Author(s): Andrew Taylor
Do you ever search in vain for exactly the right word? Perhaps you want to articulate the vague desire to be far away. Or you can't quite convey that odd urge to go outside and check to see if anyone is coming. Maybe you're struggling to express there being just the right amount of something - not too much, but not too little. While the English may not have a word for it, the good news is that the Greeks, the Norwegians, the Dutch or possibly the Inuits probably do. Whether it's the Norwegian forelsket (that feeling of euphoria at the start of a love affair) or the Indonesian jayus (a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that you can't help but laugh), this delightful smorgasbord of wonderful words from around the world will come to the rescue when the English language fails. Part glossary, part amusing musings, but wholly enlightening and entertaining, The Greeks Had a Word For It means you'll never again be lost for just the right word.
Andrew Taylor is a determined linguist of questionable skill, who speaks enough French to make the French sneer at him, enough Arabic to make Arabs laugh at him, and enough Spanish to order a cup of coffee and have a hope of getting, if not necessarily what he asked for, at least a hot drink of some kind. He can ask for milk in Russian, and if he asks for directions in the street, he will understand the answer if it means 'straight on'. He is better at English, in which language he has written ten books, including biographies and books on language, history and poetry. He has also been a senior journalist in Europe and the Middle East, a Fleet Street political correspondent at Westminster, a news reporter for the BBC and a columnist for The Sunday Times.