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When was the last time you’ve learned a new word in a foreign language? You can’t remember? No problem, you have me now. I speak, well, some languages, so “some” that I already happened to forget one of them. And every foreign language I had to learn – that somehow was never a deliberate process – I noticed how it changed the way I saw things, as if the world suddenly got a new dimension which was hidden from me before.
I’m no neurobiologist, but I’m pretty sure that if you are forced to phrase all your sentences in the past tense using only passive – as in “he was told this by me” instead of “I told him” – or put all your prepositions together in one word after the nouns – as in “the book is kitchenin tableon” instead of you know yourself what – something physically measurable will happen to your brain cells, shortly after this feeling of a suffering right hander who is now forced to write with his left foot becomes less intense.
These changes in your brain will result in unexpected associations, ways of thinking and expressing yourself. How could you possibly stay the same boring person, if all your adjectives have genders now and you have to somehow survive without the verb “to be”? No, you don’t have to smoke anything illegal for it. Just ask me, and I’ll let you know which language course to sign up for to have the pleasure.
You will suddenly notice that even your speech in your mother tongue has changed. Suddenly, you can’t think of a particular word in your language. Instead, a foreign word comes to your mind, and strangely enough, you find it capturing the essence of whatever you want to say way better.
I have a collection of such foreign words, I even remember the very first one. How do you feel about the word “sun”? For me, it never brings out these vivid, bright images of something big, shiny and worm. Too short, too simple, not unique in its sound. “I’m so bright my mom calls me son”, haha. Aurinko. This Finnish word is the sun for me.
There are many, many more words like this in my collection. Let me teach you one of my favorites today. I promised, remember? Yes, I know, it seems like really long ago, but better late than never, so here it goes:

Schickimicki [‘ʃiki’miki]

It’s a no, not a Japanese, a German word that is an adjective, and describes something chic, fancy, expensive looking, and at the same time braggy, or even snobby. It has become a permanent part of our family’s vocabulary, and we often use it to describe a person: “Ah, look at all these schikimicki people in this restaurant!”, an outfit: “New boots? Uuuu, schikimicki!”, or any other thing that is “schikimicki”. Good luck expressing all this in one word in English! And even if you manage – I’m sure you won’t, but let’s just say “if” – it won’t sound as cool as this.
So, congratulations! You’ve learned a new word in a foreign language today. Well done! You can return to watching TV, reading your book, or killing zombies online with a clear consciousness now, knowing this day was not in vain. But if you’d like to stay a moment longer, I would love to hear about your collection of special words.
Is there any word in your native language, which you won’t trade for any other foreign word?
Do you also use words from other languages in your every day speech, because they “feel better”?
Come on, tell me! I’d really love to know!
P.S. By the way, does anybody know in what language the book is “kitchenin tableon”? And no, it’s not the language they speak in Narnia. To the folks who are from the country of “books kitchenin tableon”: you can just reply with “I know”, so that the mystery won’T be resolved too soon.
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