Folium: Useful Words With No English Equivalent via BoingBoing

Shemomedjamo - "I accidentally ate the whole thing."

Shemomedjamo – “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”

Shemomedjamo – “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”
Folium: Useful Words With No English Equivalent via BoingBoing

Mark Twain often wrote of his distaste of the German language, how new nouns could be formed by smashing them all together, or worse, by smashing a load of functions or meanings together to create something totally incomprehensible.

While English, similar to Germanic languages in some regards, is known for its near-unlimited adaptability, there are still cases where we just don’t have a word to describe something.

“10. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)”

“This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.” – BoingBoing

It happens to me all of the time, there are times where English comes up short and I resort to Spanish or French in order to get the job done.

How about the word “ganas” in (Mexican) Spanish. “Ganas” being a metaphysical drive or motivation to complete a task. I hear it all the time, “No tengo las ganas.” Sure, there are many ways of saying that I don’t want to do something. However, they all lack a certain quality that only the word “ganas” can supply.

This is one of the beautiful advantages to knowing multiple languages. You’ll always have something to say!

Have you ever run into a situation in English where you’re at a loss for words?

What are some other creative expressions that you know in other languages, that just don’t work in English?

Resources:


Creative Commons LicenseThe LEAF Project
www.leaflanguages.org
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0