15 Words in Other Languages with No Direct English Equivalent

The Global Language Monitor estimates that there are currently 1,009,753 words in the English language. Despite this large lexicon, many nuances of human experience still leave us tongue-tied. And that’s why sometimes it’s necessary to turn to other languages to find le mot juste.

Found in Translation‘ is an ongoing series that highlights words in other languages with no direct English equivalent. The illustrative posters are done by Anjana Ilyer, a Mumbai-born graphic designer currently based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Anjana’s goal is to do 100 of these illustrations in 100 days. You can see the entire series to date on Behance.

1. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

2. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagán)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-113. Tsundoku (Japanese)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-174. Pochemuchka (Russian)
5. Schadenfreude (German)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-106. Ilunga (Tshiluba)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-67. Friolero (Spanish)
8. Prozvonit (Czech/Slovak)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-139. Wabi-Sabi (Japanese)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-710. Fernweh (German)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-1411. Papakata (Maori)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-512. Waldeinsamkeit (German)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-1613. Aware (Japanese)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-214. Hanyauku (Kwangali)
words-in-foreign-languages-with-no-english-equivalent-1815. Utepils (Norwegian)

Artwork by Anjana Iyer
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Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. The words “sadness,” “joy,” or “regret” do not accurately describe the emotion one is feeling.  I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, like, say, “the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy” or a word for “the sadness inspired by failing restaurants” as well as “the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.”

I wish someone would go on a crusade to create those new works. Share this post with others and, who knows, maybe word will spread (pun intended).

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