2. Lefty Language
We are often contacted by Members about words and phrases related to being left-handed in their language. It seems to have always been the case that any word that is used to mean "left-handed" has also come to mean something bad as well. From the Latin "sinister" to the French "gauche" and many more, it seems every country has its own lingual abuse for lefthanders!
What did we ever do to deserve all this?
We have gone through all the emails and web site comments and updated our web page about lefty language recently and you can see some of the more "interesting" (!) ones below. If you have any other examples or know more about those shown on the web page please let us know.
- The left hand in Hindi is called "Ulta Haanth", which literally translates to the opposite, wrong, bad hand. So much has this permeated that most lefties don't realise what they're saying, and wind up using the phrase themselves
- Hungarian language is quite straightforward:1
Right - "Jobb" (also a synonym for better) comes from the word "Jo" which means good
Left - "Bal" (aslo a synonym for bad, or used grammatically negative meaning to positive word, for example:
Balszerencse - "Left" Luck = disaster
Baleset - "Left" event = accident
etc....you get the point
- Portuguese "Canhoto" is a popular name for the Devil here in Portugal and there are many superstitions and even popular festivities in which Canhoto appears as the Devil himself, in rituals such as "queimar o Canhoto" ("burning the Canhoto"), in some regions, a kind of Halloween.
For lots more like this and other interesting lefty language information
Click here to see our web page on left handed language
Now we are going to start a search for positive references to left-handedness in language! A quick search in Google brings up things like:
- Left-handed materials have a positive refractive index (not really what we meant!)
- The only positive use of "left" I know of is that "aristocrat" has the Greek word for "left" in its root, but then Greece was the birthplace of democracy – they may not have meant "aristocrat" to be complimentary either.
There must be more - please let us know what you can find.