Aug 27th 2013

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

The relationship between words and their meaning is a fascinating one, and linguists have spent countless years deconstructing it, taking it apart letter by letter, and trying to figure out why there are so many feelings and ideas that we cannot even put words to, and that our languages cannot identify.

The idea that words cannot always say everything has been written about extensively – as Friedrich Nietzsche said:

Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.

No doubt the best book we’ve read that covers the subject is ‘Through The Language Glass‘ by Guy Deutscher, which goes a long way to explaining and understanding these loopholes – the gaps which mean there are leftover words without translations, and concepts that cannot be properly explained across cultures.

Somehow narrowing it down to just a handful, we’ve illustrated 11 of these wonderful, untranslatable, if slightly elusive, words. We will definitely be trying to incorporate a few of them into our everyday conversations, and hope that you enjoy recognizing a feeling or two of your own among them.

Visit Maptia for more interesting posts.

1.  German: Waldeinsamkeit

A feeling of solitude, being alone in the woods and a connection to nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson even wrote a whole poem about it.

2. Italian: Culaccino

The mark left on a table by a cold glass. Who knew condensation could sound so poetic.

3. Inuit: Iktsuarpok


The feeling of anticipation that leads you to go outside and check if anyone is coming, and probably also indicates an element of impatience.

4. Japanese: Komorebi

This is the word the Japanese have for when sunlight filters through the trees – the interplay between the light and the leaves.

5. Russian: Pochemuchka

Someone who asks a lot of questions. In fact, probably too many questions. We all know a few of these.

6. Spanish: Sobremesa


Spaniards tend to be a sociable bunch, and this word describes the period of time after a meal when you have food-induced conversations with the people you have shared the meal with.

7. Indonesian: Jayus

Their slang for someone who tells a joke so badly, that is so unfunny you cannot help but laugh out loud.

8. Hawaiian: Pana Poʻo


You know when you forget where you’ve put the keys, and you scratch your head because it somehow seems to help you remember? This is the word for it.

9. French: Dépaysement

The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country – of being a foreigner, or an immigrant, of being somewhat displaced from your origin.

10. Urdu: Goya

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, but is also an official language in 5 of the Indian states. This particular Urdu word conveys a contemplative ‘as-if’ that nonetheless feels like reality, and describes the suspension of disbelief that can occur, often through good storytelling.

11. Swedish: Mangata


The word for the glimmering, roadlike reflection that the moon creates on water.

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Aug 15th 2013

Aug 12th 2013

Ginger Ranks High in Huffington Post Top 10 Startups

We’re proud to be part of the Huffington Post’s top 10 Israeli startups! You can read the entire article here.

Ginger epitomizes the startup working environment almost like no other startup on the local scene. When you enter the Ginger offices, you cannot help but feel invigorated by the high-energy buzz that floats around the offices. The tangibly frantic, yet focused pace that hovers above Ginger employees as they run from meeting to meeting is perhaps the single most powerful evidence of its startup working environment. This energy is derived from the feeling that Ginger is truly creating something valuable for the world, in a sphere where before Ginger there was nothing.

 

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Jul 17th 2013

How to improve your English as part of a new community

Have you recently moved far from home into a new English speaking community? Is English your second, or third, language? Here are some tips that will help you brush up on your English while helping you integrate into your new community. Good luck!

1. Volunteer in Your New Community
Volunteering is a great way to practice your English while giving back to your community. You can volunteer with senior citizens, at a library or other places in your community. A simple Google search for “volunteer opportunities [your city]” will give you an idea of what volunteer opportunities your new city has to offer. Volunteering also creates an immersion environment for learning English. Studies show that immersion in the language that you are learning will greatly increase the chances of becoming fluent.

2. Get out and read!
One of the best places to hang out as a new immigrant is the local library. There, you can browse thousands of books, newspapers and usually the internet for free. Be on the lookout for English learning books that will help you expand your vocabulary. While it is tempting to stay at home and live in a bubble of your native language during your first days, weeks or months in a new country, spending a few hours each day at the library to read will help you improve your English while being somewhere somewhat social. Make friends with the librarians, practice your English with them and work on making your conversations longer and longer. Grab a seat, get a book and start reading.

3. What are friends for?
The next step is making new friends in your community. Luckily there are some great free resources on the internet for meeting people with similar interests. Use www.meetup.com to find regular hangouts of people with similar interests. Search for discussions, philosopher’s cafes and events related to your hobbies or occupation and try to attend as many as possible. At these events, set a small goal of talking to 5 people. It can be hard at first, but it gets easier as you work harder and harder chatting with strangers. Once you start making friends, speak English with them. Start by talking in person or on the phone so you are using complete sentences before you begin exchanging SMS’s as proper grammar and spelling are usually not present in text messages.

Lastly, stay positive, moving to a new country isn’t easy. Turn the stress that comes with the move into energy to spend meeting new people and perfecting your English! What tips can you add?

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Jul 16th 2013

3 Ways to improve your English communication skills

Are you looking for new ways to improve your English communication skills?
Here are 3 easy ways:

1. Listen to English Speaking Shows

Find an interesting TV show, radio show, or even podcast that you can listen to both at home and on the go. Spend as much of your downtime as possible listening to spoken English. ITunes offers a great variety of hour long podcasts that you can directly download to your mp3 player. Listening to spoken English will help you improve your improve your vocabulary, learn better sentence structure and make learning the correct pronunciation of difficult words even easier.

2. Start A Blog
Use your hobbies, field of study or career path to help you learn English. While you may have a solid foundation in reading, writing and speaking in English, there will be many words that are specific to your hobbies, studies or career that will not come up in everyday conversations or during your English classes. To master these interest specific words, try writing a regular blog about subjects related to your field of study, interests or career path. Even if you are just summarizing articles in English, you will quickly become familiar with the English translations of words that you are already familiar with in your native language.

3. Use Ginger’s English Personal Trainer
Ginger’s English Personal Trainer keeps track of the mistakes that you make while writing both in MS Office and online in your browser and uses these errors to determine which are your weakest areas of English. Ginger will present you with personalized lessons based on your weak areas to help you fix your problematic areas of English. Download Ginger’s Personal Trainer HERE!

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