On Mon, Sep 25, 2000 at 04:12:40PM -0500, Carlos Thompson wrote:
> Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
> > > 4. Isn't this shirt cool?
> >
> > Hardly works, because the idiom "cool" is almost impossible
> > to translate other than by borrowing.
> Not quite.  Proably speakers have a way to express something close to
> cool, without borrowing.  I can think in Spanish a lot of expressions:
> Well.  How would you say "cool" in a sentence like "Isn't this shirt
> cool?" in your conlangs?  What does it means ethimologically.

I was about to delete this thread when ... something "jumped" out at me: I
*do* have a word in my conlang that resembles "cool" in English. Not
literally, but, like you said, expresses a feeling of wonder, "coolness",

The word is:
        K00'i   /k<h>O:?i/ (Kirsh)
A neuter noun with several meanings:
1) "Realm", "world", or "universe". Sometimes, "lesser universe" or
  "sub-universe" -- there's another word for "universe", Pe'rim, that is
  sometimes understood as the "greater universe".
2) "Grandeur". Often used as an exclamation of wonder or amazement. This
  is the meaning closest to "cool". The philosophy of the Ebisedi, the
  speakers of my conlang, is deeply intertwined with their study of
  physics; so words such as "universe" carry heavy philosophical
  connotations. Over time, this has incorporated itself into the everyday
  culture; so "K00'i" has come to mean "grandeur" or "cool". (The Experts
  somewhat have a disdain for this usage of "K00'i" but that's another
  story :-P)

Because it has been used so much, "K00'i" has developed irregular forms.
Here are its singular forms:
        Originative:    K00'    /k<h>O:/
        Receptive:      K00u'   /k<h>O:?u/
        Instrumental:   K00a'   /k<h>O:?a/
        Conveyant:      Kaa3'   /k<h>a:?V"/
        Locative:       K00'i   /k<h>O:?i/

If it were regular, it'd be inflected this way instead:
        Originative:    Ko0'    /k<h>o?O/
        Receptive:      K0u'    /k<h>O?u/
        Instrumental:   Kaa'    /k<h>a:/
        Conveyant:      K03'    /k<h>O?V"/
        Locative:       K0'i    /k<h>O?i/

The originative, which is often used in exclamations, would lose some of
its "coolness" if the hypothetical regular form "Ko0'" were used -- the
irregular form "K00'" has a long vowel, which can be dragged out long and
sweet, to denote something *really* cool. :-P