Tuesday Folly: Untranslatable Words

Happy Friday to all my LSAT prep friends! I hope your prep is going swimmingly, and you’re seeing that lovely three-digit score of yours get bigger and bigger. I’m always an advocate of setting aside time for a small break at some point during your week. So, I thought I’d kick start your little break by going over one of my most favorite topics: words. I stumbled upon a pretty intriguing article a few days ago about the dearth of appropriate words in the English language. I know many of you may be thinking, dearth?! The English language has way too many words! Wrong! There are actually so many languages that have amazing words I’m sure we’d all use if they were available. Let’s delve in:

  1. Toska This is a Russian word that Vladmir Nabokov has described as: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels, it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
  2. Mamihlapinatapei This is a word from the indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego, Yagan. “The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.”
  3. Tartle This is an amazing Scottish word that I direly wish we had in the English language. It is the act of hesitation while you introduce someone because you have forgotten his or her name—an affliction I am fraught with.
  4. Torschlusspanik Here we have a German word that refers to the fear one feels as they get older of their supposed diminishing opportunities.
  5. Dépaysement This is a French word meaning the feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country. As an avid traveler, I am quite familiar with this word, and wish we had its English equivalent.

Okay! I hope that was a nice beginning to your break this week. Remember, giving yourself some breaks throughout your LSAT prep is actually beneficial for your score. You don’t want to burn out. Take a few extra breaks this weekend, spend some time with your loved ones, and get in some productive non-LSAT reading practice.

Happy Studying and Happy Friday!

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