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Word for the Wise October 23, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Goulash and paprika

The people of Hungary celebrate today as a Day of Remembrance for their 1956 uprising against Soviet domination; they also mark the anniversary of their country's declaration of independence from the USSR on this date in 1989. (来源:EnglishCN.com)

The version of socialism practiced in the years between the uprising and the establishment of Hungary seventeen years ago was known as Goulash Communism. Goulash Communism was characterized by compromise and negotiation, a gentling of the centrally planned economic structure of communism.

Goulash — a shortened form of a word that translates from Hungarian as "herdsman's meat" — is "a stew made with meat (as beef), assorted vegetables, and paprika." Without a doubt, the "mixture" meaning associated with the tasty Hungarian goulash helped goulash develop another sense used at the table: "a round in bridge played with hands produced by a redistribution of previously dealt cards."

Goulash also enjoys a third sense, that of "a mixture of heterogeneous elements; a jumble."

We'll close with a look at paprika, the spice of goulash, and, some believe, of Hungary. While paprika did enter English from Hungarian, that word entered Hungarian from Serbian, and Serbian picked up paprika from the Greek word for "pepper." Paprika names the usually mild red condiment of dried finely ground pods of various cultivated sweet peppers: varieties include Spanish, Hungarian, and King's (Hungarian paprika made from whole peppers including seeds and stalks).

 
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