Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Word of the Week: Sole

Sole {sō - lay}
ij. 1. Term used when addressing or calling a boy (or a man). ~!: Son! Boy! Laddie! (there is no exact equivalent for this usage in English). 2. Exclamation to show astonishment.

Can you use it in a sentence?
Sole, where's my car?

We were first introduced to sole in training. The given definition was boy or guy or young man. But that definition didn't work in an English translation. It is rare to hear someone yell out in English, "Guy, come over here." Or "Young man, where are you going?" Unless of course the speaker was some sort of elderly British man I suppose.

Anyway, the closest American English equivalent I can come up with is dude. "Dude, come over here." "Dude, where are you going?" They all work. However, then I run into trouble with who does and doesn't use dude in the States. It would be very unlikely to hear an old man use dude in the States, but people of all ages use sole here. You would never hear a parent call a child with dude in the States, but sole works here. So dude really isn't the best equivalent.

The best I can do is say that it appears to be appropriate to call any young man or boy sole as if it were their name. However, I wouldn't recommend calling anyone more mature sole, unless you want some trouble or are much older than they are.

— Sara

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