Somebody told me today that Malayalam -- the official language of Kerala, India, and a language spoken by 35 million people world-wide -- is the world's longest palindrome.
It isn't quite; it's one of a few that are the same length in English, and a Finnish word for soapstone dealer is officially the longest.
But never mind. Malayalam is spoken by over 773,000 people in the UAE, a country of only 5 million residents.
And I'm thinking about this because I learned the Malayalam word for saunf, a Hindi and Urdu word for fennel . In Malayalam it is called peruncheeragam. In Tamil it is shombu.
In English, it's called: sugar-coated-fennel-seeds-they-give-you-after-dinner-at-an-Indian-restaurant-that-taste-like-Good-n-Plenty.
This is all part of my quest to have some of the delicacies of Indian food in my home so I don't have to wait to go out to eat. I learned all these words so that I can go to the grocery store and, if I can't find what I want, I now know three different words in four languages that someone at the supermarket might understand.