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Untranslatable Universals (I)

Have you ever had a feeling that you just couldn’t put to words? It’s hard to describe something when you can’t even name it, isn’t it? Well, chances are that somewhere, some language has the exact word you need. In the series Untranslatable Universals we delve into words from many a different language that don’t exist in others, yet convey universal human emotions. Let’s begin!

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, linguistics, untranslatable words for universal emotions, Tagalog

kilig (n.) Tagalog – Rush of exhilaration caused by a romantic happenstance, such as making eye contact or talking to one’s crush.

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, linguistics, untranslatable words for universal emotions, German

Schwellenangst (n.) German – Fear of embarking something new or crossing a threshold.

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, linguistics, untranslatable words for universal emotions, Greek

ελευθερομανία [eleutheromania] (n.) Greek – Intense desire for or obsession with freedom.

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, linguistics, untranslatable words for universal emotions, Japanese

物の哀れ [mono no aware] (n.) Japanese – Bittersweet feeling for appreciation towards beautiful things pared with a deep wistfulness for their ephemeral nature. ‘Mono no aware’ literally means ‘pathos of things’, a sensitivity and sorrow towards the ephemeral.

 

Expat Gone Foreign, language comics, linguistics, untranslatable words for universal emotions, Italian

abbiocco (n.) Italian – Drowsy sensation following a large or hearty meal that often leads to falling asleep.

 

That’s it for now. Do you know more untranslatable universals? Let me know in the comments!

Schwyzdüütsch a.k.a. Swiss German

If you are into languages, you are probably familiar with those conversations with your multilingual friends: you take arbitrary elements from the languages you both speak, and randomly squeeze them together into sentences. That is any regular Monday for the Swiss. Schwyzdüütsch, a.k.a. Swiss German is a colorful amalgamation of German, French and Italian.

Expat Gone Foreign, language comic, Schwyzerdütsch, Swiss German, French, linguistics

1.5 Meters Explained

Dear fellow German citizens,

Seeing as many of you are having trouble understanding basic units of measurement, here’s a visual aid that I made with love explaining what 1.5 meters look like in terms that you’ll all understand. : )

Expat Gone Foreign, corona, Germany, social distancing, security distance, comic, explained

If you think your country could also use a “1.5 Meters Explained” illustration, let me know and I’ll get to it!

 

Cross-cultural Spontaneity

Every Mediterranean person knows those Friday afternoons in which you spontaneously decide to grab a beer at the bar around the corner, and somehow you end up in a massive party of a friend who knows a friend who knows a friend, and it turns into one of those legendary evenings to remember. Well, that scenario could hardly happen among Northerners. Take Germans, for instance. They make good coworkers, but when it comes to social life… they are as spontaneous as a Swiss train timetable.

Expat Gone Foreign, language and culture comics, cross-cultural, spontaneity, Germany, Europe, life abroad