ESL Discussions

Some words doesn't exist in a different language in one only word and need to be explained somehow. Can you share any?

In Spanish (from Spain) I know these ones, some of them really curious that doesn't exist in English...

-'Tutear' (verb):  addressing someone in an informal way. This makes sense in my language since there's a variant in the second person (you) used formally when addressing old (or older) people, higher rank, or simply when we meet someone we don't know even with similar age.  (To be honest I hate it when childs address me like that)

-'Empalagar' (verb):   when you eat something which is extremely sweet for your taste that makes you sick. Used also as an adjective.

-'Sujetavelas' (noun): it's like an unwanted extra person who goes out with a couple (yeah.. annoying)

-'Estadounidense':   Native from the USA. This is actually the most shocking to me and I guess that's why they call themselves Americans or North Americans but can be controversial for other citizens from the American continent. In this way I'd say this confusion is caused by the lack of this simple word.

-'Entrecejo' (noun):  the space between the eyebrows (awful word btw)

-'Estrenar' (verb):   Use / wear / perform something for the first time (I believe this words exists in your language, no?

-'Friolero' (adj):  someone who is sensitive to the cold weather or dislike it.

I might be wrong and some of these words do exists in English, in such case let me know.  

Inversely there're English words that doesn't exist in my language like the last one I learned; 'jaywalking'. I'd have never believe this word could exist in any language  :D


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    Hi there

    Your topic is really interesting.

    The word “malas” (ملس) in Persian means a combination of both flavors sweet and sour, I looked it up  but I couldn’t find a direct translation for it. It seems that in English there is no one word which captures both these flavors.

    By the way, the Spanish words you mentioned, do not exist in Persian too, except the word “friolero” (adj) : In Persian language there are two words “sarmaii” ( سرمایی) and “garmaii”(گرمایی) for people who are intolerant to the cold/ heat weather. A person who is “sarmaii” is sensitive to the cold weather and wears heavy clothes in winter, Perhaps the word “nesh”in English is an equivalent for it and a person who can’t stand heat is “garmaii”.

    • Hi Saba!!

      I know the word 'bittersweet' but not sure if you mean that exactly. 

      It's difficult to me to distinguish Persian and Arabic.  To be honest I can't. I guess out they're similar somehow, no?

      Thank you for your reply Saba, I appreciate it. By the way, I,m a garmaii too :)

  •    Mmm , words that do not exist  . Long time ago I was watching a TV interview  . The guest claim that the word " lie " Don't  exist at all in red Indian language  . Because  , these people  don't lie at all  so  , they never  use any word for lie  . I don't know if his claim is true or not . 

         In a book  called  " the yellow age " about the Arab and Jewish  conflict  in the middle east . The Jewish author  says that the Jewish  people  have no bad words in  Hebrew  so they borrow them from the arabs  . :D   and  this is another claim , which , I don't know if it is true or not 

    • Thank you Rosemary for your comments and sorry for my late reply. 

      Actually I came back yesterday from an Arab country and learned some very basic words like 'mashala' (surely not well typed) when I asked a local guide how to cross the street in such chaotic traffic,  he just asked me to pronounce that word and cross, something like God willing or whatever God wants :D   To be honest I enjoyed this trip and realized they keep values that were lost in my country time ago.

      It'd take me a whole Iife learning this language. As you said I also heard of Arabic language is so rich in terms and words, no wonder why poems are so beautiful and loved. 

      Shukran Rosemary.

      •   :)  mashala  is an expression  and Islamic one  and you did get the meaning right 

             I think  you have been to Egypt  . Am I right Estanis  :) 

        • South Morocco  :)

  •    I will try to come back with examples  when I am free :) 

  •   It's a very interesting topic Estanis  

       There are many Arabic words and expression that have no equalivant in English language.  Especially  cultural expression  . Onthe other hand   , many  English words and expressions  have no equalivant in arabic . In arabic language you can find many words to express things in degrees  like rain have many words  , first rain , heavy rain  .... etc   we have  many meaning of clouds  . There are the usual clouds and rainy clouds  . Lights  comes in degrees  as well  . There are so many abundance of words in arabic  , that no one can imagine  . 

         On the grammatical  level  we don't have the ( Be verbs ) or the ( perfect  ) tenses    . But I consider  arabic grammar to be more difficult and complicated  than English   only clever people can master it  . 

       We have the call pronoun  in arabic  "" Ya  Estanis  " means I am calling you  . They don't have in English  . At the end  , I guess every language has it unique  way of expressing  words  . Which most linguistics  say it is arbitrary   , there is no relation between  the sounds and the look of things and other linguistical trait  . 

         :) your topic is so big   . Have a nice day Estanis 

  • Gracias senior Estanis! A provocative topic. It needs a lot of thinking. I will come up with something if remember anything at all. Thanks for sharing. 

    • We'll be glad to read of your words

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