Untranslatable words

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Täzari
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Untranslatable words

Post by Täzari »

I don't know if this topic has been already proposed, but I was wondering if there are words in your conlang(s) that you wouldn't know how to translate with a single word in English or in your mother language.

One example from Lözusöteli is the word "ræb" ['raif] (from the same stem, the verb "ræbaka" ['raibaka]) which expresses a feeling similar to love but that doesn't necessarily have something to do with all the things love usually implies (like sex, marriage, creating a relationship) it neither implies to feel attached to a person. Rather it express a connection, a feeling of compatibility between two person who may or may not have any interest towards each other whatsoever. It's like saying "I see inside your heart without need for you to speak" I don't know if I made myself clear.....I'll try to explain this with an example:

Liliþ epekryþüm, seknsiti te þöśum biteś tini śarbil op ræbiśa.
['liliθ e'pekrɪθym 'sekn̩siti 'te 'θøɕum 'biteɕ 'tini 'ɕarbil 'oɸ 'raibiɕa]

Liliþ epekr-y-þüm, sekn-sit-i te þöś-um bit-eś tini śarbil op ræb-i-śa.
although love.subj.-1s.subj.-he.ACC speak.pres.-POT-1s.pres. about this-ACCp thing-ACCpf just with.you because ræbaka.pres.-1s.pres.-you.ACC

"Even though I love him I can speak about these things just with you because I ræbaka you".

Let me hear what you think! [;)]
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by eldin raigmore »

Täzari wrote:... it neither implies to feel attached to a person. Rather it express a connection, …
A connection, but no attachment? Sort of a contradiction in metaphors.

Täzari wrote:I don't know if I made myself clear…..
Not to me.

Täzari wrote:Let me hear what you think! [;)]
Someone might get it, but not me.
[:S] [:(] [:'(] Sorry.
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Lambuzhao
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Lambuzhao »

Well,
I ræbaka you
sounds an awful lot like "I grok you", a coinage from Robert Heinlein.

Got another?
Täzari
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Täzari »

I'm so sorry for not being sufficiently clear.
It's some kind of sentimental connection that needs not to have anything to do with sharing a real relationship. Sometimes it is a feeling that overcomes also our likings, for instance I can have this connection also with a person that I can't stand. For some reason I just can "read the feelings" of that person, I can tell what he/she thinks or how he/she feels in every situation because I would think or feel the same.
Forgive me, I really don't know how to express this with better words... [:S] [:(]

Another word is "tumnæp" [tum'naiɸ] (adjective) that indicates a bare, genuine or hidden beauty. This word usually refers to something that is usually old, broken, dusty with no decoration whatsoever or to an empty natural space with no particular geological feature that would be normally defined interesting. This word is used when we feel that in the decaying or inane state we witness there is something that moves us in a positive way.

Kaþædæ beteś hvå hvube en aþeśki þegnezonta nun byüttet par iśśe: þaś faśt tumnæp.
"The remains of the house that burnt in the summer stood now trapped by the ice: that was tumnæp"
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Squall »

I define my lexicon independently from natlangs.
  • I merge some words into one: voflaw (see, look, observe)
  • I split some words into multiple words:
    • seyfaw: like, love (does not include passion or lust)
    • loraw: be passionate
  • I use the words differently ("I have detected a noise" instead of "I have heard a noise".)
Other different words:
  • kanraw: internal wish, the true wish, but it is not the decision. (I like pizza and I would love to eat it; but I do not want to eat it, because it will ruin my diet.)
  • deysaw: external wish, the resulting decision. (I am sick and I want to drink that medicine, but I would prefer not drinking it, because it tastes bad.)
A prefix is used to put the verbs into the augmentative:
want -> desire, like -> love
Last edited by Squall on 27 Sep 2014 02:57, edited 1 time in total.
English is not my native language. Sorry for any mistakes or lack of knowledge when I discuss this language.
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thaen
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by thaen »

Since my conlang has a telic/atelic distinction, some verbs don't translate exactly. They require extra explaining.

Lpekaem
l-pekae-0-m-0-0
1sg>2sg-love-IMPF-ATELIC-IND-NPST

It means something along the lines of "I have never not loved you, nor will I ever stop," or "my love for you has no beginning or end," even though it's a transitive "I love you," most times in English it cannot be translated that way without losing a vital part of the meaning.

Lpekae
l-pekae-0-0-0-0
1sg>2sg-love-IMPF-TELIC-IND-NPST
"I love you"
But this way normally wouldn't be used for someone you truly love, like a child or a mate, since the implication is that the action has endpoints, which could impart the wrong idea.

Lpekaekem
l-pekae-0-ke-m-0-0
1sg>2sg-love-IMPF-INC-ATELIC-IND-NPST
This uses the inceptive aspect. Though it seems contradictory using the inceptive with an action that has no beginning or end, I suppose it could be interpreted as the beginning of the culmination of that action, such as, starting to act on that action, which has always existed. Like, "I have always and always will love you, and I am now beginning to do something about it" or something.
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All4Ɇn
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by All4Ɇn »

Currently there's only one in my conlang:
La Selladorȩ [sɛladɔ˞] which fittingly enough means something similar to a deep, dark pain that no one can understand but you

Quiyõn é la Selladorȩ
[kijɑ̃n e la sɛladɔ˞]
No one has my/the Selladorȩ
Last edited by All4Ɇn on 26 Sep 2014 08:30, edited 2 times in total.
Khemehekis
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Khemehekis »

Kankonian words:

bobom: to lie prone with one's elbows on the ground and one's face in one's hands
tukheb: slave who is sacrificed to be buried along with his/her master
tzips: to pour water on one's armpits
wantzwaz Natshapik: the practice of making a deal or bet, losing and not giving the other person what you promised her/him if s/he won
myukataph: the changing of an idiom or saying to make it appropriate for the species in question; to change a phrase thusly (Examples would be in the book Shrek when the ogres "hissed it over" instead of talking it over, or the Pokémon episode in which Meowth said, "I give this movie two paws down!")
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My Kankonian-English dictionary: 80,000 words and counting

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Thrice Xandvii
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Thrice Xandvii »

I feel like the thread title is a bit of a misnomer. The mere fact that you are all able to describe what the word means prove it in fact is not "untranslatable."

Though, carry on regardless, it's an interesting thread.
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Lambuzhao
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Lambuzhao »

Täzari wrote: ...compatibility...
Täzari wrote: connection also with a person that I can't stand
[O.o] Hubbawha? [O.o] I'm on Eldin's boat now, Täzari.
Yeah, as you suggest, a more complete definition.
Well, for comparison's sake, here's Heinlein's own definition of grok:

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.
XXXVII wrote:I feel like the thread title is a bit of a misnomer. The mere fact that you are all able to describe what the word means prove it in fact is not "untranslatable."

Though, carry on regardless, it's an interesting thread.
I would agree with you there, however, ya gotta admit
Kankonian O'erlord and Vavoid wrote:bobom: to lie prone with one's elbows on the ground and one's face in one's hands
Pretty darn common action among under-tree&on-grass readers, on-carpet tv-watchers, daydreamers, conlangers, etc. Yet nary a one of my conlangs has one single word for it, and my own native language, embarrassingly, must explain it away in a full on compound-complex sentence [:|]

[+1] Khemehekis
tzips: to pour water on one's armpits
Is this while showering/bathing in an upright position, or while hanging upside-down?

Do you mean 'splash water...' ?

hehehe I guess it just fails in translation [xP]
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by eldin raigmore »

Lambuzhao wrote:
tzips: to pour water on one's armpits
Is this while showering/bathing in an upright position, or while hanging upside-down?
CBBers take notice: Lambuzhao actually reads and thinks about your posts.
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Lambuzhao
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Lambuzhao »

eldin raigmore wrote:
Lambuzhao wrote:
tzips: to pour water on one's armpits
Is this while showering/bathing in an upright position, or while hanging upside-down?
CBBers take notice: Lambuzhao actually reads and thinks about your posts.
Thanks [:)]
Well, heaven forbid I get my ablutions all wrong when I come visit yer conworlds in the Sandaftermost Life. I'd really be 'all wet' then, now wouldn't I?
[;)]
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All4Ɇn
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by All4Ɇn »

Khemehekis wrote: myukataph: the changing of an idiom or saying to make it appropriate for the species in question; to change a phrase thusly (Examples would be in the book Shrek when the ogres "hissed it over" instead of talking it over, or the Pokémon episode in which Meowth said, "I give this movie two paws down!")
I really like this one, really interesting concept. I feel like there has to be a natlang somewhere with a similar word.
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Khemehekis »

Lambuzhao wrote:
Kankonian O'erlord and Vavoid wrote:bobom: to lie prone with one's elbows on the ground and one's face in one's hands
Pretty darn common action among under-tree&on-grass readers, on-carpet tv-watchers, daydreamers, conlangers, etc. Yet nary a one of my conlangs has one single word for it, and my own native language, embarrassingly, must explain it away in a full on compound-complex sentence [:|]

[+1] Khemehekis
What's a vavoid?

Yeah, I've seen album covers where the artist is sitting in that position? Why doesn't English have a word for it?
tzips: to pour water on one's armpits
Is this while showering/bathing in an upright position, or while hanging upside-down?

Do you mean 'splash water...' ?

hehehe I guess it just fails in translation [xP]
Good point. I'll change the gloss to "splasj . . . ".
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 80,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!
Khemehekis
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Khemehekis »

All4Ɇn wrote:
Khemehekis wrote: myukataph: the changing of an idiom or saying to make it appropriate for the species in question; to change a phrase thusly (Examples would be in the book Shrek when the ogres "hissed it over" instead of talking it over, or the Pokémon episode in which Meowth said, "I give this movie two paws down!")
I really like this one, really interesting concept. I feel like there has to be a natlang somewhere with a similar word.
Thanks. Sounds like the kind of thing people who study rhetoric should've cobbled a word for from Greek.

"Myukataph" came from Ancient Ciladian, which has the same relationship to Kankonian as Ancient Greek does to English. Myu means "kind, sort, type; species", while kataph means "to fix; to tidy up".
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 80,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!
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Thrice Xandvii
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Thrice Xandvii »

Khemehekis wrote:What's a vavoid?
Who said that?

Google seems to offer no immediate clues either.
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Lambuzhao
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Lambuzhao »

Woops!

I meant Voivod/Воєво́да

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voivode

I meant no misqueme.
[:S]
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by eldin raigmore »

Lambuzhao wrote:…. misqueme. ...
I had to look that up.
According to Wordnik and also to Wiktionary (and also to the Urban Dictionary and other sources in this search), it's a transitive verb. So you misused it (if they're right). You meant to say "I didn't mean to misqueme (anyone)", (dropping the object). But don't worry; I wasn't misquemed by that. [;)]

Still: You could answer the question "what's a vavoid?". Clearly (by analogy with "deltoid") it's anything that's shaped like ו the Hebrew letter vav.
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Creyeditor »

Are relatives of 'vav' also vavoid?
Like Syriac ܘ, arabic و and maybe even Latin F,W,V,Y,U?
Or does it just depend on the form of the letter?
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Re: Untranslatable words

Post by Khemehekis »

XXXVII wrote:
Khemehekis wrote:What's a vavoid?
Who said that?
When Lambuzhao quoted "bobom", instead of Khemehekis wrote: at the top of the quote, he put Kankonian O'erlord and Vavoid wrote:.
Last edited by Khemehekis on 28 Sep 2014 06:12, edited 1 time in total.
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 80,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!
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