11 Un-Translateable Words from Other Cultures

Each one of these amazing words could be a story prompt! Check ’em out

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

by Ella Frances Sanders, intern at Maptia

The relationship between words and their meaning is a fascinating one, and linguists have spent countless years deconstructing it, taking it apart letter by letter, and trying to figure out why there are so many feelings and ideas that we cannot even put words to, and that our languages cannot identify.

be sure to click thru – all the words AND illustrations are wonderful!

The idea that words cannot always say everything has been written about extensively – as Friedrich Nietzsche said, ‘Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.’ No doubt the best book we’ve read that covers the subject is ‘Through The Language Glass‘ by Guy Deutscher, which goes a long way to explaining and understanding these loopholes, the gaps which mean there are leftover words without translations, concepts that cannot be properly explained across cultures.

Somehow narrowing it down to just a handful, we’ve illustrated 11 of these wonderful, untranslatable, if slightly elusive, words. We will definitely be trying to incorporate a few of them into our everyday conversations, and hope that you enjoy recognising a feeling or two of your own among them.

Click through below to read the full list. 

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