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A Nesh Gallant

04/10/2011

Recently, I have been contemplating the idea of my favourite word. I initially came up with ‘nesh’, which is an English dialectal word generally meaning ‘easily susceptible to cold’. I imagine the Chinese would be rendered as ‘怕冷(pàlěng);不耐寒(bùnàihán)’.

I am familiar with the term nesh as I, much to my dismay, have previously been accused of being “a bit nesh”. Years later to add insult to injury I was also met with the Taiwanese phrase:

熱驚熱,寒驚寒(lua8h* kiann lua8h,kuânn kiann kuânn (熱時怕熱,冷時怕冷; Can’t take the cold when it’s cold and can’t take the heat when it’s hot).

As nesh isn’t a standard English word, I also come armed with a backup word: gallivant; or galavant. (To wander about, seeking pleasure or diversion). It just rolls off the tongue. I usually accuse someone of gallivanting  when I think they are having too much fun and going out too often. The ABC Dictionary gives the Chinese translation as ‘尋歡作樂(xúnhuānzuòlè)’.

*Wordpress doesn’t want to display the diacritic for the Taiwanese eighth tone.

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From → Mandarin, Taiwanese

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