15 Words we Need in English

15 Words we Need in English

The English language is notoriously bizarre. Meaning that some words simply do not translate. Whether it be Japanese, French or Vietnamese, there are words in other languages that we are yet to have the equivalent of in English. Here are a few of my favourite examples.

Sgriob (Welsh)

The itchiness that you feel on your lip before a sipping some whiskey.
‘Before I picked up my Penderyn, I faced a horrible bout of Sgriob’.

Drink Penderyn

Pochemucka (Russian)

A person who asks a lot of questions
‘Its like the Spanish Inquisition with this Pochemucka’

just one more thing

Fremdschamen (German)

To be embarrassed for someone who should be, but isn’t.
‘I was overcome with Fremdschamen at the man oblivious to his flies being undone’

flies-undon

Hyggelig (Danish)

The word that is used commonly in Denmark and is associated with the stereotypical Danish character. Danes are often thought to be smiley and caring, but many Danes argue this word has far different implications from that but is wonderfully fitting to have a word so perfectly in line with the Danish stereotype.
‘That man is so Hyggelig, his parents must have done a wonderful job’

Hyggelig

L’appel du vide (French)

The instinctive urge to jump from high places, I suppose we have something like ‘suicidal’ for such a feeling but this must mean something different. Do you ever see a cliff and just want to see what it feels like to fall? We just call those people adrenaline junkies, don’t we?
‘Full of l’appel du vide, he stepped back and threw himself off the white cliffs of Dover’.

Dover

Tingo (Language of Easter Island)

Gradually taking everything from a friend’s house by borrowing it item at a time. I’m pretty sure half the people I know have tried this at one point or another?!
‘See that record player in the corner? That’s one of my best bits of Tingo’

borrow-from-ned

Tartle (Scottish)

When introducing someone, we have all had to hesitate because of a brief mind blank regarding their name. Its embarrassing, its awkward for everyone involved and of course the Scottish have their own word for it.
‘He begun to introduce his new girlfriend to his family but he tartled at precisely the wrong moment’

my-name-is

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

When awaiting someone’s arrival at your house and you keep going outside to check you haven’t missed them knocking. Its always a time of limbo when awaiting a guest, never mind the pressure of having to interact with someone, we have all had a time when we have been poking our head round the curtains to see if they’ve appeared year.
‘They were five minutes late already and Jonny was suffering with Iktsuarpok’

look-out-the-window

Depaysment (French)

The feeling people suffer when they are not in their home country. I would guess from the existence of this word that the French don’t travel particularly well, don’t we just call this homesickness?
‘Six weeks into my backpacking across Europe, the Depaysment was becoming a problem’

backpack

Zeg (Georgian)

A word for the day after tomorrow. We may not have a proper word for the day after tomorrow, there is a crappy movie with the same words; so we’re pretty much even in my book.
‘I’ll meet you Zeg.’

Zeg

Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese)

An act that someone does for you that you never wanted, they insisted on doing, but you actually lost out greatly from their supposed help. Convention dictates that you must thank them anyway despite their ‘kind act’ being rather unpleasant for you. This seems the most British of words, where a piece of kindness and politeness stops anyone from being happy. I am thoroughly disappointed we have no equivalent of this.
‘He thought that giving me that picture of his cat was a lovely thing, but really, it caused me a great deal of Arigata-meiwaku’

grumpy-cat

Gigil (Filipino)

The word sounds cute and it means the irresistible urge to squeeze something that is cute. The whole notion of this is a bundle of cute equivalent to a box of puppies.
‘My friend’s girlfriend saw the puppy and couldn’t resist gigil’

puppy

Kummerspeck (German)

Referring to the overeating associated with emotion. The word itself sounds funny, kummerspeck could have a whole raft of meanings if given to some comedians.
‘Since the break up with her boyfriend, Eleanor has been living a life based on Kummerspeck’

fatty eating junk

Luftmensch (Yiddish)

An impractical dreamer with no business sense. This’ll probably be the sort of person that the bank manager won’t be too keen on and I’m sure I’ve met a few of these guys over the years.
‘He had a wonderful mind and great ideas, but he was an almighty Luftmensch’

dilbert-idea-man

Vybafnout (Czech)

To jump out and say boo.
‘The baby would not stop giggling at the Vybafnout-ing’

peek-a-boo

So now you have some more words to play with. Take the time to appreciate the brilliance of language, its pretty funny. If you have any more let me know in the comments below.

2 replies
  1. Chris Garland
    Chris Garland says:

    Here’s a good French one that I learned early on in my relationship with me French girlfriend (now wife): Empechement – which is an unexpected last-minute change of plans. A great excuse without having to be specific. She’s always loved a good Empechement!! Drives me up the wall!

    Reply

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