“To unlock a society, look at its untranslatable words.” –Salman Rushdie.
Do you have a friend who’s a bit of an Extrawurst (someone who slows things down by being fussy)? Perhaps you suffer from Tsundoku (leaving a book unread) because of your neighbor’s Tingo (gradually stealing possessions and not returning them). Even though we English-speaking millennials call it something along the lines of, “What am I doing with my life?!” we certainly all know what it’s like to feel Torschlusspanik (the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages).
Untranslatable words—that is to say, foreign words that do not have a singular English counterpart—are perhaps so intriguing to us because they not only give us a glimpse into the mind of another culture, but also because they suggest a broader spectrum of human emotions than we usually articulate or communicate to others. So go ahead and peruse this collection of 50 untranslatable words from around the world, discover new words, and perhaps a new way of thinking.
Created by Morningside Translations
Which of these words is your favorite? Tweet us @LitDarling!
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