Words and language reflect culture and identity. Have a look at this interesting list of words. These words, from various languages across the world, have no English equivalent. They tell us a short story about the country and people they come from. They give us food for thought. For example, consider age-otori (Japanese) means ‘to look worse after a haircut’. It’s quite fascinating that there is a word devoted to that phenomenon.
Backpfeifengesicht is German for ‘a face badly in need of a fist’. You’ve got to love such a frank-speaking people. Are you a person who feels some sgriob, before you take a sip of whisky? And while we all try to work with meraki, most of us lack nunchi. Like the Japanese, we Indians have plenty kyoikumamas (those mothers who relentlessly push their children towards academic achievement).
It’s wonderful to see words devoted to an exact moment or emotion that we all experience. Some are very practical, such as the Georgian zeg, which means ‘the day after tomorrow’. This phrase is a mouthful in English.
We tend to think of time in limited ways. Consider pisan zapra – Malay for ‘the time needed to eat a banana’. Sensible sorts of folk must give value to food, for measuring time. Speaking of food, we all know that feeling when a meal is so delicious, that you just can’t stop eating it. The Georgians have a word for that too.
And how often have you forgotten someone's name when you're introducing them? It happens to the Scots all the time (and some of us as well), so they've got a word for it. The next time you're red-faced from tartleing, you can thank them.
We can go on and on about this list, but it’s more fun if you read it yourself. Let’s hope no one in Japan still does tsujigiri (test a new sword casually on a passerby). And before I go, on a more philosophical note, wabi-sabi is Japanese for ‘a way of living that emphasizes finding beauty in imperfection, and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay’.
Thanks to Sambit Kumar Pradhan for sharing this interesting link
The author is co-founder and Director, Content Design at Steta