Yámana-English Dictionary

The Yámana or Yahgan language of Tierra del Fuego is an extinct language with an absolutely massive and wonderfully expressive vocabulary. The 1933 dictionary of translations from this language is seriously delightful, and insightful, to read. Every single page contains numerous examples of words for which English fails to produce comparatively evocative equivalents. Some favourites, with regretfully slightly improper accents:

Usip-isin: a man who has no proper place of abode, or acts as though he had none, being at home equally among strangers as at home; who lives anywhere and everywhere.

Uspi: to lie with the back to the fire.

Cilagagöna: to be overtaken by night when out anywhere, or in doing anything. To he out doing anything at the close of day.

Ciyoida-g: Not to feel, or much regret, the loss of near relatives.

Amun-ata: To draw up, shrink together, as any part of the body when hurt, as snails when touched

Ösik-agu: to call out from a distance for news. To inquire from a distance.

Gala-iela: to act as tho not hurt when severely hurt. To make light of severe falls and other hurts.

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