Tag Archives: Joanthan Crow

A Word We Need in English

Image result for tsundoku

What would we do without borrowed words? Unless you live in France or North Korea, you undoubtedly have hundreds, if not thousands, of loan words you use on a daily basis without even realizing it. Have you  ever seen someone’s doppelgänger in public? Thank you, German. And how calls it a tidal wave anymore? It’s a tsunami, thank you very much, Japanese. Modus operandi, aficionado, prima donna, chutzpah? Thank you Latin, Spanish, Italian and Yiddish

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I love languages. Many thanks to Jase in Space for sending me this link to openculture.com.

Even the most voracious readers are guilty of buying more books (or borrowing books from friends/taking out books from the library) than we end up reading. Often, these same books begin piling up like paper pagodas. In extreme cases (hint, hint, producers of Hoarders), entire rooms are taken over by the written word.

Although this may sound, I don’t know, rustic (?) – perhaps even a little sexy mild to all you book lovers out there – all these centuries on and we still don’t have a word for this behaviour in English.

“Hey, Miffy, I hear you’re a piler-up of literary works!”

Something about that statement rings decidedly hollow.

Alternatively, Japanese does in fact have a word for this. It’s called tsundoku, and here’s the exact definition:

(n.) buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up on shelves or floors or nightstands

So the next time you walk into a person’s office/room/home and see a cornucopia of paper pagodas and want to look both enlightened and pretentious, you can say, “Man alive! You sure do know how to tsundoku your space!”

P.S. In case this same person(s) has difficulty figuring out how to deal with the aforementioned problem, direct them to the photo at the top of this post.


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