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Better Than English: Untranslatable Words

Better Than English: Untranslatable Words
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The Awful German Language by Mark Twain A little learning makes the whole world kin. -- Proverbs xxxii, 7. I went often to look at the collection of curiosities in Heidelberg Castle, and one day I surprised the keeper of it with my German. If he had known what it had cost me to acquire my art, he would also have known that it would break any collector to buy it. Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and elusive to the grasp. N. There are ten parts of speech, and they are all troublesome. Yet even the German books are not entirely free from attacks of the Parenthesis distemper -- though they are usually so mild as to cover only a few lines, and therefore when you at last get down to the verb it carries some meaning to your mind because you are able to remember a good deal of what has gone before. "But when he, upon the street, the (in-satin-and-silk-covered-now-very-unconstrained-after-the-newest-fashioned-dressed) government counselor's wife met," etc., etc. [1]

28 Genius Depictions Of Words With No Direct English Translation They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But in this case, each image is worth just one. Designer Anjana Iyer seeks to explain untranslatable words from non-English languages, with the help of a some quirky imagery. The New Zealand-based artist's series of illustrations, each of which is accompanied by a short explainer, effectively translates words that cannot be directly anglicized. The series, "Found In Translation," draws from a variety of languages including Greek, Korean and Tshiluba (which is spoken in Democratic Republic of the Congo). Iyer began the series as part of the 100 Days Project, a web-based creative exercise out of New Zealand which asks artists to choose an activity and repeat it every day for the next 100 days. See a sample of Iyer's illustrations of untranslatable words, below. Anjana Iyer Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan)

Why does fall/autumn have 2 names? Ambivalence over the name of the third season of the year reflects its status as a relatively new concept. As natural as it seems today, people haven't always thought of the year in terms of four seasons. Fifteen hundred years ago, the Anglo-Saxons marked the passage of time with just one season: winter, a concept considered equivalent to hardship or adversity that metaphorically represented the year in its entirety. According to "Folk Taxonomies in Early English" (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003) by Earl R. Summer is also a time-honored concept, though perhaps never quite as weighty a one as winter, and this is evidenced by greater ambivalence over its name. Incidentally, Chinese culture also had a two-season framework, but there, the major seasonal polarity was autumn (symbolizing adversity) and spring (symbolizing regeneration), with little importance given to the extremes of summer and winter. Related on Life's Little Mysteries:

Words that have no equivalent in English Schadenfreude — a feeling not unknown to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard right now. Source: Supplied But what about the perfect word for those other times you need to sum up a complex feeling? These excellent words listed below have no English equivalent. It’s just a small smattering of what’s out there, and some have even been turned into artwork by New Zealand artist Anjana Iyer. Treppenwitz — The perfect word to describe the feeling when you think of the perfect comeback to an insult about three hours too late. Backpfeifengesicht — Punchable is probably the best English equivalent for this excellent German word that means “a face that should be slapped”. Komorebi — A Japanese word for the effect of dappled sunlight shining through trees. The Komorebi effect. Prozvonit — A Czech word used to describe giving someone a quick missed call so they phone you back and pay the bill for it. There’s a word for those times you’re given a missed call to avoid a bill.

Should We Care About Grammar and Spelling on Twitter? | Media on GOOD Many people assume I am a guardian of grammar. The typical plane-ride conversation goes like this: “What do you do?”” “I am an English professor” “Oh! Their worries are unfounded. Nothing elicits comments like a story on grammar (are you composing your response to me right now? Language is a means to communication. All grammatical rules are like the one against split infinitives: They are all manmade. What interests me about grammatical and other “mistakes” on Twitter is what they signal about our changing culture—a thread of inquiry entirely absent in the Times article. Cusack’s misspelling indicates an out-moded keyboard layout, not a reigning illiteracy. We are living in a moment of seismic linguistic change, and attention should be paid—but not to errors.

12 Wonderfully Quirky Words with No English Equivalent In They Have A Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases, Howard Rheingold describes many words from other languages that express things English can’t—at least not succinctly. Here are just a few of our favorites. 1. Treppenwitz We often think of the perfect comeback long after the opportunity for that comeback has presented itself. 2. This Indonesian word indicates “a phrase uttered in order to gain extra strength when carry heavy objects,” and is meant for a person who is lifting solo. 3. According to Rheingold, this is a Russian noun that describes “the feeling a person has for someone he or she once loved but now does not.” 4. A Japanese noun that refers to “an awareness of the universe that triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words.” 5. This German adjective means "flustered to the point of incompetence." 6. Italians use this phrase—which literally translates to “reheated cabbage”—to describe an “attempt to revive an old relationship.” 7. 8. 9.

Filler (linguistics) In linguistics, a filler is a sound or word that is spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he/she has paused to think but has not yet finished speaking.[1] These are not to be confused with placeholder names, such as thingamajig, which refer to objects or people whose names are temporarily forgotten, irrelevant, or unknown. Different languages have different characteristic filler sounds; in English, the most common filler sounds are uh /ʌ/, er /ɜː/ and um /ʌm/.[2] Among youths, the fillers "like", "y'know", "I mean", "so", "actually", "literally", "basically", "right", "I'm tellin' ya" and "you know what I mean?" are among the more prevalent. Ronald Reagan was famous for answering questions starting with "Well...". The term filler has a separate use in the syntactic description of wh-movement constructions. Among language learners, a common pitfall is using fillers from their native tongue. I don't care [how many angels] she told you she saw.

38 Wonderful Foreign Words We Could Use in English Sometimes we must turn to other languages to find le mot juste. Here are a whole bunch of foreign words with no direct English equivalent. 1. Kummerspeck (German) Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37 & 38. Lexicon Valley on the common perception that some languages are spoken faster than others Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode #18: The Rate of Exchange. We’ve all known people who are deliberate, even plodding, talkers, taking their time with seemingly every word. And then there are those who spit out their sentences with barely a breath in between. Such variation among individuals is understandable (and at times even cultural), but what about among languages themselves? In other words, is Spanish in general spoken faster than English? Is English faster than Chinese? You can also read the transcript of this episode below. You'll find every Lexicon Valley episode at, or in the player below: Send your thoughts about the show to BOB: From Washington D.C. this is Lexicon Valley, a podcast about language. MIKE: Hey Bob. BOB: Splendid, thank you. MIKE: I'm good. BOB: Can't think of a thing. MIKE: I wanna read first a recent review on iTunes from DrewInTN. MIKE: Right, and I wanna say one more thing about that show. BOB: Yes.

Wordstuck The Phrontistery: Obscure Words and Vocabulary Resources Top 10 tips to learn a language by John-Erik Jordan Matthew Youlden speaks nine languages fluently and understands more than a dozen more. We work in the same office in Berlin, so I constantly hear him using his skills, switching from language to language like a chameleon changing colors. In fact, for the longest time I didn’t even know he was British. When I told Matthew how I’ve been struggling to merely pick up a second language, he had the following advice for me. This might sound obvious, but if you don’t have a good reason to learn a language, you are less likely to stay motivated over the long-run. “OK, I want to learn this and I’m therefore going to do as much as I can in this language, with this language and for this language.” So you’ve made the pledge. “I tend to want to absorb as much as possible right from the start. Remember, the best possible outcome of speaking a language is for people to speak back to you. “We were very motivated, and we still are. “You’re learning a language to be able to use it.

shorthand "Groote" The Dutch shorthand system "Groote" was introduced in 1899 by A.W. Groote, aide to a Dutch general. Apparently he needed a system that he could use to take down the general's words while riding a horse! Simplify characters At the age of six I learned the v like this: It is not really complicated, but whoever invented the romantic pig tail at the end, did not have writing speed in mind. The k I found particularly difficult to master, especially with pen and ink, and being lefthanded. In shorthand I could have done those excercises must faster. While the ordinary v and k are very different, in shorthand they look much more the same. Write phonetically In Groote shorthand we write words phonetically. Write in one long stroke In Groote, each word is written without taking the pen from the paper. Use abbreviations For many often used words there are abbreviations. Leave out characters There are several generic rules on when to leave out characters. Here is a list of the Dutch rules. Example The signs

Devanagari Origins[edit] Devanagari is part of the Brahmic family of scripts of Nepal, India, Tibet, and South-East Asia.[4] It is a descendant of the Gupta script, along with Siddham and Sharada.[4] Eastern variants of Gupta called nāgarī are first attested from the 7th century CE; from c. 1200 CE these gradually replaced Siddham, which survived as a vehicle for Tantric Buddhism in East Asia, and Sharada, which remained in parallel use in Kashmir. An early version of Devanagari is visible in the Kutila inscription of Bareilly dated to Vikram Samvat 1049 (i.e. 992 CE), which demonstrates the emergence of the horizontal bar to group letters belonging to a word.[1] nāgarī is the Sanskrit feminine of nāgara "relating or belonging to a town or city". It is feminine from its original phrasing with lipi ("script") as nāgarī lipi "script relating to a city", that is, probably from its having originated in some city.[5] Devanagari text from Vayu Puran Principle[edit] Letters[edit] Vowels[edit] Consonants[edit]