Words, Woords, Woorden

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 | 4 comments

In this video David Crystal, a linguist with great authority on the English language, discusses his favorite words in the English language.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my favorite words. I don’t necessarily think I have chosen any favorite words consciously, but I think I subconsciously choose to use certain words and certain constructions of words without realizing it.

This phenomenon is even more interesting to me when I think about it in the context of learning a second or third language. After studying both Spanish and Dutch I have noticed that there are certain words that seem to stick in my head and easily roll off of my tongue. Claro and bueno in Spanish are always at the ready, vale is permanently etched into my brain after living in Spain, and perhaps the most worrisome of the bunch, I often find myself unable to come up with the English word doubt and instead can only think of its Dutch counterpart twijfel. In addition to these words, I often find small words in foreign languages (such as prepositions) escaping when they shouldn’t. From a personal standpoint this is terrifying because I feel like sometimes I don’t even have control over my own brain, but from a linguistic standpoint it’s pretty fascinating. There are obviously some words that my brain remembers more easily and produces more naturally than others, even when those words aren’t in my native language.

Learning Dutch? What’s your favorite Dutch word?

Learning English? What’s your favorite English word?


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  • Charlotte Vercruysse

    As I’m studying Dutch (probably at the same faculty), I also have some favorite words. But my all time favorite is ‘desalniettemin’. Don’t know why, it just is :) It means something like ‘… but still …’. Or something.

    • http://www.oppositeocean.com/ Leah@OppositeOcean

      Thanks for sharing your favorite. I think that’s one I would need some practice to begin using (or understanding). :) There are a lot of words in Dutch that I just can’t quite put my finger on, so to speak. Still trying to get the hang of the tricky little words (wel, toch, noch, and the like). I think I pick my favorite words based on the way they sound. Some sounds are just prettier than others.

      Our paths have probably crossed in the Blandijn once or twice, but we can’t be sure. If you see me you can recognize me by the big question mark floating above my head. I spend a lot of my time confused in that place. 😉

      • Charlotte Vercruysse

        Next time I spot a giant question mark floating above someone’s head, I’ll come and say hi 😉

  • Linda

    favorite word (in French): époustouflant