Words that don’t exist in English

Here are a few sites that document words that exist in other languages but not in English.

What does it mean that these words don’t exist in English? Do these words tell us something about the cultures they come from? About us? Is it generally random chance that cultures invent words for some concepts but not for others? If a word can’t directly be translated, does it mean that the concept cannot truly be known to nonnative speakers of those languages?




Radiolab Podcast: Translation

“How close can words get you to the truth and feel and force of life? That’s the question poking at our ribs this hour, as we wonder how it is that the right words can have the wrong meanings, and why sometimes the best translations lead us to an understanding that’s way deeper than language. This episode, 8 stories that play out in the middle space between one reality and another — where poetry, insult comedy, 911 calls, and even our own bodies work to close the gap.”