One Word Can Say A Lot

In the English language, there are many words that can be used in multiple situations.

The word, “wow” can convey many thoughts. As an interjection, you might say it to express your disbelief when your spouse remembers your anniversary. As a verb, it’s a word you can use to give your utmost approval to just about anything.

Though “love” means a deep affection, it isn’t always the same affection. You might love the newest Taylor Swift song, but not in the same way you love your partner. You might love a joke that your friend told, but not the way you love your Dad’s new sneakers. And you certainly don’t love any of those the way you love pizza.

Some words have many meanings based on context, and some have only one meaning no matter how it is used. But can one solitary, stand-alone word contain enough meaning to convey an entire, and very specific, statement? Maybe not in English, but in other languages, you can count on it.

Take a trip around the world with Reader’s Digest and discover how just one word can say all you need to know, the moment it’s spoken.

  • When your head is in the clouds and you can’t stop dreaming about getting your big break, you might be a Luftmensch which means “air person” in Yiddish.
  • In Italian, when you are “moved in a heartwarming way, usually related to a story that moved you to tears,” you are experiencing Commuovere. (Maybe it was the story we told about your spouse remembering an anniversary).
  • When visiting Sweden and feeling like 2 cups of coffee just won’t get you through the day, ask for a Tretar, or a “second refill” to give you an extra kick.
  • Most people have experienced Akihi in their lifetime because it means to listen to directions and walk away “promptly forgetting them.” This might be easy to do in Hawaii where the beauty can make you forget anything.

Sometimes, the words can be even more descriptive and specific. Mental Floss thinks that you might be surprised to know that:

  • In Thai, Greng-jai is “the feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.”
  • “To jump out and say boo” is said in Czech as Vybafnout.
  • When the Samoans want to get your attention, they can Faamiti, which means to “make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips.”
  • When you just can’t stand to put up with someone even one minute more, the Germans say that they are Backpfeifengesicht. Or, “a face in need of a fist.”

There are many more words that can convey the message easily, and we could continue on forever. But if you need to convey something in another language and find yourself in need of a translator, ITC Translations can handle it. Looking to add subtitles to that corporate video? In need of a multilingual website for your foreign customers? We can do that! Don’t be a Schlemiel; call us today.

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