The Meaning of Tingo

The Meaning of Tingo : And Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World

3.48 (601 ratings by Goodreads)
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Did you know that people in Indonesia have a word that means to take off your clothes in order to dance'? Or how many words the Albanians have for eyebrows and moustaches? Or that the Dutch word for skimming stones is plimpplamppletteren? Drawing on the collective wisdom of over 154 languages, this intriguing book is arranged by theme so you can compare attitudes all over the world to such subjects as food, the human body and the battle of the sexes. Here, you can find not only those words for which there is no direct counterpart in English (such as the Japanese age-otori which means looking less attractive after a haircut), but also a frank discussion of exactly how many Eskimo' terms there are for snow, and a vast array of information exploring the wonderful and often downright strange world of words. Oh, and tingo means 'to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by asking to borrow them'.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 110 x 156 x 20mm | 158.76g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141021985
  • 9780141021980
  • 166,130

Review quote

At last we know those Eskimo words for snow and how the Dutch render the sound of Rice Krispies. Adam Jacot de Boinod has produced an absolutely delicious little book. (Stephen Fry, author of "Ode Less Traveled")
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About Adam Jacot de Boinod

Adam Jacot's interest in foreign languages was first piqued when doing research for the TV programme QI, hosted by Stephen Fry, and subsequently developed into a full-blown obsession. While compiling this book, he read approximately 220 dictionaries, 150 websites and numerous other books on language.
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Rating details

601 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 18% (107)
4 31% (185)
3 36% (218)
2 13% (77)
1 2% (14)

Our customer reviews

"Why are you people taking this book so seriously? I love languages and useless facts, and there is often a lot of humor to be found in useless facts.... why give a damn if the bloke spelled a lot of words wrong and the existence of certain words are questionable? I find this book very funny and entertaining. It's really the author's musings and thoughts about words he had ran across in old dictionaries. I picked up The Meaning of Tingo at a bookstore in Stateline, Nevada while on vacation during the summer of 2007. "show more
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