For those who have an interest in linguistics, Amritas has commented on how easy it is to make a noun a verb in English, based on the closing line to my recent post Soldier. This used to drive my Swedish teacher nuts, because we would always change the function of Swedish words in ways that her usage just wouldn't allow. For example, a common expression of dismay in Swedish is usch, so we turned it into an adjective (Det känns så usch) and even morphed it (Oj, det var uschligt.) My classmates and I even borrowed it into English, and it became so common in my usage that my husband has even picked it up. A common question around our house is "Why are you so usch?" It's really easy to do this in English -- it's a fun way for one's lexicon to grow and new slang to be formed -- but the Swedish and French speakers I know seem to not have the same flexibility with language that we do.
Posted by Sarah at March 28, 2004 09:56 AM