May 2nd, 2009

Japanese proverb? Tongue twister? Witticism?

Dear fellow language geeks,

I received the following Facebook comment from one of my professors this morning. It's in hiragana in a thoughtful nod to the ever-dwindling number of kanji I can remember, since it's been years since my last Japanese class. However, I'm groggy and having a horrendous time deciphering it with the rusty remnants of my Japanese grammar, and of course since it's in kana the ambiguities are plentiful. Anyone willing to help? Also, do any of you happen to know if this is a proverb, tongue twister, or just plain clever wordplay on my professor's part?


I have come up with something like, "If you capture a tiger you capture trouble, since..." and something about a bird and a decoy or lure. However, all of that is quite questionable.

Here's Google Translate's fantastic take on it:
Taken to adopt a take take take take from you I take take take take it!

Thanks very much in advance, ほんとうに!
from a painting

Swahili Questions

Is there any difference between the usage of nzuri and that of njema in Swahili? I was looking through the FSI course for it ( and while the book read "nzuri," the speaker on the tape said "njema." I'm wondering if it was something they changed in a later edition due to semantic value or if it was simply random because they're interchangeable.

EDIT: After studying a bit about noun classes in Swahili, would it be safe to say that nzuri and njema are equally class 9 (things, natural elements, abstract) nouns?

EDIT 2: Is it just a coincidence that "book" in Swahili is kitabu and the same word for it in Persian is کتاب ("ketab") or is there some actual linguistic connection between the two?
  • djonma

Is there a word for?

The effect that when you get closer and closer to something, you desperately need it more?
And I don't mean anticipation... think needing the toilet, and you're in the car on the way home, and your bladder gets more and more painful because you know you're so close.
Obviously a holiday getting closer is more like anticipation. But the toilet effect isn't!

I'm thinking a word in English, but I'm British English and we adopt words from all over the place, so what the heck!