Today is a sunny day, and ideal for making a listicle!
I believe that, given the title, this list needs no real introduction, aside from the fact that I sometimes find myself using the words in question regardless of what language I’m actually speaking.
Each of the meanings can be signified with the word in question, and any combination of the meanings can fit in various usages.
1. “Gerne!” (German)
Means: Yes, certainly, with pleasure, gladly
Anyone who has spent any time in any German-speaking country will attest to this word’s prominence, bordering on overuse.
It conveys a certain sense of camaraderie that very few words are even capable of.
2. “Fedt!” (Danish)
Means: Awesome! Cool!
Literally means “fat”, probably has something to do with meat. It is very easy to imagine how this ended up in its current usage, and those of you who understand anything about Danish culture will more easily imagine how and why.
I tell my English-speaking friends that Danish is the only language in which the word “fat” is conveyed as a compliment. If you know of any other languages in which this is the case, let me know.
So far, not even the other Scandinavian Languages qualify. Neither do any others, for that matter…
3. “Take!” (Yiddish)
Means: Yes, of course, definitely, without a doubt, certainly, very much so
(The “e” is pronounced…hence, ”tak-eh”…accent on first syllable)
Let’s be honest, this one sometimes is used in English—or rather, English as spoken by some/many Orthodox Jews.
Michael Wex, of Just Say Nu fame, noted that this word is very much overused and can convey the same meanings as many English filler words. Just think of the American “awesome” to think about the degree to which this word is used.
4. “Totta kai!” (Finnish)
Means: Let’s go!, Let’s do it! You’re absolutely right! I’ll get that done. As you say. Got it. Yes. I wouldn’t doubt it. Shall do!
No other phrase can…ahem… “finnish”…a discussion…or an exchange…quite like this one. Just say it aloud if you need further proof.
5. “Duiju! (Northern Sami)
Means: You idiot!
When the word “idiot” in an exasperated voice just simply will not do…
6. ”Egal!” (German)
Means: Doesn’t matter, don’t particularly care, either way I’m okay with it, makes no difference to me
Smooth, laid-back indifference flies in the air whenever I hear this word spoken. Especially in a slightly loud tone, or even with a friendly one…
And my overall favorite of the bunch goes to…
7. ”Sussa!” or ”Sussat!” (Greenlandic)
Means: Don’t bother with it! Disregard that! Doesn’t matter! Not Important! Forget about it! No good! Shoddy. I don’t care. Makes no difference. Who cares?! So what?! Do I look like I care?
“Sussa!” is singular and “Sussat!” is the plural, so depending on the object of indifference/light scorn, this word is altered accordingly.
This word is “egal” with 70 times the personality. It is pronounced with an accent on the first syllable and the “a” is pronounced like English “at”, but slightly closer to a standard “e” sound, as found in the Romance Languages.
Sometimes when I am extraordinarily frustrated (but not angry), but still want to convey a certain sense of class, I’ll use this word, regardless of what language I’m actually speaking at the moment.
I really recommend using it whenever possible.
It definitely deserves memetic status, and an occasional “sussa!” here and there can work wonders for your feelings, bordering on therapeutic.
Interestingly, one of the best-known musical hits in the Greenlandic Language, “Sila Qaammareerpoq” (Roughly, “The Weather is Sunny, Beautifully Shining”), is the creation of a band with the same name:
What are some of your favorite one-word expressions? Share them in the comments!