There are articles much like this one scattered over the internet, posts that gather whole bunches of words in other languages that don't have direct translations into English. They’re great articles, full of life and beauty, and they’ve helped me appreciate the incredible diversity of language so much more. I wanted to throw my own two cents into the mix, as someone who speaks both English and Spanish, and tells people all the time that I find Spanish to be the more beautiful language. So, without further ado, here are five Spanish words that English doesn't have. At least, not yet.
1. Sobremesa- This is one of those words that I think English could use because it’s something our culture could use. Sobremesa is time spent after a large meal sitting around the table and simply chatting with the family, and it can last for longer than an hour. A beautiful word, it’s also a nice reminder that the real reason we eat has less to do with what we eat and more to do with who we eat it with.
2. Tutear- This word arises from the fact that, in Spanish, it’s possible to use two different second person pronouns: "tú" or "usted." “Tutear" means addressing someone with the less formal tú, and is a delightful little word that offers us a window into understanding how important things like courtesy used to be, when forms of address could have far-reaching political effects
3. Anteayer- A cute little quirk of language that’s nothing more than an incredibly efficient way to say “the day before yesterday,” this is nonetheless an remarkably fun word. It's also a testament to how sometimes a word can arise just because people say a certain phrase quickly enough that it all blends together.
4. Tuerto- Perhaps my favorite word on the list, this is probably the quickest way in the world to say “a person with one eye.” Why Spanish has this particular word in it or how it came to be, I really don't know. But I do know that I love saying it.
5. Buen Provecho- This is a phrase rather than a word, but the idea is the same here. The Spanish equivalent of “Bon Apetit,” it serves as a reminder that English has no way to really encourage someone to enjoy their meal, and perhaps can also be an inspiration to invent one.
What are some of your favorite untranslatable words, in Spanish or any other language? Let me know in the comments!
With Excitement and Optimism,