Words that don't have translations in English

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,369
San Antonio, Tx
Another Swedish word I recall as having no proper English translation is "underförstått". My last English teacher, an immigrant from Australia (and obviously a native English speaker), used that word at times because there was no corresponding term he knew of in the English language. The closest translation would be "implied", but "underförstått" is usually more vague than that; while "implied" refers to something indirectly told, "underförstått" is used to describe something you should be able to make out yourself or which is made obvious without actually saying it. To "underförstå" is explained in a Swedish dictionary as "to mean without saying". For example, if somebody asks you "have you eaten?", it is "underförstått" that they mean in recent hours and that they want to know whether or not you are hungry, even though they did not specify such a thing; if the concept of "underförstått" did not exist, you might as well have answered "yes, thousands of times in my life" and left it at that.
Why are we making this so complicated? “Underforstatt” probably is the same as “understood” which requires no confirmation of facts because they are assumed.
 
Feb 2019
345
California
Hey everybody!

To be more specific than the title, your favorite words that describe a feeling, or action we have no direct translation for in English. These can be from currently used languages or dead ones throughout history.

Mine is a German word, schadenfreude. It basically means to take pleasure in the misery of others. To me, malicious joy just isn't specific enough even though that's what it would fall under. And that's two words. Malicjoy, Joymalicious? Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

If this topic belongs somewhere else please feel free to move it.
I didn't really think it belongs in Art and Culture its too generic.

You'll never guess what word popped into my head the minute I saw the title of your thread yo.....hint: it's German. :)
 
почемучка = someone who asks a lot of questions, like an inquisitive child. почему = why, -чка = diminutive suffix

тоска is similar to ennui or melancholy, Nabokov defined it as such: “At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom…”


недоперепил = not drunk as much as I wished to.
 
почемучка = someone who asks a lot of questions, like an inquisitive child. почему = why, -чка = diminutive suffix

тоска is similar to ennui or melancholy, Nabokov defined it as such: “At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom…”

недоперепил = not drunk as much as I wished to.
As far I can recall Norman Lewis, ennui itself is French.
 
In the preface of the English translation of Yoshida Mitsuru's "Senkan Yamato no saigo" it was written that literal translation of the title resulted in extremely poor rendering of the Japanese word 'saigo' which means end/last/conclusion in a very serious sense. Therefore the English translation was titled "Requiem for Battleship Yamato".
 
Oct 2015
936
Norway
Why are we making this so complicated? “Underforstatt” probably is the same as “understood” which requires no confirmation of facts because they are assumed.
Actually "förstått", the last part of "underförstått", means "understood". 'Understood without saying it directly' is a better way to explain the word.
 

Vaeltaja

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
3,687
I’ve no way of backing this up but I’ve read that this zillions of words for snow is a bit of a myth.
Perhaps a bit late answer (a year too late... but the thread is still active sooo...). These are some of the expressions for snow in Finnish (it is not exclusive list) but Sami (all the various dialects combined) has whole lot more of them. I'll add some translations to them. Source: Luettelo lunta tarkoittavista suomen kielen sanoista – Wikipedia - fi-wiki: List of some of the words in Finnish referring to 'snow' or related icy things
ajolumi: lit. drive-snow - dry snow carried on ground by wind
jasa, lumenviipymä: Place where snow persist long into spring or winter. Often in a northern face of a hill or similar.
hanki: Thick now cover or more often a snow cover with a frozen surface that may or may not support a man.
hankiainen: The actual ice layer of 'hanki' (other related expressions: kantohanki, kestohanki, hankikanne, hankikanto, kerste)
hiutale, (jää)neulanen, (lumi)kide: lumikiteitä; (in order) Snowflake, (ice) needle, (snow) crystal, snow crystals.
huove, höty: Snow made porous by warm weather
huurre, härmä, kuura: Moisture from air frozen to various surfaces, actual terms refer to different kinds of crystallizations (crystal sizes, frozen droplets and so on)
höyty, hitva, hile: Very small snow crystals or very small snow crystals floating in the air
kalto, kaltto, kallo, jääkallo: Icy or clear ice patches (on the road). Last one means 'ice cranium/skull' - to which modern word referring to dangerously slippery conditions 'pääkallokeli' ('dead's head weather' or 'skull weather') has been derived.
kinos: Long formation of deeper snow usually cased by wind
kirsi: One of the many expressions for 'hankikanto' - this time as found in one of the western dialects
kohva: Either totally or partially refrozen mixture of ice and snow risen above the original ice.
kuurankukka: Particularly large snow crystal formed by kuura Like this, image by Yle.fi
loska, söltsy: Watery snow, at times more water than snow.
nietos: Kinos formed by windy snow fall, blizzard or similar
nuoska, suojalumi, suvilumi, rääpäkkä, mätälumi, takkala, huove: Warm (close 0 degree C) weather snow. With various expressions from different dialects.
pakkaslumi: Dry & light (as in weight) snow - usually water vapor that has frozen and fallen down in very small crystals
polanne: Snow that has compressed under weight and as result either partially or totally frozen (common in often used paths). Or ice ridge on the road surface to which tires can get sort of stuck and then the car tends to follow the polanne instead of driver.
puuteri: lit. powder. Powdery snow (slalom term)
riite, riide, riitta, riitto, kerte, kohma, kahma, hyyde: Watery snow that has rained down and frozen or very thin ice layer on the surface of snow. Again plenty of variation in different dialects.
räntä: Watery snow raining down, often turns to sohjo on the ground.
sevä: Very hard 'hanki' known especially in the north where reindeers are kept. Reindeer can not reach 'reindeer lichen' (their main food) through it
siide: Fine grain snow or small sized droplets in watery snow shower.
sohjo: Snow with plenty of water in it
tiera, tilsa, paakku: Snow that has been caught to the shoe or horseshoe - also the snow which gets stuck to dog paws.
tykkilumi: lit. gun-snow. Snow made artificially with snow guns/cannons/generators.
tykkylumi: Snow/ice that has become 'härmä' on tree branches.
vesihyhmä: Very watery and heavy snow or alternatively very snowy water. Hard to tell which.
viti, nattura, utukka, höykkälumi: Dry snow which has just recently rained down
vuotos: Recently rained down snow

sataa akanpalloja/rämpsyä/pakkasenhiveniä/siitettä/jalkarättejä/aanelosia: Raining large snow crystals
pyry: Very dense snow fall
tuisku: Snow fall on strong wind - or occasionally snow that has been blown back into the air by strong wind

aito, jotos, rannio: Depressions on snow caused by herd. Often meaning to deer or reindeer herds but also used when referring to depressions made by plenty of people ('herd').
latu: Ski track
tola: Ski track with some fresh snow in it.
kieppi, uuttu: Snowshelters used by grouses or similar birds referred here as 'forest chickens'
Those being listed I'm familiar with fair amount of more of them so that list is certainly not exclusive.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,257
Why are we making this so complicated? “Underforstatt” probably is the same as “understood” which requires no confirmation of facts because they are assumed.
Because it is more complicated? "Understood" in Swedish is directly "förstått", or possibly "uppfattat".

"Underförstått" is used to specifically point out something in a situation where subtext is everything.
 

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