20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World

Know what Toska means?  How about JayusJason White wrote an article about ’20 awesomely untranslatable worlds from around the world for Matador Abroad.

Toska and jayus are two of 20 untranslatable (or at least tough to translate) words from other languages.

Toska is a Russian word meaning “great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause; a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning.” Lots of English words to describe one Russian word.

Jayus on the other hand is Indonesian for “a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh”.

Language, when we’re on the same page and speaking from the same perspective, can be a bridge to understanding.  When that bridge is very long and overarching however, one can’t see the other side.  It can be shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding.  Confusion results.

“What are you talking about?”  “I don’t get it/her/him!”  “That person is from another planet.”  “They’re speaking English but they may as well be speaking Latin.”

For example, for people who communicate with emotion and rely on their intuition (Heart Life Lenses™) those who rely on logic and facts (Head Life Lenses™) can be completely baffled by them (and vice versa).  Here’s a simple tip to get across the bridge:

If you’re a Heart Life Lens™ try using the word ‘think’ (even though it may feel odd), as in ‘What do you think is the best way to proceed?’

And if you’re a Head Life Lens™ try using the word ‘feel’ (even though you may think it’s odd), as in ‘What do you feel is the best way to proceed?’

In my experience substituting think for feel or feel for think can make a big difference.

Understanding another’s perspective helps get across the bridge to understanding.  Figure out your perspective (including where your blind spots are) and you’ll go far.


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