cycling, bicycle

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Holger2014, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. Holger2014 Senior Member

    A flat bicycle tyre (when you're in a hurry) can be quite inspiring - this morning, it made me think of starting a new thread entitled 'abusive bicycle-related terms' but, reconsidered, decided to ask a more general question:

    What terms do you use in your language (or any other language you're familiar with) for 'bicycle' and 'cycling'?

    The issue of 'wheel - vehicle' has already been discussed here but bicycles may have deserved their own thread, as many languages seem to have a large number of expressions - official ones, colloquial ones, ...

    German nouns:
    - Fahrrad* - 'ride_wheel', the official term found in dictionaries
    - Rad - 'wheel', a shortened version, more colloquial
    - Radl - 'wheel' + diminuive suffix, the Bavarian and Austrian version
    - Velo - similar to French vélo (obviously), mainly used in Switzerland
    - Drahtesel - 'thread_donkey', a (friendly) colloquial term
    - Fahrrad... - as first part of a compound, can be combined with other words to describe bicycle-related terms
    - ...fahrrad - as second part of a compound, can be combined with other words to describe the bicycle in more detail...

    - Fahrrad fahren* - 'to ride_wheel ride', the official term
    - radeln ~ 'to wheel', a shortened version (-el- is not a diminutive suffix here)

    * fahren can usually be translated as 'to ride' (a vehicle) or 'to drive' (a car) --> This is an interesting thread -->
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  2. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    That might confuse people. "Drive" is rather "antreiben" than "fahren", so a "drive wheel" would be understood as "Antriebsrad".
  3. Holger2014 Senior Member

    :idea: Thanks! I'll change that...
  4. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    In Japanese, I know only two words standing for bicycle.

    1.自転車jitensha (ji=auto, ten=to revolve, sha=wheel, car) literal meaning: auto-revolving wheels, it is the official term we used to say.
    2.チャリchari (I suppose it originates from an onomatopoeia charincharin(the sound of bicycle's bell) it is more colloquial than the other.

    We don't have single-word verbs for "ride a bike" but have a verb used with a bicycle as object.

    *parenthesis means bicycle(object).
    1.(自転車に)乗るjitensha ni/ noru = to ride, to get on (lit. ride a bike) It's the most common way to say "ride a bike".
    2.(自転車を)漕ぐjitensha o/ kogu = to row (lit. row a bike) When you pedal a bike, rapidly at times, to go to the destination, you can say this way. (noru only means to get on a bike, not the action of pedaling a bike)
    3.(自転車を)走らすjitensha o/ hashirasu = to have run (lit. have a bike run) It's less common.
    4.(自転車を)飛ばすjitensha o/ tobasu = to blow over (lit. blow over a bike) It's a bit vulgar expression and implies that you are pedaling a bike at high speed.
  5. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    Bicycle: «Ποδήλατο» [poˈðilato] (neut.), modern construction (1845), a compound; compound stem «ποδ-» pŏd-, of Classical masc. noun «πούς» poús --> foot (PIE *pṓds, foot cf Skt. पद् (pád), Hitt. pata, Lat. pēs > It. piede, Sp. pie, Por. pé, Fr. pied, Rom. piez) + compound stem «ἐλατ-» ĕlat-, of Classical v. «ἐλαύνω» ĕlaúnō --> to drive, push, forge (metal), ride (intrans.) (PIE *h₁elh₂-, to drive, move cf Arm գնալ (gnal), to go up).

    Cycling: «Ποδηλασία» [poðilaˈsi.a] (fem.).

    Bicyclist: «Ποδηλάτης, -λάτρια» [poðiˈlatis] (masc.), [poðiˈlatri.a] (fem.).

    To ride a bicycle: «Ποδηλατώ» [poðilaˈto] (verb).

    Can't think of any other word/term for bicycle/bicyclist, not even in slang language, other than the formal one, sorry (I don't think we have any).
  6. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)

    kerékpár [1883] -- the standard word -- [< kerék (wheel) + pár (pair)]
    bicikli [1891] -- more informal
    bicaj [1932] -- informal, colloquial
    bringa [1924] -- etymology unclear [not from the German "bringen"]
    vasparipa -- informal old-fashioned [<fas (iron) + paripa (steed, poetical word for horse) - German: Eisenross - there are some hits on the Net :confused: - the owner might be Hungarian or did older German know that word?]
  7. Holger2014 Senior Member

    810senior, apmoy70 and Encolpius, thanks for your replies!
    Thanks for providing these literal translations - somehow, the expression 'to row a bike' makes sense...

    自ji + 転ten reminds me of 'auto [~self] + mobile [~ moving]' (German Automobil, normally abbreviated to Auto), meaning 'car', though...

    It's a pity that we (generally) don't often use onomatopoetic words in German - チャリchari sounds much better than Fahrrad :)

    I used to think バイクbaiku was a colloquial term for bicycle as well, but it only means motorbike, doesn't it?
    The etymology of words is always interesting, thanks for providing all this information (in other posts as well). In this case, the relationship with 'foot' (and, of course, 'pedal') is quite obvious but in other cases it's often surprising to see how words with the same stem have changed their shape in different languages, sometimes beyond recognition...

    Eisenross 'rings a bell'... An expression used more frequently is Stahlross (~ 'steel horse'). The word Stahlross is often associated with old, heavy, completely unfashionable but absolutely reliable bicycles...
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  8. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    That's why I love Japanese language. Japanese has much onomatopoetic vocabulary that can serve as adverbs, adjectives, nouns, at times interjections! (I think it might be very uncommon in western languages)
    (But don't let yourself down. We, Japanese speakers, admire the German language because of its virile and powerful pronunciation.)

    バイク entirely means motorbike not bicycle and is commonly used not only in a colloquial way. (I can't come to mind the colloquial word for バイク...)
  9. Holger2014 Senior Member

    Thanks for all these explanations and comments!
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015

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