5/4/12

What English Lacks



While English is the most widely spoken language in the world, and is said to be the most expressive, there are still a few areas where it lacks precision, or...well, le mot juste.  A look at a few words that simply don’t exist in the English language.:
Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut
Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist
Bakku-shan (Japanese): A beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind
Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love
Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute
Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time
L’esprit de l’escalier (French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it
Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire
Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing
Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. 
Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation
Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions
Sgriob (Gaelic): The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky
Taarradhin (Arabic): implies a happy solution for everyone, or “I win. You win.” 
Tatemae and Honne (Japanese): What you pretend to believe and what you actually believe, respectively
Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left
Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods
Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways,’ referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language