As an English major and later an English teacher, I observed a disturbing trend among some of my peers: a startlingly large number of them were positively gleeful about their inability to do math. I was always somewhat horrified by their protests of, "Oh, I'm an English major, I don't do math" -- I mean, it wasn't like I expected them to teach calculus or anything, but they were whipping out calculators to add pairs of two-digit numbers. By the time they stopped groaning about having to do math, found their calculators, and turned them on, I'd already done the arithmetic in my head. Still, they seemed quite content -- proud, even -- that simple math was beyond them. Their einmaleinswiedergabeschwächenstolz astonished and stuck with me.
What, you didn't know there was a word for that?
Well... okay. Maybe there isn't, strictly speaking, such a word as einmaleinswiedergabeschwächenstolz. But word nerd Ben Schott thought there ought to be, and I can't disagree. After all, there is surely no better venue for expressing the inexpressible than the German language, am I right? Any language that includes a word like kummerspeck ("grief-bacon", or the extra weight gained through emotional eating) is just set up for word assemblages like "multiplication-table-reproduction-impairment-pride".
And so we have my nominee for the German lexicon of the year: Ben Schott's Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition.
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