in the world (that don’t translate into English). Here’s my favorite:

Dating back to the 16th century, the term Feierabend, or “celebration evening,” used to denote the evening before a public holiday, but has come to refer to the free time between leaving the office and bedtime on any working day.

The key to understanding Feierabend is that it isn’t time for going to the cinema or gym, but time for doing nothing. In 1880, the cultural historian Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl described the concept as “an atmosphere of carefree wellbeing, of deep inner reconciliation, of the pure and clear quiet of the evening.”



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