untranslatable expressions

In Brazilian Portugese we don’t say “I miss you.” we say “Saudade.” which is an untranslateable expression for “Loneliness, melancholy and nostalgy - a feeling of former excitement and happiness which turned to emptiness when the referred person or object is gone.” and I think that’s really deep.

Untranslatable Norwegian #16

Been a while!

Today’s expression:

“Å ha svin på skogen”

This literally translates to “Having pigs in the forest”. The meaning though, is “hiding something” or “not mentioning something”. In Norway, back in the day, farms used to have their value determined by the state. Some farmers decided to hide some of their livestock in the woods so the tax officer wouldn`t count them in the total value. When this happened, neighbors of said farmers could make it clear to the tax officer that their neighbor literally had “pigs in the forest”.

So nowadays, if someone says “Han der, han har nån svin på skogen” it means “That guy is totally hiding something”.

Antonin Artaud from The Theatre and Its Double 

All true feeling is in reality untranslatable. To express it is to betray it. But to translate it is to dissimulate it. True expression hides what it makes manifest. It sets the mind in opposition to the real void of nature by creating in reaction a kind of fullness in thought. Or, in other terms, in relation to the manifestation-illusion of nature it creates a void in thought. 

All powerful feeling produces in us the idea of the void. And the lucid language which obstructs the appearance of this void also obstructs the appearance of poetry in thought. That is why an image, an allegory, a figure that masks what it would reveal have more significance for the spirit than the lucidities of speech and its analytics.

This is why true beauty never strikes us directly. The setting sun is beautiful because of all it makes us lose.

anonymous asked:

What is your favorite untranslatable idiom/expression in each language you know? (like, favorite in French, favorite in English, and even if you know an idiom in a language that you aren't fluent in go ahead and list that too) :)

the french expression for “i dont give a shit” literally translates to “theres nothing about this i can jerk off to” and it makes me happy every time i think of it

Untranslatable Norwegian #10


I’m not even going to try to find an English equivalent to this word. But imagine this: if you have, let’s say, two siblings, born ten and twelve years before you were born? Then you are what we call an attpåklatt. So basically, it means “a child born much later than its older siblings”.

Untranslatable Norwegian #5


Directly translated, it would be something like “unthing”, but I’ve yet to hear someone use that as an expression.  But trust me, there’s a lot of “uting” going on in other countries too. Basically, “uting” covers things that kind of interfere with social norms. Speaking loudly on the phone in public, making loud noises when eating (in countries where you are expected to be quiet when eating.. for example, in Norway), throwing garbage on the ground.. all of these would be considered an “uting” in Norway. It can also be used for expressing opinions, for example:

“Personlig så synes jeg det er en uting at å gå til frisøren skal være så dyrt.”  =
`Personally I think it’s an uting that going to the hairdresser is so expensive”