My Favorite Words – Part 1

As an expat living in a foreign country, you realize after a couple of years (or sooner) that your ability to recall words in your mother tongue becomes increasingly difficult. I struggle almost on a daily basis to think of a word for something, especially when asked by a colleague. Although I work in English most of the words are scientific or technospeak. The rest of the time I am trying to speak Swedish and so my brain is quickly full of simple Swedish words, thus losing space in my brain for the dead and dying English words and phrases I never hear anymore. C and I struggle with our language differences all the time. His English will always be superior to my Swedish so we rarely speak Swedish together. I do listen to him speak it with friends and family, and I test myself to see if I understood the gist of the conversation. When we watch movies, I cannot help but read the Swedish text underneath, which helps increase my vocabulary. The thing is, all this Swenglish is stealing my favorite words from my memory banks. So I thought I would list 10 of them so I can refer back at any time and lovingly speak these words out loud for the beauty of the sounds they make in English. I have added links to the definitions on

  1. Discombobulate
  2. Diaphanous
  3. Epiphany
  4. Nook
  5. Mellifluous
  6. Cornucopia
  7. Ratatouille (I like this word even more because of the movie…)
  8. Ecum Secum (not a word, a place near where I grew up…)
  9. Tumultuously
  10. Murmuration

More about murmuration is found here… because both C and I saw this amazing event in Rome last year I can only say it is one of the most magical things around! and it is a great word.

Rome Murmuration October 2011

Rome Murmuration October 2011


9 thoughts on “My Favorite Words – Part 1

  1. Scintilla. Conglomeration. Lissome. Ebullient. Mercurial. Edification. Clandestine. Embonpoint.. Pervasive. Embroil.

  2. Which behooves us to expedite frequentious rendezvous, lest your beleaguered English succumbs to extraneous befuddlement from the ubiquitous murmurings of the Swedish denizens. Let us convene in a city befitting our cultural aspirations and regurgitate and savour fabulous vocabulary, t’would be prodigious entertaining! I’m thinking London, Paris or Rome, girlfriend. Or Amsterdam?

  3. Oh dear A, you will never lose your own language by learning a new one, it’s just that your active working memory is full with the new words for the moment (where some of which are sadly profane, like snöskovel, plogbil and Janssons frestelse)…

    From my experience, learning both English and French as foreign languages, I’ve noticed I have a switch in my brain where I get the language into the Swedish/English/French tracks.
    Normally, it takes a day for me to really start thinking and reacting in French, as I don’t use the language regularly, but it’s amazing how much comes back to me in a short time.

    Also thank you for your words! Five of them were new to me… 🙂

  4. loved this post. Although likely permanently States-bound (as in, held in bondage) for any number of reasons, I am nonetheless essaying to acquire expertise in both literary and colloquial Italian. This, at 60, is not so easily done, at least not in my case! Two things came to mind regarding your favorite words. I do not recall where I read this, but I remember learning once that a non-English speaking couple were gushing over their favorite word in English, the most mellifluous and melodious word they had ever sounded out. It was so lovely that whatever the meaning, they were determined to name their first child after it. The word? Diarrhea…Sorry but true. The other thing is that sometimes you just have to make up a word to fit the occasion. Two of my favorites are “snorf” which a friend and I coined long ago to mean the removal of the cream insides of an oreo cookie before eating the cookie halves. (Technically you should do this with your front teeth.) But you can snorf all sorts of things by extension, anything with a creamy or soft interior. Then there is “kerflobolate” and/or the state of being “kerflobolated” — essentially a super-confused, extreme pan-discombobulation. Okay, them’s my “due centesimi” (two cents).

    • Two of my favorite sounding Swedish words are snart and strax. I want to name my next animals this. My boyfriend objects since both words mean, soon, or really soon. But I still giggle at the sound of snart every time..

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