An A-Z Of ‘Untranslatable’ Words

Posted on Oct 5 2015 - 7:02am by Alexandra Ashton

The English language is used all over the world. Wherever you go, you will definitely find someone speaking the English. This is an amazing benefit of a global world, especially if you are a tourist because you’ll always have someone to turn to help when you need it. But have you noticed that sometimes the person you are talking with is having problems thinking of the words in English that would perfectly describe what they want to say?  No matter how fluent they are in the English, they still can’t think of the word they want to say. Why is that? Is the problem in them or maybe in the English language?

Did you know that there is one million, twenty five thousand, one hundred and nine words in the English language? It is the surprising truth that even though it consist of so many words there are still some words that simply don’t exist in the  English language. Yeah, you can roughly translate them, but that’s not that. The English speakers will need a whole sentence to describe that one word. Isn’t that amazing? There are still some mysteries left in the English language, even for the native speakers.  For example, how would you describe the happiness of being reunited with someone after a long time apart? Well, now you can use French word retrouvailles that means exactly that.

Some of these words you will definitely want to include in your vocabulary. Did you know that there is one word that can describe the act of buying a book but not reading it, typically piling it up with other such unread books? Who hasn’t experienced this act which Japanese call tsundoku before? There is so much other amazing words in another languages that would be a welcome addition to English. Check out this infographic to discover which ones.


About the Author

Alexandra Ashton, Communications at Neomam Studios , the UK based Infographic Agency. Alexandra is a content and design enthusiast with a keen eye for detail.