Over the years, I have noticed each language has a word whose closest English equivalent is “compound”. Brian Barabe suggested the more descriptive “assembly area.” One year ago I wrote this in this blog:
I just spotted a word I know in Kweyol: lakou. In Russian, dvor describes it. In Spanish, maybe patio. It is the center of a family compound. Since so many cultures arrange the dwellings where people of a particular social group cluster, like a family or other kin group or work group, around a central place, like the Cuban solar, I thought it would be fun to have people send in to my blog words in their languages for such a place. Probably courtyard works best for English. Brian informs me that ‘solar’ in that sense is common throughout the Hispanophone world.
Here is one definition of compound:
“Compound when applied to a human habitat refers to a cluster of buildings in an enclosure, having a shared or associated purpose, such as the houses of an extended family (e.g. the Kennedy Compound for the Kennedy family).” (Wikipedia)
One can sometimes find that this word has a special definition in a language when referring to a compound, e.g. in Spanish the word “solar” refers to the cluster of slave huts and the term evokes many aspects of the Afro-Cuban culture. The word in Russian is dvor, similar to the Latin area, the place where the household gathers for instructions, work orders, announcements, punishments, etc. I just read that in Jamaican English……..
“Since the 1960s in Jamaica, iconic figures such as Bob Marley have gathered in backyards to write reggae anthems that conquered world charts. The yard remains a cornerstone in Jamaican culture. Musicians withdraw from the violence of the city to create and play songs in their yards. In Jamaican patois, “mi yard” means “my home,” and many songs, proverbs and colloquialisms hinge on the word “yard.” More even than the music itself, the yard evokes a state of mind and a physical space wherein artists create amid the warmth of acoustic sound, raw emotion of voices and a collective energy. In this program, we move yard to yard in Jamaica, listening to acoustic music being written and recorded, smelling trees and flowers, and meeting legendary artists like Ken Boothe, Winston McAnuff, Cedric Myton of the Congos, Kiddus I, Robbie Lyn, Viceroys, or Nambo Robinson, as well as a number of young and emerging reggae artists like JAH9, Var, and Derajah, who grew up and found their artistic voices in ghetto yards. You’ve never heard Jamaica sound like this before!” (from Afro-Pop Word Wide April 28, 2017)
This is far more than one would expect from a dictionary definition. It certainly contrasts with the alienating separateness of suburban living in the U.S. beginning in the 1950s.
In Haitian Creole, Kweyol, the word lakou fills this slot. What about other languages?