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WordPlay

Sprunt

As writers, we value words. They are, after all, the building blocks with which we construct our books. In earlier posts, we've featured words taken from other cultures, and to that list we have to add the word sprunt. It's a verb, an olde worlde Scottish verb, and it means 'to chase a woman around a farmer's haystack after dark'. This is another example of an activity that is so common within a culture that a single word has evolved to describe it.

     (We particularly like the qualification 'after dark'. As far as we know, there is no word for chasing a woman around a haystack during the day – either Scottish men then had better things to do; or, until it was dark, there was no reward for a successful catch.)

 

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Ubuntu

To kick off the New Year, we feature the word ubuntu. It's a South African word, originally part of a Zulu phrase. There's no easy English translation, but in essence it means "sharing the human ideals of compassion, mercy and generosity to link all societies together". After the tumult of 2020, we could do with a little more ubuntu.

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