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Lost in Translation: Words English Can’t Match

Language is a beautiful thing. We give symbols distinct sounds, stringing them together to form words, sentences, paragraphs, and ultimately—meaning. We give characters the responsibility to convey our tone and dictate the pace at which we read. These seemingly random assortments of symbols allow us to communicate with one another with the specificity and intensity that gestures and facial features alone could never disclose. New words and jargons are constantly circulating into use while older, outdated terms and phrases seem to fade into nothingness. Languages diverge into dialects or new languages entirely—and with these new extensions, words are sometimes lost in translation. Here are several words that do not have a direct English equivalent.


Fernweh (noun; German)

Similar to the feeling of wanderlust—the strong urge to travel, fernweh is the desire to travel and experience new cultures. However, fernweh is specifically the longing to travel

to a faraway place.


Mono no aware (noun; Japanese)

Recognition of the impermanence of everything and the nostalgia of passing moments.


Mångata (noun; Swedish)

The glistening road-like reflection of the moon onto water.


Mokita (noun; Kilivila)

Comparable to the idiom, “the elephant in the room,” mokita is when the truth is known by everyone but is left unsaid.


Komorebi (noun; Japanese)

The sunlight that is able to filter through the leaves of a tree.


Psithurism (noun; Greek)

The sound of rustling leaves in the wind.


Waldeinsamkeit (noun; German)

The feeling of walking alone in the woods, connecting with nature.


Photo Sources:

  1. http://www.translationcompany.org/data_images/Book%20translation001.jpg

  2. https://eyesofodysseus.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/full-moon-over-ocean-reflection.jpg

  3. http://img11.deviantart.net/9dfc/i/2013/217/1/1/sun_shining_through_leav…


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