The languages of the world are a beautiful thing. Although most objects have direct translations into all different languages, many ideas and concepts are unique to the culture in which the language exists. Because of this, a word used frequently in one language might be completely alien to another, and require a sentence-long explanation. Thankfully, artist Marija Tiurina has created these illustrations to explain some of the strangest culture-specific words in the world:
1. Palegg, Norwegian for “anything you can put on a slice of bread”
I’m not saying you should put any and everything on a slice of bread, but I’m not not saying that, either. (Disclaimer: Please only put edible things on your slices of bread.)
2. Duende, Spanish for “the mysterious power a work of art has on a person”
Remember that scene in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off when Cameron became transfixed with George Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”? That.
3. Baku-shan, Japanese for “a girl that looks beautiful when viewed from behind”
I disagree here. There’s definitely an English translation for this. You just have to check Urban Dictionary to find it. (And no, I’m not going to tell you what it is)
4. L’appel Duvide, French for “the instinctive urge to jump from a high place”
Does anyone really suffer from this? I mean, I guess if they do, they don’t for long. Sorry, I guess that was a bit insensitive.
5. Tingo, Pascuense for “taking objects of desire from a friend’s house over a period of time by borrowing and not returning them”
“Hey neighbor, did I lend you my shovel?” “Oh, yeah a few weeks ago. It’s in my tool shed next to your lawn mower, your rake, and your step ladder.”
6. Schadenfreude, German for “feeling pleasure from other’s pain or misfortune”
Of all the words on this list, you’ve probably heard this one before. I know we’re supposed to be kind to everyone, turn the other cheek and all that…but when karma takes over and someone gets what’s coming to them, sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the show.
7. Kyoikumama, Japanese for “a mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement”
All joking aside, the rate of suicide for young men in Japan is astronomical because of the pressure they face to do well in school.
8. Schlimazl, Yiddish for “a chronically unlucky person”
Being a bit of a schlimazl myself, I have to take extra precautions when leaving the house, driving to the store, taking a shower…you name it, I’ve probably hurt myself doing it.
9. Age-otori, Japanese for “to look worse after a haircut”
Who here hasn’t gotten a bad haircut at least once in their life? Don’t worry, it grows back.
10. Luftmensch, Yiddish for “air person,” meaning “someone who is a bit of a dreamer”
Get your head out of the clouds and come back to Earth. There’s work to do!
11. Tretar, Swedish for “a second refill of a cup of coffee”
Just order a venti and you won’t have to keep asking for more.
12. Gufra, Arabic for “the amount of water that can be held in cupped hands”
Also the sound you make when you accidentally inhale water while splashing your face in the morning.
13. Cafuné, Brazilian Portuguese for “to run your fingers through someone’s hair tenderly”
I love when my wife cafunés me. Sorry, that sounds a bit dirty.
14. Torschlusspanik, German for “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages”
“There are so many things I haven’t done!” Sounds like a mid-life crisis to me. Except it’s more focused on abilities and skills than, you know, sports cars and pretty women.
Featured photo credit: Marija Tiurina via facebook.com
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