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Words in Your Language that don't exist in English - Page 3 - UniLang

Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby Psi-Lord » 2013-11-07, 9:47

I find it curious when English apparently lacks a term for something, but then I find out some varieties of English actually do have a name for it. Portuguese dictionaries, for instance, will usually tell you that there’s no English equivalent for  (pt) goiabada (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goiabada), but I remember how surprised I was when an Indian friend, upon our discussing it, just said, ‘Why, but that’s guava cheese!’, and such a name even appears in that Wikipedia article.
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby Car » 2013-11-07, 10:51

LLover33 wrote:Car can you give examples in Norwegian? I'm curious.


It's been some years since I've last used any Norwegian, so I don't remember too much, but I meant words like "jo".
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby linguoboy » 2013-11-07, 14:47

mōdgethanc wrote:Ausnahmezustand "state of emergency;' 'new normal'"

The genius of the German term is that combines both meanings into one (thanks to Walter Benjamin).
beziehungsweise"respectively; i.e., that is"

Still can't cover all the cases it can be used in German.
Fresspause "meal break; 'paused to eat'"

"Meal break" sounds like either a break to take a meal or a break in a meal. Neither reflects the actual meaning of Fresspause which is "a lull in the conversation because everyone's chowing down".
Sitzfleisch "endurance, perseverance"

That's the extended sense. I'm using it in the literal sense of "ability to sit still for an extended period of time".
(eierlegende) Wollmilchsau "jack of all trades; miracle cure"

"Silver bullet" comes the closest, but that can't be freely applied to people.
Vergangenheitsbewältigung "reconciliation"

So not accurate!
monter le beurre "add the butter"

Some sauces begin with the addition of butter (if you're making a roux, for instance). This expression makes it clear that you're finishing the sauce with an extra pat of butter in order to give it the proper sheen. If I say, "Don't forget to add the butter!" you might think, I'm making a white sauce, of course I won't forget the butter. But if I say, "Don't forget to monter le beurre!" you know I mean the little extra bit at the end.

mōdgethanc wrote:although that's a little awkward

Precisely the point of my examples. That's why I said there are no "snappy" English equivalents.
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-01-10, 17:45

Ladin has many words that I suppose are absent in most languages to indicate grass in its various forms and states, a bit like snow for Inuits (not even sure it's actually true). For example:

Grazin: grass that grows around the cowsheds
Rodela: grass distributed in a non uniform way on the meadow
Traina: mowned grass which has remained on the meadow
Luìz: grass difficult to mow
Losch: dry grass from the last year which remained on the meadow.

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby Marah » 2014-01-10, 17:56

IpseDixt wrote:a bit like snow for Inuits (not even sure it's actually true)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo_words_for_snow
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby L'Oscuro Cantastorie » 2014-01-13, 21:21

The two words that Italian has but I don't think English has that come to my mind right now are:

The verb Raccomandarsi :That is used in a non-explicit bossy way when you expect people to do something you asked them to. I think it's the most used expression by mothers, since they use it to remind you to do your homework, or drive slow, etc. You use it when you won't meet the person again before they do that one thing. I think you can replace this expression in English with a "Remember", but that is totally lacking of the implicit meanings the Italian expression has.
Ex: "Mi raccomando, lava tutti i piatti prima che torno!"
Roughly: "Remember to wash the dishes before i'll be back!"

Another "word" is Boh [bo:]: This is a funny sound (wouldn't really consider it "word") that is used to replace "I don't know." in informal speech. I find it funny because the more you are dubious about the topic, the longer you pronounce the "o".

As somebody said before I always find annoying the fact that english doesn't have a word for the term "Pretendere" and, as if it wasn't enough, they have a false friend with a totally different meaning.

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby linguoboy » 2014-01-13, 21:37

L'Oscuro Cantastorie wrote:Ex: "Mi raccomando, lava tutti i piatti prima che torno!"
Roughly: "Remember to wash the dishes before I come back!"

"Don't forget" might be more common in this context. Even more remonstrative is "You won't forget", particularly pronounced in a slightly menacing tone of voice.

L'Oscuro Cantastorie wrote:Another "word" is Boh [bo:]: This is a funny sound (wouldn't really consider it "word") that is used to replace "I don't know." in informal speech. I find it funny because the more you are dubious about the topic, the longer you pronounce the "o".

We actually have a similar sound, something like [bwʌː]. This also implies a certain amount of not caring as well.

In addition, "I dunno" gets worn down to the point where it is just an extended shwa with nasalisation and a pitch change. I don't even know how I would transcribe that.
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby L'Oscuro Cantastorie » 2014-01-13, 21:56

linguoboy wrote:"Don't forget" might be more common in this context. Even more remonstrative is "You won't forget", particularly pronounced in a slightly menacing tone of voice.


I see, but I always end up saying something like "And i recommend my sel... emh... mark my words!". I feel the need of a proper term for that.

linguoboy wrote:We actually have a similar sound, something like [bwʌː]. This also implies a certain amount of not caring as well.

In addition, "I dunno" gets worn down to the point where it is just an extended shwa with nasalisation and a pitch change. I don't even know how I would transcribe that.


I think i know what you're talking about, but it's not exactly what we mean with "boh". More precisely, it can mean that, too. It depends on how you pronounce it. The lengh, and the pitch of the "o" can change the meaning from a "I don't know, and I couldn't care less" to a "I'm really wondering what's the answer". It can be used in so many cases that you'd need an essay to cover them all!
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby languagepotato » 2014-01-13, 22:03

i thought that the dutch word neerslag was one of those words that don't exist in english, but apparently it's precipitation in english

i'm not sure whether these words don't exist in english or just don't exist in my english vocabulary yet:
 (ar-MA) tjërmël - to add the condiments and stuff like that to raw meat
bëqësh - to search intensively solely because of nosiness
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby linguoboy » 2014-01-13, 22:35

languagepotato wrote:i'm not sure whether these words don't exist in english or just don't exist in my english vocabulary yet:
 (ar-MA) tjërmël - to add the condiments and stuff like that to raw meat

"season"

languagepotato wrote:bëqësh - to search intensively solely because of nosiness

Trickier. There are several common terms for poking one's nose into things, but I can't think of any that connotes intensity.
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2014-01-13, 22:47

Maybe "pry"?
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby languagepotato » 2014-01-13, 23:10

linguoboy wrote:
languagepotato wrote:i'm not sure whether these words don't exist in english or just don't exist in my english vocabulary yet:
 (ar-MA) tjërmël - to add the condiments and stuff like that to raw meat

"season"


i thought you can season something both before and after cooking (so, not necessarily raw) whereas tjërmël refers to seasoning meat (or fish) before cooking.

linguoboy wrote:
languagepotato wrote:bëqësh - to search intensively solely because of nosiness

Trickier. There are several common terms for poking one's nose into things, but I can't think of any that connotes intensity.


just to clarify, the kind of searching here is actual physical searching, the same kind you do when you lost your left sock for example.
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-01-14, 0:05

languagepotato wrote:just to clarify, the kind of searching here is actual physical searching, the same kind you do when you lost your left sock for example.
"to snoop"?
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby ling » 2014-01-14, 3:42

Chinese:
學長 - literally "school elder" - a male student who is ahead of you in school years, though not necessarily in age. This appellation extends beyond graduation and into "real life". If you are, say, a sophomore (2nd-year student) in college, then male students who are a juniors (3rd-year student) and seniors (4th year student) are your 學長. You may refer to these people as 學長 for the rest of your life.

學姐 - literally "school older-sister" - same as above, but for females.
學弟 - literally "school younger-brother" - you can deduce the pattern now.
學妹 - literally "school younger-sister"

These terms are often dubiously translated as "seniors" and "juniors" by Chinese people, not aware that these two terms already mean something (at least in the US). The terms "upperclassman" and "underclassman" don't always work either, because these English terms are absolute with respect to school years, while the Chinese term is relative with respect to the cohort of the speaker.

In English, the "rank" distinction is simply not made, so in most cases it's not necessary to translate it, and instead you can use "classmate", "schoolmate", "fellow student", "friend" or "someone I went to school with".
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby johnklepac » 2014-01-18, 2:12

linguoboy wrote:In addition, "I dunno" gets worn down to the point where it is just an extended shwa with nasalisation and a pitch change. I don't even know how I would transcribe that.
I've seen it as "I'unno", preserving legibility while also giving a decent approximation of the sound for people familiar with the stereotypical French /n/.

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby Youngfun » 2014-01-24, 0:50

ling wrote:Chinese:
學長 - literally "school elder" - a male student who is ahead of you in school years, though not necessarily in age. This appellation extends beyond graduation and into "real life". If you are, say, a sophomore (2nd-year student) in college, then male students who are a juniors (3rd-year student) and seniors (4th year student) are your 學長. You may refer to these people as 學長 for the rest of your life.

Chinese female netizens made a joke: "All the handsome guys are 學長 and 學弟, while the ugly guys are simply '1st year guys', '2nd year guys', '3rd year guys', 4th year guys'...".

This joke is significant because 學長 doesn't mean simply "male student who is ahead of you in school years", but implies a relationship of friendship, admiration and mutual assistance.
In my college if someone ahead of us leaves us notes for the exams or shares us advices, we are happy to call them 學長 and 學弟。:)

Even if I know several students of different years than me, I don't call any of them 學長、學弟、學姐、學妹, etc.

Another Chinese term is 同學: while its basic meaning is "schoolmate", it can also used by other people (not necessarily schoolmates) to call the students, directly or indirectly.

Italian collega is different from English colleague: "colleague" means that it's someone who work at the same office/company, while "collega" can refer to any person doing the same job as you, even in other firms.

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-01-24, 1:53

hāozigǎnr wrote:Italian collega is different from English colleague: "colleague" means that it's someone who work at the same office/company, while "collega" can refer to any person doing the same job as you, even in other firms.
You could call that person "a fellow [profession]". I could say, "Me and my fellow students feel that college costs are too high." With a specific person or people, it also works to say they perform the same job as you: "This is John. He's a teacher, as well."
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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-01-24, 1:55

My dad used both of these Malayalam words in conversation with me today, and I'm not sure there are equivalents of either of these in English:

യാക്കൂണ്‍ [ja:ˈku:ɳ]- pregnancy craving; the strong desire for a particular food during pregnancy

കിന്നാരം [kɪnˈna:ɾəm]- small talk between a husband and wife

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby ceid donn » 2014-01-24, 2:55

 (gd) fuaraich

In Scotland, especially in the Highlands and Isles, they used peat as a fuel for cooking and heating. Burning peat tends to produce a lot of smoke, and indoors, a lot of soot. And because of the tannins in the peat, that soot tends to stain things. Now, Scotland is also pretty damp, which means inside a cottage, it can get pretty moist, especially during a heavy rain. And sometimes it could get so moist that all that peat soot that had collected on the ceiling of your thatched roof cottage would start to drip, onto your furniture, your clothings, and anything else in the cottage, staining it with blackish-yellow splotches. That dripping, staining peat soot is called fuaraich.

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Re: Words in Your Language that don't exist in English

Postby linguoboy » 2014-02-03, 20:10

I know several languages--mostly Asian languages, such as Korean, Thai, and Persian but also Catalan and dialects of American Spanish--which have a word for the golden crust that rice forms where it makes contact with the bottom of the rice pot. On menus, Chinese 鍋巴 is sometimes translated "sizzling rice", but that's not a collocation that says anything to the average English-speaker outside of that specific context. I end up having to borrow these words ad hoc depending on which cuisine I'm talking about.
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