Thursday, June 21, 2012

man who honors his word

μπεσαλήςBesalEEss (wiktionary)

Song about Yannis the bessalEEss

Τhe word μπεσαλής also occurs in this fascinating description of 'the Greek' here--

Definition of Greek

This is the definition of “Greek” that I just found online among other similarly sarcastic definitions. I thought that it was a very smart definition that positively surprised me and made me smile. Soon afterwards I found that it was written bu:
Nikos Dimou, one of the few Greek people that I truly respect for their opinion and works:
“Έλληνας (ο από 3.000 ετών): Ο τυπικός Ρωμιός είναι λεβέντης, μερακλής, τσίφτης, ασίκης, χουβαρντάς, ντόμπρος, μάγκας, βλάμης, μπεσαλής και καπάτσος. Καμιά φορά τεμπέλης, το ρίχνει στο χουζούρι και στο ραχάτι – μαχμουρλής, στο ντιβάνι, κοιτάει το ταβάνι. Του αρέσει ο παράς, το μπαξίσι, το κέφι και το γλέντι. Άμα τον πιάσει ο σεβντάς ή ο νταλγκάς για καμιά νταρντάνα, γίνεται νταής (μπελάς, ο γρουσούζης!) και άμα τον χτυπήσει ντέρτι και σεκλέτι, γίνεται μπεκρής και τον πονάει ο ντουνιάς. (Όλα τα ουσιαστικά ονόματα αυτού του κειμένου είναι ξένα. Είκοσι πέντε τουρκικά, τρία αλβανικά, δύο ιταλικά και ένα σλαβικό).”
To non-Greek readers: the interesting thing with his definition of “Greek person” is that the definition itself is written using 25 turkish, 3 albanian, 2 italian and 1 slavic nouns — words used a lot in the daily Greek language (most Greeks live under the illusion that they are immaculate in every way, especially when it comes to their genetic origins).

I will try to define those words for you:
Levendis: not translatable. we used to joke with Tassos' (in Thasos) Armenian wife that the best definition we could come up with was her husband himself.

Meraklis: one who knows how to rejoice in life and love his work and his play like they were both his job... and both his delight
Tsiftis: I don't know, requires new post; Asikis: stud; Houvardas: one who gives freely, takes pride and joy in heaping hospitality and gifts on friends and strangers; Dobros: straight taolking, honest,
Mangas: not translatable; Vlamis: I don't know, requires new post; Kapatsos, likewise...

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