via Daily Prompt: Chuckle

Languages are funny, both funny “ha, ha” and funny strange. They are funny in the way they always, sometimes, never allow us to express how we feel. They are funny in the way they facilitate both high and highly offensive discourse. They are funny in the way they let us express the idiotic and idiomatic.

Makes me chuckle.

For instance, what do “die,” “burst,” and “fall down” have in common? Violence? Aggression? Combustión? No, sir. They are all expressions associated with laughter. The words “roar,” “shriek” and “howl” surely denote demons and dread, right? Nope, they are ways to describe laughter. It’s funny that words we so often associate with negative emotions and experience can combine to express how and how much we laugh.

Makes me chuckle.

When we open the inquiry up to other languages, say Spanish, the laughs keep coming. “Risa [laughter]” is such a funny little word it itself. (Just make sure you get your “ere” right.) Even more mirthful is “risita [little laughter, i.e. chuckle]”. Among my favorite expressions is “reírse a carcajadas,” both for balance of vowel and consonant sounds and the onomatopoeia of “ja-ja-ja.” The “j” sound is funny in the way it pronounced so differently around the Spanish-speaking world, from the throaty way Spaniards sat it to the barely-there Carribean countries say it.

Makes me chuckle.

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