Possibly as a reference to an occurrence that happens too often for one's liking, these untranslatable foreign words by Ella Frances Sanders goes to show the limited breadth of the English language.
In a blog post, Sanders created illustrated series of 11 foreign words that have no direct translation in English, such as the German word “waldeinsamkeit,” or the feeling of being alone in the woods. Coming up with that one in the right moment must be a bittersweet moment. Sanders quotes a phrase by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche by saying that, “Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.”
Indeed, some of these untranslatable foreign words, like “culaccino,” which means the mark left a table by a cold glass in Italian, or “pochemuchka,” or a person who asks a lot of questions in Russian,” can only simply reach at the truth, but never grasp it in its entirety. Such is the cultural specificity of these words that some have direct implications to their lifestyles, such as the Spanish word “sobremese,” which means the time after lunch or dinner to talk to the people you shared a meal with.
Untranslatable Foreign Words Graphics
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