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Old 05-09-2008, 03:33 PM   #1
Taylor514ce
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Untranslatable Words

Add this book, In Other Words, to the books that should be ebooks thread. Here's an NPR (that's National Public Radio, for non-US citizens) article on the book and author.

I thought with our international membership, we could have a thread on untranslatable words, words that have no equivalent in English (since that's our primary language here).

I loved esprit de I'escalier, from the book.

Or, if you must be Unutterably Silly, you can give examples of words that don't exist but should. In another thread I referred to the word "cryptomammary", which you won't find defined because the author obviously made it up, but it referred to a woman's suit which befuddled his attempts at discerning the size and shape of her breasts. It's a word I will definitely add to my own vocabulary.


Release the hounds!

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Old 05-09-2008, 03:36 PM   #2
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troublé(e)

i have never found a good english equivalent for one specific meaning of this word.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:39 PM   #3
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Well? I think definitions have to be required in this thread. What specific meaning? I only know "troubled".
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:45 PM   #4
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well that's rather the point, isn't it ? i don't know *how* to translate it well. how are you going to translate esprit de l'escalier ?

i'm thinking about it, i'll get back to you.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:48 PM   #5
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esprit de I'escalier [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom)

A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."


We certainly have that feeling in English, and even express it all the time, saying we thought of something too late, etc. But there is no specific term for it, as you have in French.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:54 PM   #6
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oh fine, choose one the OED will define for you...
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:56 PM   #7
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If you had followed the links in the original post, canard, you'll see I took an example directly from the NPR page. Ne soyez pas troublés.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:58 PM   #8
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i planned to, but i got sidetracked trying to translate my word.

(and that's not how it's used.)

i'm going to follow those links now...
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:04 PM   #9
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Ok, here's an example of a word that doesn't exist but should:

avatamare [AY-vuh-tuh-MAR-ay] (verb)

The act of falling in love with someone's avatar.

mozzled Friday, May 9, 2008

I will quietly wait for you to show me how to use it. Baby.

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Old 05-09-2008, 04:07 PM   #10
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I've always like Point Blimfark - the point at which the stage coach wheels go from rotating forward to rotating backward in old western movies.
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor514ce View Post
Ok, here's an example of a word that doesn't exist but should:

avatamare [AY-vuh-tuh-MAR-ay] (verb)

The act of falling in love with someone's avatar.

mozzled Friday, May 9, 2008

I will quietly wait for you to show me how to use it. Baby.
heh, how appropriate that *you* should have mozzled that word...

as for troublé, here's a definition from the french dictionary, translated and explicificated par mes soins :

agitation, confusion.
emotion (in the sense of "being moved", sort of ; yet another word which has a more specific, subtle and complex meaning in french, making this exercise even more difficult...).
usually in a romantic context, but not exclusively.

i should have throught this through before posting that word, i seem to be digging myself into a hole...
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor514ce View Post
Ok, here's an example of a word that doesn't exist but should:

avatamare [AY-vuh-tuh-MAR-ay] (verb)

The act of falling in love with someone's avatar.

mozzled Friday, May 9, 2008
Hey -- I resemble that remark!
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:16 PM   #13
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I've always like Point Blimfark - the point at which the stage coach wheels go from rotating forward to rotating backward in old western movies.
Wait, wait... that term would go into the other thread, unfamiliar words and expressions. You've got your threads all tangled up, pshrynk. This is the thread where you get to make up and define your own words, and/or reveal words in a non-English language with no English equivalent (so that others can be amused by your attempt to do so).

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Old 05-09-2008, 04:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
agitation, confusion.
emotion (in the sense of "being moved", sort of ; yet another word which has a more specific, subtle and complex meaning in french, making this exercise even more difficult...).
usually in a romantic context, but not exclusively.
Oh, I think I know exactly what that feeling is. Yes, indeed.

I frequently am "troubled" by the mere bodily presence of a woman, or her perfume, or the residual warmth in the air as I move through the space she just vacated. Not quite the same as "aroused", but stimulated, distracted, confused, yes... troublé. Wonderful!

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Old 05-09-2008, 05:02 PM   #15
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Alright, someone mozzle a word meaning "to change one's avatar to reflect the context of an unutterably silly thread". And no, "Taylorize" doesn't count.

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