Untranslatable & Indefinable Words

Timble2

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In Saint-Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals the 'Fossils' section is played on dinosaurs. Well, on fossils. Well, on xylophones, to sound like fossils, which are all that's left of dinosaurs.
If they used lithophones, they'd sound even more like fossils, you could probably use fossils to make a lithophone. Or train birds which are descendents of the dinosaurs...
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Didn't some George Bush impersonator and comedian crack the gag "Trouble with the French is that they don't have any word for entrepreneur"?

Quite amusing to have an ironic sneer at poor old "Dubya"!

Trouble is, I don't believe that French does have a word for entrepreneur.

It's one of those "faux amis", where borrowed words have a very different meaning in different languages.

Entrepreneur in US or English English means an ambitious business person.

In French, entrepreneur only means a contractor or even a hired labourer.

My (french) brother-in-law was having a dry-stone wall repaired and I recall him telling me that he needed to speak to the "entrepreneur". This turned out to be a Gauloises-smoking, lookalike for Nintendo's Mario, who was stacking stone slabs in the garden.

French also has no word for ape (have to say "big monkey without tail"), for shallow (have to say "little deep") or indeed for seventy (have to say sixty-ten)!

One of my favourite untranslatable terms is the Danish word "hygge" pronounced hewgger.

It sort of encompasses, a certain cosiness and happy conviviality amongst friends in front of an open fire when it's blowing a blizzard and 10 degrees below zero outside.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Guess it depends on your accent or dialect. I don't usually pronounce the final r in English, so teacher comes out as "teecha". In Cornwall it would be closer to teechurr.
In any case, I think "hygge" is a lovely concept that certainly resonates with me.
 

maximus otter

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The following words and phrases are all pronounced “grab the cash while they’re still hot”:

a) Hygge

b) Mindfulness

c) Vegan

maximus otter
 
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