As a result of the fragmentation and splitting of the human race, every culture has an unique experience that nobody can understand unless they are part of that culture. This is why there are words in other languages that take a full sentence in English to convey the same meaning. Here are 11 of the hardest words to translate:
- Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan)
- ???? (Kyoiku mama) (Japanese)
- Tartle (Scottish)
- Ilunga (Bantu)
- Schadenfreude (German)
- Tingo (Pascuense)
- Hyggelig (Danish)
- L’appel du vide (French)
- Papakata (Maori)
- Sigurista (Tagalog)
- Vovohe Tahtsenaotse (Cheyenne)
A look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something that they both desire but which neither wants to begin. This word is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as most succint word.
A mother who endlessly pushes her children to study, even at the cost of emotional or physical health. Maybe Tiger Mom is the English word for this?
Pausing while introducing someone because you can’t remember his name.
A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time. We don’t have an equivalent expression in English because we don’t think about such a person.
Deriving pleasure from another person’s misfortune. On the other hand, this type of person is easy to imagine, but nobody bothered to come up with a word for it.
To borrow objects from a friend’s house, one by one, until there’s nothing left. I wonder if they need to use this word a lot?
Dictionaries give the definiftion as ‘coziness’, but native speakers say it means much more. “It’s a matter of mentality,” one speaker said. “You can’t really give it an English equivalent because the English, or you Americans, don’t have the same mentality.” See here for a more detailed look: http://www.hackwriters.com/Denmark.htm
The unexplainable desire to jump off the edge when you are on a cliff. We all get that feeling to do crazy things, so I’m glad there’s a word for it!
To have legs of different lengths.
Someone who frets that not everything will go the right way. This person will not do something unless he is certain the desired outcome will be achieved. Somewhat similar to a perfectionist, but not quite.
To prepare the mouth before speaking by moving or licking one’s lips. This is an useful word, I wish we had one similar in English. Come to think of it, we also need a word for licking our lips at the thought of dinner…