Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why English Steals

A good read if you have the time: The Wikipedia article for untranslatability. Far better written than your average Wikipedia article, a full of food for thought... about words. Perhaps the best thing I took away from it was Wikipedia's best guess for "most untranslatable word," ilunga, or Congolese term that purportedly best translates to English as "a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time."

[ Source: Prance Closer ]


  1. I don't believe in such a thing as an untranslatable word. This supposedly most untranslatable word was translated perfectly well.

  2. Well, I think the word "untranslatable" is a little misleading. I think a more correct term would be "unable to be translated in a single word," with the "most untranslatable" being the word that translates into English using the greatest number of words.

    On the same note, I say English should just steal the word and make it its own. That'll teach them hard-to-translate words.