Untranslatable words


B&R_World_Map_PantoneAs the second most widely spoken language in the world, English has an important role in our society. However, naturally, there are lots of expressions and words that do not have their word for word equivalent in English. Examples in such lexical gaps are words like “sobremesa”, a Spanish word which describes the moment of chatting and relax after having the lunch or dinner, or “dépaysement” in French which is a feeling, positive or negative, provoked by the fact that you are in a unusual environment.

Other examples are “saudade” in Portuguese expressing a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves and which has given so many titles and lyrics songs; “Lagom” in Swedish to say neither too much, nor too little but just right; or “hygge” in Danish to express a sense of warmth and companionship.

Do you know other words or expressions in your mother tongue that do not exist in English? If you do, please, leave us a comment and share them with us!

If you are interested, you can read more about lexical gaps in the following articles:

Maarten Janssen: Multilingual lexical databases, lexical gaps and SIMuLLDA

Jurgita Cvilikaite: Lexical Gaps

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