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Off-Topic, Bizarre, Jokes & Games Discuss Awesomely untranslatable words from around the world at the General Discussion; Schadenfreude German – Quite famous for its meaning that somehow other languages neglected to recognize, this refers to the feeling ...

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Old 08-01-2011, 01:54 AM
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Default Awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

Schadenfreude

German – Quite famous for its meaning that somehow other languages neglected to recognize, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune.


Wabi-Sabi


Japanese – Much has been written on this Japanese concept, but in a sentence, one might be able to understand it as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.”

(I think I have a neighbor who should know this one) :

Tingo

Pascuense (Easter Island) – Hopefully this isn’t a word you’d need often: “the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.”


Hyggelig

Danish – Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire.

L’appel du vide


French – “The call of the void” is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.

Duende

Spanish –referring to “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.”

Saudade

Portuguese – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.”

Jayus

Indonesian – “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh”

Iktsuarpok

Inuit – “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.”

Litost

Czech – a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

Cafuné

Brazilian Portuguese – “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.”


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Old 08-01-2011, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: Awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

May I add:

doch - German - it negates a negative question - it has no English translation.

Example:

Didn't you go to the store today?

Doch!

That means yes, I did go to the store today.

Answering that question "yes" or "no" in English is ambiguous - neither word really works. Answering "yes" may mean "yes I did" or "yes I didn't"...answering "no" may mean "no I did" or "no I didn't".

Answering that question either "ja" or "nein" in German means "no, I didn't". "Doch" means "yes, I did".

English needs a word for "doch"!
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:06 AM
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Default Re: Awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

I always wanted to buy a race horse and name him something impossible to pronounce to freak out the announcer...

"And down the stretch comes Freugelimskigloopenager!!!!"
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: Awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

There's a Russia word "nekultrny" (????) that means uncultured, ignorant, lacking in social ability to the point of rudeness.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:19 PM
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Default Re: Awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

Quote:
Originally Posted by faithful_servant View Post
There's a Russia word "nekultrny" (????) that means uncultured, ignorant, lacking in social ability to the point of rudeness.
It's pronounced "Palestinian"...
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