10 Untranslatable Words (And When You’ll Want to Use Them)

English is so limited sometimes. There are so many kickass words in other languages, that describe concepts that we just don’t have one word for in English. And that’s a shame, because sometimes we find ourselves in situations that English just can’t describe.

IO9: “Science fiction and fantasy are full of those sorts of quirky situations and concepts, in fact. Here are 10 words that have no English equivalent, and the science fiction and fantasy classics that you’d want to use them to describe.

We really liked No.6: Verschlimmbesserung (German)

The Meaning: A verschlimmbesserung is a supposed improvement that makes things worse. There are actually a lot of words for this in a lot of languages, and that makes me think that English needs to get on the ball and coin a native word for this concept. Everyone needs it.

The Work: Did people want the ‘first’ episodes in the Star Wars series? You bet they did. Did they need them? Debatable. Did that new-old trilogy add anything to what was already there? No. Quite the opposite. And you could say the same for the many re-released CGI upgrades that the original movies received over the years. Some things shouldn’t be improved. Or at least, certainly not in the way they were.

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Posted on July 7, 2012, in Languagewatch. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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