Lagniappes and other wonderful things

12 01 2012

Every once and awhile, a lovely word drops into my life and makes it infinitely richer. I love language. I’ve been grooving on Schadenfreude and other Germanic terms for yonks now and I feel in need of a change. And today, it dropped into my life through a read review on Goodreads.

Lagniappes. To give a little extra. A gift. The thirteenth muffin in a Baker’s Dozen. (Strangely it is a Friday the 13th tomorrow but I like Friday the 13ths as my daughter was born that day and it was truly one of the happiest days of my life).

I love this term. I think it resonates for me because my life is full of these things. The little extra joy. I’ve been oddly blessed with them, from strange fellow bus riders to the feel of my son’s shoulders shaking as we both smothered laughs at the theatre to the red leaf spotted on a yet-green maple to the sound of water rushing down my ravine at night when all is silent. I try to pass them on, a kind word here, a touch there, but I’m of course not as good at it as I should be.  Perhaps I should get “yapay” as my tattoo…?

Sending thanks to those who have sent me these little gifts, in all your ways. They mean so much.

And goshens, I’ve got to study Creole. Or get back to Spanish. Richness abounds.

Regional Note: Lagniappe derives from New World Spanish la ñapa, “the gift,” and ultimately from Quechua yapay, “to give more.” The word came into the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans and there acquired a French spelling. It is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean “an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.”

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lagniappes

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