Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lost in Translation... words!

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World

If you've ever felt like you were at a loss for words, then this volume may help. 
It's 52 words from other languages that capture in a couple syllables emotions and moments that whole English sentences can't grapple with. 

I would have devoured this book as a 12 year old. Words to say the seemingly unsayable are right up my alley, then and now. 

Let's say somebody asks you how long it takes to eat a banana. A few moments ago that was a difficult concept to capture. 
But now you have the Malay word "pisan zapra." That's how long it takes to eat a banana. 

And next time you cup your hand under a cold stream running with snowmelt, the word for how much water your palm holds is "gurfa." 
That one's German. 

And when somebody says something, and you think of a clever response after they're gone? The Yiddish call those "trepverter," or stair-case words. 

Hows about the Hungarian word "szimpatikus?" That word means a person you immediately feel good about, by your intuition and soul. 
And when you see that special person coming, you probably get "tiam." That's a sparkle in your eye. 

Or how about the word Brazilian word "cafune," which is the gentle stroking of a loved one's hair? 

And hopefully you have some "naz" people in your life, those who would follow you anywhere and love you all the way. That's an Urdu word. 

I also like the German word "waldeinsamkeit." That is the word for time spent peacefully in the woods, releasing our cares and breathing free.

And the Japanese word "komorebi," which describes the green fire of sunshine through leaves. 

Or the Swedish word "mangata," the silver-road that the moon spreads over the water. 

Yes. There are some gems that we'd never know about if we stuck exclusively with our own tongue! 

So if you have a language student in your house, or your friend is a world traveler, or your beloved is a word-lover, then Lost in Translation will bring a smile to their face. This book won't end up as a "tsundoku"- the Japanese word for an unread tome.

Thank you to 10 Speed Press through Blogging for Books for my review copy. 

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