There are about 6500 languages spoken around the world. Of those, about 2000 are spoken by less than 1000 people, including busuu, which is spoken by just a handful of people in Cameroon. The most widely spoken language is Chinese, with over 1 billion speakers worldwide.
With so many languages it’s hardly a surprise that some words are untranslatable. Whichever language you’re learning, you might come across words that can’t be translated into your native language.
Here are some of our favourite untranslatable words:
- Akimbo – English
The position of standing with your hands on your hips and your elbows pointing outwards.
- Friolero – Spanish
Someone who is especially sensitive to cold weather and low temperatures.
- Dépaysement – French
The feeling you get when you’re not in your own country.
- Schnapsidee – German
An idea that sounds so crazy you’d think someone had it while they were drunk.
- Schilderwald – German
A street that’s got so many street signs on it you get lost.
- Culaccino – Italian
Sounds like a coffee but it actually means the mark a wet glass leaves on a table.
- Saudade – Portuguese
A sad yearning or pining for something that probably doesn’t exist, a bit like nostalgia in English.
- Tosca – Russian
Longing, restlessness, anguish or boredom – when you ache for something.
- Pochemuchka – Russian
Someone who asks too many questions.
- Zalatwic – Polish
Working for cash but also using bribery, your charm, friends, connections or family to get something done.
- Yakamoz – Turkish
The luminescence a certain sea creature creates on the surface of the water.
- Inshallah – Arabic
Literally translated into Enlglish it means, “if Allah wills it”, but in Arabic its meaning differs depending on slight changes in tone. It can also mean that something is unlikely to happen.
- Kyoikumama – Japanese
A mother who pushes her child to achieve academically.
- Tsundoku – Japanese
The act of buying a book and then not reading it and adding it to a pile of other un-read books.
- Shān zhài – Chinese
Innovative businesses that can be very successful and are based on fake or pirated goods.
- Shàng huŏ – Chinese
A term used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it means having too much internal heat.
Those are our favourites, what are yours? Let us know by commenting..