Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

English is a wonderful language. If a word has not been invented in English to express something and a perfectly good foreign equivalent already exists, then we just pilfer that word and assimilate it into the language. So far Finnish has only contributed one word to the English language but I'm sure they will come up with more. It's "sauna" by the way.

Two of my favourite imported words are hubris and schadenfreude.

Hubris - this is generally described as the comeuppance experienced following a display of misguided confidence. The "unsinkable" Titanic is a good example of hubris (although not for the poor souls who died upon it).

Schadenfreude is a cruel (but often satisfying emotion) and is the ability to take pleasure in the misfortune of others. I don't think it's intended as a vindictively cruel word - you would not, I think, experience schadenfreude seeing someone endure unnecessary pain however you might experience it upon seeing a particularly irritating colleague caught outside in the office car park in a torrential rainstorm whilst you are watching from a position of warmth and comfort. You might even be in a position to help them....but choose not to.

On the eve of an Ashes series against Australia these words may well soon be seeing plenty of use.

There is a worrying excess of confidence regarding the prospects of the English. We've not won The Ashes in Australia in 23 years. This is no walk in the park. You do not beat the Australians in their own back yard. They are a great team and could easily duff us up.

This is a pre-emptive post to announce that despite the confidence of the English team, the English press and various TV pundits, I am not expecting anything but the toughest of scraps from the Australians. I would expect nothing less and I am confident they will deliver.

Here's to a great series.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about - it's cricket.

3 comments:

Bogdan Burca said...

Hello, My name is Bogdan from Romania!
My blog address is: http://bogdanstelistul.blogspot.com/
Can we be friends??
Thank you!!
For those who do not understand use Google Translate (top right) and select your language!!!

nursemyra said...

Hubris is one of my favourite words too

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