Christina (dinar) wrote in linguaphiles,
Christina
dinar
linguaphiles

Good book and basil sowing

I finished Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books and would recommend it if you want something funny and good to read.


I chose this part thinking some might find the neologisms interesting. The narrator and his friend are to give a tour of the San Diego Zoo in Yiddish, so they ask an expert for a glossary of animal names, which he gives them:
"and outdid Adam himself in giving names to all the animals, beginning with aardvark (dos erd-khazerl) and boa constrictor (di boa-shlang), and continuing through hornbill (der shoyfer-shnobl), koala (dos zekl-berele), panda (der ketsisher ber), porcupine (der shtekhl-khazer), rattlesnake (di klapershlang), rhinoceros (der noz-horn), yak (der yak), and zebra (di zebre)."


Also, in a gardening book I was reading the other day it mentions the French say that a person is who is ranting and raving is "sowing the basil," which I thought was delightful because my friend's nickname is Basilseed (because he was planting it everywhere like Johnny Appleseed for a while there) and he is always ranting! I looked the phrase up online, which didn't discredit the source, but I couldn't find the origin. There seems to be a lot of clashing folklore about herbs.
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