Favorite un-translateable exclamations from languages that aren't my first (which is English)

Français: "Bof", kinda like "meh" but with a longer history I think

Hindi/Urdu: "Yar" the way they use it, it's like a combination of "yeah" and "yo," plus they sound like pirates! 😊

Have you got any similar appreciations? If English isn't your first language, feel free to share which oddities tickle you.


Dutch/Danish: Gezellig/Gezelligheid - Hygge/Hyggelig

Which, uhm, is un-translateable :P

I've heard of this word before, I know it has no direct translation but doesn't it have to do with home and cozy feelings?

@SallyStrange @chillallmen yeah it's kinda like cozy but it can be used for so many things. Like, it can be a response to a question: "Hey you wanna go see that new movie?" "Yes 'gezellig'!" Just means you like the thing(s) you will be/are doing

@SallyStrange another one would be 'lekker' from Dutch. Which translates to 'tasty'. But in Dutch can be used in place of tasty, pleasurable, and some others. So it's kinda like nice, but not really.

@SallyStrange "Yar" threw me off at first because it is also the word for "close friend", then I realised what you meant

Ah see I didn't know that; I speak some Hindi and have only observed that Urdu speakers pepper their speech with it also. Maybe the Hindi speakers borrowed it!

@SallyStrange anecdotally, it seems to be a thing shared among the big 3 Southeastern Asian languages (Hindi, Urdu, and Bengali), I've seen Bengali folks use the 'yar' phrase in that manner as well

[I speak Bengali for context, grew up watching Hindi movies]

I also enjoy "arée" and "arée baap" (non-official transliteration there but I think you know what I mean)

@SallyStrange hah yeah I know what you mean

the Bengali speaker equivalent is "arée baba", baap and baba are both common words for father in Bengali but in that phrase, it doesn't usually actually mean father

@SallyStrange to your question in your original post, as an English and Bengali speaker I find it amusing when people say "chai tea latte" because chai just means tea in Hindi/Urdu/Bengali so essentially you are saying "tea tea latte"

@staticsafe @SallyStrange That's one of those things where a loaned word for a more universal category becomes synonymous with particular expressions of it tied to the 'foreign' culture the word is being loaned from, particularly common it seems with foodstuffs; much like how in Canada and the U.S. we say "salsa" and normally don't just mean "sauce"!


("I agree emphatically")

("Please inform me of any current events of particular interest")

yeah, nah
("I am undecided")

@SallyStrange I never know how to translate “caprice” from French, and relating words like “capricieux”. It's a noun used to talk about someone, usually a child, or in a childish manner, really wanting something, almost to the point of being upset if not fulfilled. It's hard to describe lol

@SallyStrange it's kind of like a whim, but it has more of immature/childish meaning to the word I think

Ahahaha c'est bien marrant. Because English straight up stole that word.

Chevrolet even named a cute little car after it.


What do you mean by "longer history" for bof ?

meh and bof are pretty close, meh is more like "it kinda bothers me but I'll manage" (I think), bof is more like "it's kinda boring, I don't really care" but could also mean "it's a bit annoying" too sometimes.

I could be totally off base but I feel like "meh" took off in the 90s/00s whereas "bof" has been around longer than that

@SallyStrange And ironically a bunch of French people use "meh" :D

Too funny! I'm going to start saying bof again just to balance things out.

@SallyStrange In my language, Chichewa, there's a word that means "scooping up/squeezing out/pouring out/slurping up/gathering up the remains of something" (as one would the last bit of toothpaste, or the last morsels of food). I can't, for the life of me, find an english equivalent that not only captures the act, but conveys the frustration that this action inspires. The word is: Kukombezela.

@SallyStrange Swedish:

Fika (to have coffee or tea with a snack or bakery goods, and hang out)

Lagom (not too much nor too little)

Orka (literal translation is "to have energy" but is also used these days to mean "I can't be arsed/who had energy for that")

@maloki @SallyStrange also "Nämen" in swedish is pretty fun. I'm not sure what the direct translation is, but it can be used for endearment, surprise and disdain/disgust.
so "Nämen Älskling" = "My darling!"
"Nämen hej!!!" = you bump into someone in the street and say hi
"Nämen usch" = eurgh

Also, in German "feierabend", which can refer to anything you're looking forward to after a hard day's work. (used to think it only applied to beer, but in looking up the spelling learned it can be anything)

@SallyStrange Not exactly untranslatable words, but in Spanish we have several expressions regarding milk that non-native speakers usually find weird. For example, if something is "la leche" (the milk), then it is something really really good, but if I "me cago en la leche" (shit on the milk) I'm just expressing some kind frustration. One can also be "de mala leche" (of bad milk), which just means to be angry.

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Eldritch Café

Une instance se voulant accueillante pour les personnes queers, féministes et anarchistes ainsi que pour leurs sympathisant·e·s. Nous sommes principalement francophones, mais vous êtes les bienvenu·e·s quelque soit votre langue.