Made up words

One of the stages that is the most fun to reach in the process of learning a language is when you start to be able to bend the rules and play around with vocabulary and grammatical structures. After all, does it really matter if a word isn’t in the dictionary if it serves a purpose and can be understood?

This is inevitably easier in one’s native tongue, but I enjoy making attempts at puns and neologisms in Spanish and Catalan too, and I certainly appreciate listening to how my Spanish and Catalan-speaking friends juggle and twist their languages for comedic or dramatic effect.

One linguistic structure in both Spanish and Catalan that permits almost infinite variation is the creation of a new noun from the combination of a verb + another noun. Catalan in particular has some great (100% legitimate) words of this type, ranging from the logical to the surreal.

Some examples:

Somiatruïtes = an omelette-dreamer (daydreamer)

Cagadubtes = doubt-shitter (someone who is indecisive)

Ploramiques = little-bits-cryer (someone who cries over nothing)

I’ve been rather inspired by these gems, and have lately taken to inventing my own versions. Take a look and see what you think (I’ve written the Spanish version, followed by the Catalan):

Rompesábanas/Trencallençols = sheet-ripper (someone who is good in bed)

Abrearmarios/Obrearmaris = wardrobe-opener (a gossip, someone who is always prying into other people’s personal affairs).

Untamiels/untamels = honey-spreader (someone who will say anything to be liked)

My next challenge? Getting them accepted into the dictionary of the Real Academia Española and the Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana!

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3 thoughts on “Made up words

  1. Pingback: Made up words from English literature « Letter wounded

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