Did you know Zulu has a word for "annoying three-foot-long one-note plastic trumpet"? Isn't that fascinating?
No. Of course it isn't fascinating. It's a wonderful example of why I tend to think the issue of what things different languages have words for (especially, have nouns for) is stupid and trivial.
Turn on your TV right now to whichever sports channel is showing the England's soccer game against the USA in the World Cup in South Africa. Turn the sound up. Why does it sound as if several dozen propeller-drived airplanes have started up their engines in the stadium? Has someone dropped one of the commentator's mikes into a huge beehive? No. It's just that South Africans love to bring annoying three-foot-long one-note plastic trumpets to every game and blow them continuously. (They all seem to be tuned roughly to A below middle C.)
Because they use these things, Zulu has a word for them (and other languages like Setswana do too, but the Zulu one happened to catch on). And because the World Cup is being played in South Africa and the move to have these things banned failed, English has borrowed the word: vuvuzela (Mark introduced the topic and the word in this Language Log post a year ago). It's not a fascinating fact that English has this work now, it's trivial and obvious, like every other factoid about things people have nouns for.
I don't really follow sport; but tonight my friend Dan Everett has mailed me from the States to say he is watching to see the Americans give the English a damn good thrashing; and I'm down in Kent, in southern England, where the streets are full of England's red-on-white St George's Cross flag and my dad has turned the TV on and England scored a goal within three and a half minutes of kickoff (weep, Dan!), and we'll probably watch the rest of it. With the damn vuvuzelas buzzing and whining in our ears continuously.
So yes, English has a Zulu-originated word meaning "annoying three-foot-long one-note plastic trumpet" now. Who cares. What things have been named by nouns so far is utterly uninteresting. Even whether the Americans will thrash the English, delighting both Dan Everett and the people of my home in Scotland (where the slogan is "Anyone but the English"), is more interesting than that.
—Hey, the Americans have just scored. It's one-all. And an England striker seems to have been injured. This is getting a lot more interesting than random loan words.