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By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Helen Hunt Jackson - September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

John Updike, September
Learn English in September

Monday Night Owls - 3 April 2017 - ´Untranslatable´ emotions

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,231 Teacher
edited April 2017 in People and Society
We read an article about emotions which can´t be easily translated into English:


Vocabulary Top 10:

shuck off - to remove and throw aside (something)

nuance - a very small difference in color, tone, meaning, etc.

worm (your way) into - to get (yourself) into (a desired position, situation, etc.) in a gradual and usually clever or dishonest way

perseverance - the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult

resilience - the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens

grit - mental toughness and courage

inhibition - a nervous feeling that prevents you from expressing your thoughts, emotions, or desires

wistfulness - having or showing sad thoughts and feelings about something that you want to have or do and especially about something that made you happy in the past

fleeting - not lasting : lasting for only a short time

pin down - to find out (something) with certainty

Which of the words from other languages mentioned in the article do you like the most? Can you think of any other words that don´t have a good translation into English?
Post edited by NatashaT on


  • MonikMonik Posts: 1,001 ✭✭✭✭
    @NatashaT Honestly it's hard to tell... After reading this article I felt like I was learning a new language. It's frustating, especially because I'm still dealing with English LOL

    However, "Wabi-sabi" and maybe "Orenda", the latter is similar than a Spanish word (horrenda) which is the feminine of horrible... On the other hand, let's say "wabi-sabi" sounds cool :D
  • NippurNippur Posts: 60 ✭✭✭
    @Natasha , hi ! For me it was "Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – the anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, whereby one keeps going outside to check if they have arrived" I am sure I will never remember it, but it ´s amazing that someone create a word for this! I rememember reading that in Inuit they have so many many words to describe snow in their different forms, but I didn ´t know about this word. I like it
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 2,053 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I agree with @Nippur, the Inuit term ' Iktsuarpok ' used to show such feeling of pleasant anticipation is really amazing, considering they managed to encapsulate it in just one word.
    However, I also think perhaps it might have to do more with a survival instinct than with a push to express granulary emotions.
    The very low temperatures they have in the North Pole might have led these Eskimoan people to restrain themselves from articulate longer their expression of feelings, not to let the warmth they have struggled to store in their body flow out, so as to instantly get frozen to the spot.
    To the aim being useful as well, the fact of keep walking to and fro to see if their guest has yet showed up: rather than to get emotion granularity, they would avoid their blood to granulate in ice.
    Then I liked the Japanese word ' Wabi-sabi ': ' a dark, desolate sublimity centred on transience and imperfection in beauty '.
    I think, if I have got the meaning right, that the highest point of pleasure, the sublimity, lies in the very short moments of deep contemplation of whatever, while its transient or transitory state, subtracts and adds, at the same time, to the further elaboration of its beauty, .
    After all, I suppose many works of art could come from a genial, though dark and desolate, contemplation of transient sublimity.
    Finally, despite my reached Desbundar mood ( Portuguese: to shed one's inhibitions in having fun ), I couldn't attend yesterday's Wednesday Night Owls session, so with Sukha mood ( Sanskrit: genuine lasting happiness independent of circumstances ), I can't but just make a point to be more regular next Monday.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
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