Favourite English words

My 10 favourite English words

Learning another language and slowly starting to understand, write and speak in that language is such a rewarding process but it’s also a challenging and daunting one. If you have ever lived in a foreign country where people don’t speak your language you have probably experienced how isolating and frustrating everyday life can be.

I think the German education system is really good at teaching children foreign languages. I have learned English since the age of 11 and languages were actually my favourite subjects at school. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t struggle when I moved to the UK! I remember that I wasn’t able to actively engage in group conversations during the first few months. I didn’t know the slang words, people spoke too quickly or they had funny accents.

I also haven’t always written my blog posts in English! At some point I realised that if I wanted to land a job in digital marketing I’d have to be able to write properly in my second language. Marketing jobs normally include some sort of copywriting, editing and proofreading responsibilities. So I used my blog as a space where I could practise writing in English. In my current job I write copy for websites and social media channels, something I thought would never be possible!

When you spend so much time writing and speaking in another language you come across so many words that sound odd or funny or just beautiful. I guess for native speakers they’re just normal words but if English is not your first language your relationship to them is different. So here is a list of my current favourite English words!

If you’re unwilling to change your mind and you insist on something, you’re adamant. I really like that the word ‘diamond’ comes across when you say it and a diamond is an unbreakable material, so it makes total sense!

This is such a British thing to say. People use it as an expression of surprise or excitement, for example ‘Blimey, you got here quickly’.

I know they are actually three words but they all belong to the same family for me. I just love flower-themed words, especially when you can use them figuratively as well. Both plants and people can blossom, thrive and wither in the English language!

That’s absolutely bonkers! Someone might say that to you if you’re about to do something crazy or completely irrational.

A different word for small talk. Something British people are very good at!

That’s such a good one, I think. When someone makes you feel cringe you feel embarrassed on behalf of them. There is a really good German word for that too: ‘fremdschämen’.

Now this word has just been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. There is no better way to explain grumpiness because of missing food intake.

Another food-related word. It means that you’re slightly hungry but it sounds so much better than hungry.

My pregnancy app told me the other day that my baby is still able to do somersaults in my belly and I just think that’s so cute! I also really like the sound of this word.

When you’re a writer you come across this word quite often. It’s important to write tangibly to trigger people’s imagination. So instead of writing ‘I had breakfast this morning’ you should write ‘I had coffee and a croissant this morning’ because it creates an image in people’s heads and they’re more likely to read on.

What are your favourite English words? Feel free to leave a comment, I’m always keen to learn new expressions!

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  • Kathryn

    Hi. I am pleased that you are enjoying being in the UK. It is strange to see how others see us! I really enjoyed your viewpoint and explanations. I like :the list of words you have chosen, and I agree they all have plus points. Have you tried ‘sussuration’, which means a breathy, whispery sound. It encompasses sounds such as autumn leaves blowing in a breeze, or gentle waves reaching the beach. If you say the word slowly it sounds exactly like the noise it is describing. This is known as ‘onomatopoeia’. Another example of this is ‘cuckoo’. I hope you continue to enjoy your time here.

    • lena

      Thanks so much for this explanation, Kathryn! ‘Sussuration’ sounds brilliant. 🙂 I no longer live in the UK actually. I live in Germany now but I continue to travel to the UK as I find this country so fascinating.

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