Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Feature: Just the Right Word in Just the Right Language

I love languages and am in awe of people who are multilingual. I often wish I'd worked harder to master a second language instead of letting it atrophy like I did with French (And German. And Hebrew).

Though I recognized that each language has sounds that aren't found in every other language (especially as I tried to replicate the French "r" and any sound in German with an umlaut), I never really thought much about different languages having words that don't have precise equivalents in other tongues.

Then I stumbled across this article on concepts the Japanese have words for but English-speakers don't. It was a fun read, emphasizing the fact that languages are a cultural artifact, both informing and informed by the culture they represent.

For those of you who are multilingual: what's a word you love in a language besides English that has no English equivalent?

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