W.I.X.: In Other Words

While researching for WIX, I found an amazing though (too) small book: In Other Words, Christopher J. Moore, a Levinger Press Book, Walker & Company. It is indeed ‘A Language Lover’s Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World’.

In the section on Western European languages I stepped into rire jaune, literally translated from the French as “to laugh yellowy”, meaning to “give a laugh that betrays your true feelings”. The author states that yellow is not seen as a positive color by some cultures, but in France it does not represent a ‘coward’, as in English, but a ‘traitor’.

Then I remembered my Dutch friend’s reaction to a poor joke of mine: “hahaaaa…..I’m laughing like a ‘farmer with a toothache”: lachen als een boer die kiespijn heeft. I asked her to explain: “it is sour grapes….I did not really want to laugh, the joke is bittersweet…Does that make sense?” We might laugh out of the wrong side of the mouth, but my question now is whether those grapes are also yellowy!