Today’s delight – pages 774 and 775 of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2004), Third Impression (2005), © Oxford University Press. Two pages throw up ALL these words I didn’t know …
Kaka, a small parrot from New Zealand. Kalanchoe. Kalimba (wotinell is a “thumb piano”?). Kalmia. Kalmyk. Kalong. Kamilaroi, a particular Australian aboriginal tribe. Kangaroo paw. Kanji (wow). KANU. Kaon. Kapelimeister. Kaposi’s sarcoma. Kapu. Karaite – believe it or not, a Jewish sect. Karelian. Karri. Karyo. Karyokinesis. Karyotype. Kasha. Kashrut. Katabatic. Katharevousa – after Judaism, now a strain of the Greek orthodox?
From the Japanese - Kakemono. Kamba. Kame. Kana. Kanban. Katakana. Katsura.
This is English today.
Mind you, this list does not include the words on those pages that I already know. What I didn’t know was that so many of these known words are English! To wit …
Kalpa – an age of Brahma, a slice of infinity. Kama Sutra. Kanarese (Kanarese?! They mean Kannadiga). Kangha. Kannada. Kara. Karahi. Karela. Karma. Kashmir goat. Kashmiri. Kathak. Kathakali. (But weren’t these Indian words? If “kangha” and “kara”, two of the five ‘k’s of Sikhism, can be incorporated into the OED, why not kesh, kaccha and kirpan as well?)
Kami – a divinity in the Shinto religion. Thence Kamikaze, or “divine wind”. Karate, from kara, empty and te, hand. (Can’t ever forget that etymology. That was the deciding question when our school won the Bournvita Quiz Contest back in 1980. Tutul got it at the last moment. Wonder whether he’s still in Southampton?) Karate chop. Karateka. Karoshi, or suicide due to stress or overwork. (Would you want to live in Japan after that?)
Kakapo – a large flightless parrot from New Zealand. (Now which of Gerald Durrell’s books was that?) Kala-azar. Kalashnikov. Kale. Kaleidoscope. Kalends (variation of Calends). Kampong. Kampuchean. Kanaka (Hawaiian again). Kangaroo. Kangaroo court. Kangaroo mouse. Kangaroo rat. Kangaroo vine. Kansan (also Kan and Kans as abbreviations). Kaolin. Kaolinite. Kapok. Kappa. Kaput (also from the Hawaiian and not German as I’d thought). Karabiner. Karakul. Karaoke. Karat. Karen. Karst – a sink-hole in a limestone region (takes me back to Goh Cheng Leong and his lovely geography text-book). Kart. Kasbah (Charles Boyer and “Come with me to the Casbah”, the line he never really spoke in the 1938 movie Algiers). Kata. Katabolism. Katana (aah, Jebu-San!). Katydid.
Amazing. Truly amazing. How many of those words did you recognise as English?
I’ve been listening to Al Stewart again. The change in the English language reminds me of his line from On the Border – “In the village where I grew up, nothing seems the same / yet you never see the change from day to day”. Coming up next, Benglish?