Saturday, 7 December 2013

untranslatable words

Here's an interesting list of untranslatable words. I haven't provided any translations, because they're untranslatable.

(Thanks to Bob Hale for directing me to this list.)

saudida (Portuguese) - untranslatable
sponsz (Hungarian) - untranslatable
rastapopoulos (Greek) - untranslatable
kûrvitaş (Turkish) - untranslatable
txunyayo (Hixkaryana) - untranslatable
avakṣana (Sanskrit) - untranslatable
tlhaqSoD (Klingon) - untranslatable
myludh (Sindarin) - untranslatable

7 comments :

Bob Hale said...

Very interesting list.

Bob Hale said...

Just for fun I put your words into Google translate and used the detect language feature.

It suggested that

sponsz might be Polish
rastapopoulos might be French
kûrvitaş might be Finnish
tlhaqSoD might be English (yes, really!)
myludh might be Welsh

Scot said...

I'm no linguist but how do you have a word in Klingon that is untranslatable? :-)

Mwncïod said...

Am I missing something here but from the list:
kûrvitaş (Turkish)
rastapopoulos (Greek)
sponsz (Hungarian)

are the names of fictional characters from The Adventures of Tintin series of comic albums created by Georges "Hergé" Remi

"kûrvitaş" = Marshal Kûrvi-Tasch"
"rastapopoulos = "Roberto Rastapopoulos (Ρασταπόπουλος although he's supposed to be Italian?)
"sponsz" = Colonel Sponsz

Ronald Kyrmse said...

"Saudida" should be "saudade"... No relation to Saudi Arabia. And identifying "kûrvitaş" as Finnish misrecognizes the Finnish language, which has neither "ş" (that's Turkish or Romanian) nor (to my knowledge) circumflexes. Thank you, myludh.

goofy said...

I guess I need to work on my humour circuits.

None of these words are real. I made them all up, with some help from Hergé. You know those articles that give you a list of "untranslatable words", and then proceed to translate them? That always bugged me; I don't believe there is such a thing as an untranslatable word.

But what if some words really were untranslatable? What would that list look like?

Stan said...

I laughed. It's so trivial. Yes: words in other languages can convey meanings in a single word that we need more than one word to convey. Amazing!