Picking up from our previous Untranslatables post, we delve once again into the vault of strange and beautiful words that have no counterpart in the vast majority of languages. Whether they describe feelings, certain situations, of even particular actions, we just love to wait for the right opportunity to use them in translation (or conversation). So without further ado, here we go again!
From our Swedish friends we get this achingly romantic word that describes the reflection that moonlight sheds on the water of a still lake. Grab a piano, learn to play Debussy’s Clair de Lune, and you have a perfect mångata moment that will be remembered for years to come. Although the literal translation is more like “moon street”, we’re far too enchanted by the meaning to be picky with this one.
Although they say that the Inuit language has one hundred words for snow (in reality there are far less), we picked iktsuarpok because it describes a fairly common feeling all over the world. This word refers to the expectation of a visit that will arrive soon, and the need to constantly check if it’s time to open the door. I’m sure we all have a bit of iktsuarpok every once in a while, even if it’s when waiting for an Amazon delivery.
Carrying on with the northern theme, this Norwegian word means “everything you can put on a slice of bread”. Obviously, we are referring to items of a culinary disposition, and not literally everything that you can just plonk on some toast, since most common translation is the word “spread”. Just saying the word reminds us of the bread jumping out of the toaster and musing about how we’re going to make it even more delicious.
This Indonesian expression describes what would be an already terrible joke, being told in such a bad way, that it’s impossible not to laugh at it. It is such a common occurrence after a night out with too much wine in the system, sometimes we might as well just say jayus instead of good night. Perhaps the moment of telling bad jokes at the end of the night could have a word of its own. Someone will just have to invent it!