Friday, 26 September 2014


Coinciding with the Council of Europe’s Day of Languages, established and observed annually to promote linguistic diversity and encourage the learning of an additional language, as well as treasuring those endangered or overly-influenced by the various lingua francas, Neat-o-rama presents a preview of a beautifully illustrated book that collects some of the untranslatable yet gloriously and rendingly descriptive words from languages around the world.
I especially like the term Mångata, a Swedish word for the rippling, elongated reflection of the Moon in the water, and another delightful Swedish word Tretår that means something like a three-fill—tår alone referring to a cup of coffee, påtår is the refreshing of the original cup, and tretår is one’s third iteration. Also I can really relate to the Hawaiian word Άkihi, describing one’s instant and almost as if on cue forgetting of directions after just being told. Lacuna is from the Latin for little ditch and in the sense here refers to a lexical gap, which means there is no word-for-word correspondence from one language to another, so interpreters must get creative and/or lobby for the inclusion of such foriegn borrowings.