The Endeavour between Untranslatables


I find language & the written arts; the world of the written concept powerful & fascinating & relationships often feature as a hot topic in story telling. Relationships can be marvelous, fun, mediocre, barely fathomable & even sometimes indescribably undefinable. 

Now, have you noticed how some individual words in one language don’t exist in another?

& have you noticed before that a full blown & detailed concept that takes 10 words in one language is captured as one little word in another? Seems unjust somehow! Seems unjust nearly that any word could capture the beauty of anything, let alone a relationship. It’s a word, not the thing.

But thats the work & love & endeavor of a writer. One of the coolest jobs ever.

Take a look at these peculiarities; words that aren’t translatable into English & 6 others captured perfectly by Pamela Haag on the Big Think.

1. Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.

2. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.

3. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.

4. Forelsket: (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.

See, it’s the precision of these words that make them so hard to translate.



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