• satori
    Sudden enlightenment or intuitive understanding. […]


From beautiful mistranslations to untranslatables. This post comes courtesy of a link posted by a friend on Facebook. Here are all the concepts you always knew you were somehow lacking. One of my favourites is ‘tartle’ – to hesitate while introducing someone because you have forgotten their name, but I think top of the list for me comes ‘iktsuarpok’ from inuit – meaning to go outside and check if someone is coming. That really would warrant a whole word of its own if it involved five layers of clothing, heading out into the blizzard, only to see that alas, no-one is back yet from the hunt. It’s like opening the fridge door a couple more times, just to make absolutely sure that you can’t somehow magic a carton of milk back into it, so that you won’t have to go to the shop, or wandering round a shop for the third time, sure that that thing you were looking for is really there somewhere, you just haven’t spotted it yet. There is a quotation attributed to Albert Einstein, which defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  How many times do you have to layer up and get a blast of icy wind in your face popping your head out of the igloo to look out for your mate in order for this to become a key concept for you? For me this word represents the triumph of  hope over adversity against all probability, all in the name of fellow feeling. How very mad! How very human!

Iglu 1999-04-02

1 comment to Untranslatables

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