Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Swedish words that don't translate to an English word

I was asked years ago to have a document translated from French into English. I decided to try to translate it myself. It didn't take me long to realize that I was the original author of the paper.

As I began to translate the document, I then realized that English has a much larger vocabulary than the French language. That triggered me to look at other languages and the richness of each one's vocabulary. I was surprised at the limited size of the vocabulary of many languages.

My research confirmed that English is a language of a very rich vocabulary. However, all of us English speakers shouldn't get too cocky. My Swedish friend gave me a list of Swedish words that had no single English word equivalent.

I suspect that I'd find similar lists in other languages.

These are the words that my friend gave me and their meaning in English:

Bädda – to make the bed

Diska – do the dishes

Övermorgon – day after tomorrow

Träningsvärk – training ache

Hen – he or she

Somna – to fall asleep

Snyt – to blow your nose

Mil – ten kilometers

Sugen – something you have a real desire for

Sambo – someone who lives together with their boyfriend or girlfriend

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