Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday

I could resist no longer. Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy from Bermudaonion's Weblog. Every Wednesday for the past few months, I've been visiting this exemplary book blog and adding Kathy's new words to my own growing vocabulary list. This week, though, I decided to try the meme myself, using some of the foreign words I've encountered during my recent reading. I hope it doesn't seem tacky or odd to use foreign words in English sentences. I wanted to do something a bit different with this meme, and these words caught my attention.

1. abbondanza: Italian word meaning abundance, plenty, copiousness (a cornucopia is a corno dell'abbondanza)

The abbondanza of Rome's outdoor markets sounds incredible.

2. ponentino: Italian word for the little west wind that blows at the end of the day; a romantic breeze

As the tired couple walked by the lake, the ponentino freshened their outlooks.

I love the beauty of these two Italian words, in sound and meaning, which I discovered in Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy, written by Paula Butturini. Because I have an uncorrected proof for limited distribution, rather than the final, quotable edition, I've written my own sentences to help convey the meaning of these words.

3. hsiao ch'ih: Chinese word meaning little eats

"Some days Betsy takes me out for American coffee, toast, and butter; sometimes I take Betsy into alleys for hsiao ch'ih--little eats, dumplings of glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves or cakes made from cassia petals and sugar."

This is from Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.

What new words have you discovered during recent reading?


  1. At first, I thought maybe you speak Italian! I wish I could pronounce those words with an Italian accent. I'll have to refer to this post when I read Keeping the Feast. Thanks for joining in the fun!

  2. Funny how Lisa See spelt hsiao ch'ih. In typical Mandarin phonetics, it's spelt xiao chi, written 小吃. Little eats is translating it literally, so I guess it could also be translated to mean 'tidbits'. =)

  3. Bermudaonion, thanks for stopping by. I had so much fun with this meme.

    Michelle, I don't understand it completely, but in the book Pearl knows different dialects(?) such as Mandarin and Cantonese.

    Does anyone know: are little eats the same thing as dim sum? I don't think they are, but they could be.

  4. Leave it to the Italians to have a word for the romantic westerly breeze that ends the day. The fact that such a word exists makes the world feel just a little bit prettier.

  5. Ok, now I'm hungry! I could go with an abundance of little eats right about now. =)

    Thanks for visiting today!

  6. I'm glad you joined this fun meme. It's fun but it has also made me pay attention to words while I'm reading. That may sound odd but it has actually enhanced my reading pleasure.

  7. very interesting expressions-there were a lot of new to me Indian words in Sea of Poppies-

  8. It's good that you learned chi (read: tsc-uh), because that's probably the most important word in Chinese ;D. Whenever you meet someone, instead of how are you, they'll ask 'ni chi le ma?' --'Have you eaten?' When you go to someone's house, they'll ask you to eat 'chi! chi! chi!'. :P

  9. Scott, I agree. Thanks for your comment.

    Lorin, both of these books have food mentions and descriptions which make you hungry.

    Margot, this meme has made me take more notice of words as well.

    Mel, perhaps you will do an Indian inspired Wondrous Words Wednesday? It's a lot of fun.

    Mee, thanks for the tip (and I'm a a real fan of Chinese food).

    Thanks for the comments. More welcomed.

  10. Good vocabulary lesson and challenge. I was reading a blog today and had to get out the dictionary for 2 or 3 words in a short post! But, I have remembered the words (so far) and will be richer for it.


  11. I wish I had the patience to write these words down and find their meanings!
    I know that's the reason my vocab is so dreadful :)
    But I like Chinese word!

  12. Hi Suko,
    Thanks for stopping by my place. Love those words. They sound so romantic. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  13. Warren, Veens, and Sherrie, this is such a fun meme. Maybe I should start a meme of my own, called "Dictionary Geeks", because I love looking up words in the dictionary, or just reading it for fun.

    Although this is an abbondanza of comments, more are welcomed.

  14. I've never heard of hsiao chih before. And I thought Chinese words like would be so common here in our country. Very nice:)

  15. I am reading this book right now as well, so your definitions were really timely for me. I hope you end up enjoying the book! I will be checking back to see what you think of it.


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