And they're not alone. Here are two interesting charts that compare the way people speaking different languages express the same two ideas. First, did you ever wonder why we speakers of English call it a pineapple rather than something else, like the rest of the world does? ...
And consider the fairy tale character we know as Cinderella ... where did the Germans go wrong? ...
There's a great joke (well, great if you have a background in Linguistics, anyhow) about an Englishman, a Frenchman, a Spaniard, and a German who are arguing over which of them speaks the most beautiful and expressive language.
The Englishman maintains that English is clearly the most beautiful language ... just look at the word butterfly - what other language could have a word that so clearly expresses the idea of the colorful insect as it flits from flower to flower?
The Frenchman, of course, disagrees, pointing out that the French word papillon rolls gently off the tongue, like the fluid motion of the papillon as it drifts on the breeze among the flowers.
The Spaniard is equally convinced that only his language can convey the concept, as the gentle and evocative word mariposa clearly cannot be equalled for its simple descriptiveness.
And the German glares at the other three and asks, "So what's wrong with Schmetterling?"
And that is your linguistic observation for today. That Tower of Babel* really did a number on us, didn't it? Someone once said, "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse." I wonder what he would have made of Chinese.
Have a good day. Express yourself well. More thoughts tomorrow.
* Genesis 11:1-9.