S is for... Speaking Four Languages

S is for speaking four languages!

Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Terms used by locals, and not usually used outside of Switzerland, are known as Helvetisms. Apparently some of these words have been borrowed by others over the years, and heimweh, or homesickness (in German) is one of them, first used by Swiss soldiers posted far afield:

Source: Oxford English Dictionary
I love that first quotation and its reference to distemper, referred to on the German Wikipedia page as "'Schweizerkrankheit' - morbus helveticus."

An interesting new word for me was bise:

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

We felt this wind for the first time the other day, and I could see its rippling effects on the lake, which is otherwise usually clear as glass.

Meanwhile, peacocks and peahens on the United Nations grounds!

Have you heard the call of the peacock?
How would you describe it?
Some people say it sounds like a cat, but that doesn't quite fit.


S.P. Bowers said…
Love, love the sound of peacocks. My grandfather, who lived next door to us, had some. One of my favorite things was to wake up in the middle of the night and hear them calling to each other. To me it always meant 'all is well' I miss hearing them.
Deniz Bevan said…
Aww, that's such a nice memory, Sara. I'd 'met' peacocks before, but never heard their call on a consistent basis. It's nice to listen to every day, now.
Hi Deniz .. they can certainly call - there some in a large manorial garden near where my mother lived and they flew over the road and wreaked havoc in the garden! Then came up on to the porch to say hello - not terribly popular! They are very pretty though ... and lovely that you can see them in the gardens ..

Four languages is a bit much - but one copes somehow - and presumably you speak at least two .. cheers Hilary
I've never heard a peacock's call before (at least I don't think I have), but I have seen peacocks. I wish I was multi-lingual. I should have tried learning languages when I was younger rather than I was a teenager; it would have been easier to learn them.
That's a lot of official languages.
The peacock's call is unique. Not a cat though.
Zan Marie said…
Peacocks! Don't get me started. ;-) There's nothing like having a romantic encounter with your hubby when a peacock right outside your window in Jamaica lets out one of its shrieks! ;-)
Denise Covey said…
I so admire European's flair for languages. No doubt it is because of their close proximity to each other. When we were in Luxembourg and chatting to a waiter, he told us most Luxembourgians spoke five languages because of being surrounded by so many countries. There's even the German part of Luxembourg, the Flemish part, the French part. So, obviously you have to be multi-lingual.

Loved the pics, too.

Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks all!
That's a funny story, Zan Marie [g]
I still haven't been able to see them fly! I know they do, just can't seem to catch them in the act...