20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#61  Postby Regina » Nov 05, 2011 9:40 pm

OlivierK wrote:
Tim Danaher wrote:Oh, and there's also 'gelayouted' in German. My design students' eyes would fill up with tears when I'd correct them when they used 'layouted' in English and then would go on to explain that 'to lay out' is a fully declined separable verb in Eng. Gram.

I hope after their lesson they at least progressed to "outgelayed" :grin:

The problem is that they should know from their nine years of English at school. Future students start even earlier, in primary school.
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#62  Postby OlivierK » Nov 06, 2011 1:11 am

Indeed, but there's a certain charm to the German way of putting separable verbs into the past tense. Thirty years after learning it in high school German classes, people I know still occasionally apply it to English verbs, especially - for some reason - "offgebuggered" instead of "buggered off".
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#63  Postby Clive Durdle » Nov 06, 2011 8:42 am

Cavagan youvago spevageak uvaguv?
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#64  Postby Scot Dutchy » Nov 06, 2011 10:37 am

Blackadder wrote:One of my Dutch colleagues once described someone as a "mierenneuker". It means literally "antfucker" and describes someone who frets and fusses over completely insignificant and minor details. I guess "nitpicker" is the nearest English equivalent but it doesn't convey the contempt and uselessness of the Dutch description.

There is a Hindi word which is "lifungga". It cannot be translated directly into English but it is a combination of rascal, rogue, chav, ill-mannered wastrel and general undesirable.


Yes mierenneuker is a lovely turn of phrase. Very very insulting.
Plenty of English is entering into the Dutch language. There are plenty of Dutch words they can use but no English is more cool.
Except strangely not in the computer world. All terms are still in Dutch and to use English terms is a :nono:
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#65  Postby Zwaarddijk » Nov 06, 2011 4:39 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Blackadder wrote:One of my Dutch colleagues once described someone as a "mierenneuker". It means literally "antfucker" and describes someone who frets and fusses over completely insignificant and minor details. I guess "nitpicker" is the nearest English equivalent but it doesn't convey the contempt and uselessness of the Dutch description.

There is a Hindi word which is "lifungga". It cannot be translated directly into English but it is a combination of rascal, rogue, chav, ill-mannered wastrel and general undesirable.


Yes mierenneuker is a lovely turn of phrase. Very very insulting.
Plenty of English is entering into the Dutch language. There are plenty of Dutch words they can use but no English is more cool.
Except strangely not in the computer world. All terms are still in Dutch and to use English terms is a :nono:

How did this work out in Dutch, say, 200 years ago? I've read some Swedish letters from that time, and the amount of French in them is staggering, and at times well-nigh impenetrable to someone that doesn't know French (I don't). Yet nearly all of that has fallen out of use. Language always has its fashions, and there's no real reason why one route or the other is preferable.
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#66  Postby Scot Dutchy » Nov 06, 2011 5:22 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:
Blackadder wrote:One of my Dutch colleagues once described someone as a "mierenneuker". It means literally "antfucker" and describes someone who frets and fusses over completely insignificant and minor details. I guess "nitpicker" is the nearest English equivalent but it doesn't convey the contempt and uselessness of the Dutch description.

There is a Hindi word which is "lifungga". It cannot be translated directly into English but it is a combination of rascal, rogue, chav, ill-mannered wastrel and general undesirable.


Yes mierenneuker is a lovely turn of phrase. Very very insulting.
Plenty of English is entering into the Dutch language. There are plenty of Dutch words they can use but no English is more cool.
Except strangely not in the computer world. All terms are still in Dutch and to use English terms is a :nono:

How did this work out in Dutch, say, 200 years ago? I've read some Swedish letters from that time, and the amount of French in them is staggering, and at times well-nigh impenetrable to someone that doesn't know French (I don't). Yet nearly all of that has fallen out of use. Language always has its fashions, and there's no real reason why one route or the other is preferable.


About 200 years ago this country was occupied by the French and all administration was in French. You had to speak French to be a civil servant. Dutch middle class society spoke a lot of French up to the first world war. We still have plenty of French words especially when it comes offices and office work.
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#67  Postby Regina » Nov 06, 2011 6:32 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:
Blackadder wrote:One of my Dutch colleagues once described someone as a "mierenneuker". It means literally "antfucker" and describes someone who frets and fusses over completely insignificant and minor details. I guess "nitpicker" is the nearest English equivalent but it doesn't convey the contempt and uselessness of the Dutch description.

There is a Hindi word which is "lifungga". It cannot be translated directly into English but it is a combination of rascal, rogue, chav, ill-mannered wastrel and general undesirable.


Yes mierenneuker is a lovely turn of phrase. Very very insulting.
Plenty of English is entering into the Dutch language. There are plenty of Dutch words they can use but no English is more cool.
Except strangely not in the computer world. All terms are still in Dutch and to use English terms is a :nono:

How did this work out in Dutch, say, 200 years ago? I've read some Swedish letters from that time, and the amount of French in them is staggering, and at times well-nigh impenetrable to someone that doesn't know French (I don't). Yet nearly all of that has fallen out of use. Language always has its fashions, and there's no real reason why one route or the other is preferable.

Same in Germany. About a hundred years ago, people would routinely use words like billet, plafond, parapluie, enchanté, trottoir, etc.
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They don't turn the other cheek the way they done before.

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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#68  Postby NilsGLindgren » Nov 06, 2011 7:13 pm

I'm still waiting for someone to explain 'Hwyl'. hat is, incidetally, a character in Terry Pratcchett's Discworld - a dwarf play writer who is strangely similar (in his plays) to William Shakespeare. Except for being a dwarf.

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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#69  Postby Regina » Nov 06, 2011 7:32 pm

More like: gekillt. And no one says "nicht" The old-fashioned version would be "nicht wahr?", but it's rarely used nowadays.
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They don't turn the other cheek the way they done before.

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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#70  Postby Zwaarddijk » Nov 06, 2011 7:34 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Zwaarddijk wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:

Yes mierenneuker is a lovely turn of phrase. Very very insulting.
Plenty of English is entering into the Dutch language. There are plenty of Dutch words they can use but no English is more cool.
Except strangely not in the computer world. All terms are still in Dutch and to use English terms is a :nono:

How did this work out in Dutch, say, 200 years ago? I've read some Swedish letters from that time, and the amount of French in them is staggering, and at times well-nigh impenetrable to someone that doesn't know French (I don't). Yet nearly all of that has fallen out of use. Language always has its fashions, and there's no real reason why one route or the other is preferable.


About 200 years ago this country was occupied by the French and all administration was in French. You had to speak French to be a civil servant. Dutch middle class society spoke a lot of French up to the first world war. We still have plenty of French words especially when it comes offices and office work.

Certainly a lot of French can be found in Swedish as well; however, what surprised me was the amount of French words in Swedish personal letters between middle class people in the early 19th century - it easily surpassed the amount of English in, say, modern emails.
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#71  Postby jez9999 » Sep 14, 2012 8:56 pm

How is "seppuku" not in there? What other country in the world has a ritual with its own word that involves disembowling yourself in order to preserve your honour rather than falling into the hands of the enemy?
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Re: 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words

#72  Postby mraltair » Sep 15, 2012 12:27 am

jez9999 wrote:How is "seppuku" not in there? What other country in the world has a ritual with its own word that involves disembowling yourself in order to preserve your honour rather than falling into the hands of the enemy?


English. It's called a drinking contest.
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