Give examples of words that English is missing

Travis   Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:12 am GMT
>>There's only one thing I really miss in English and that's a polite and an informal form of 'you' singular. :-)<<

Actually, that is one aspect of English that I do like, as opposed to, say, the "du"/"Sie" contrast in German, as I don't have to actually decide whether to use an informal or a formal second person singular pronoun when speaking to individuals, and thus I don't have to decide what their social position relative to myself really is (or what I would want such to appear as).
Lazar   Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:59 am GMT
English "you" is such a dynamic word - it's for singular and plural; formal and informal; subject and object. Just as an example, it encompasses 7 Peninsular Spanish pronouns: "tú", "te", "ti", "vosotros/vosotras", "os", "Usted", and "Ustedes".

And yet interestingly, there is one distinction that is made in English but *not* in Spanish: "you" versus "yourself". In Spanish, "you" (objective case) and "yourself" are both "te".
Travis   Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:07 am GMT
>>English "you" is such a dynamic word - it's for singular and plural; formal and informal; subject and object. Just as an example, it encompasses 7 Peninsular Spanish pronouns: "tú", "te", "ti", "vosotros/vosotras", "os", "Usted", and "Ustedes".<<

This is with the exceptions, though, that in informal language, very many North American English dialects have acquired a new singular/plural distinction in the second person singular, and also that the second person singular and plural are also distinguished in English in general in the *reflexive*, by "yourself" versus "yourselves", even though they are not otherwise distinguished in formal language. As for the former, for me at least, I generally think of "you" as singular, and when I want to use the plural I generally use "you guys" or "you all", or in more formal language "all of you", rather than just "you", and from other individuals, such a Kirk, I have heard similar things. This, in itself, implies an actual new distinction rather than simply an alternate set of usages for the plural.
Guest   Tue Oct 18, 2005 7:40 am GMT
Many missing (new) words in theothersaurus:
Fuu   Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:01 am GMT
I think a lot of things pointed out in the difference between lack of words in any language is more culturally based than actual dialect.
Language serves the needs of the people speaking it: An english native speaker will definitely find that, raised in an English 1st country, English is easy to communicate in, and allows for rich and perfectly clear meanings. The same can be said for any other countries, and speakers. Really, when it comes to word differences, sometimes there is a common emotion, idea, or prevailing thought in which it is necessairy to find a simple, short way of saying it. In other parts of the worlds, it's not as common or necessary, and therefore two words or three words are used. Same meaning in the end, just based on necessity, has been shortened in one and not in the other.
On that note, sometimes there are exactly equivilant meanings in English (sometimes not) for certain words, especially if it's pretaining to what we see or feel. Take into account the connotation to a word, or the emotion that the word evokes. Most native english speakers know very well what melancholy means. However, because it describes an emotion that is commonly felt at some point, there is a connotation attached to the word. Thus, it's about picking A) the right word (or set of words) and B) understanding connotation. Connotation may even be considered impossible if it's a foreing language, because connotations are usually cultural.
Just..a little tid bit I thought I'd share....=)
Lidewij   Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:35 pm GMT
The word I miss in English is the Dutch word ''gezellig''. Gezellig is a positive word and it means something like cosy, but nobody says cosy. ''Gezellig'' is used very often, to describe how a place looks like or to say how much fun you had with friends.
Adam   Sun Nov 06, 2005 12:31 pm GMT
Coincidentally, there was an article in a recent edition of the Scottish newspaper The Daily Record about words that othe rlanguages have that are missing in English.

For example, Scottish Gaelic has a word - "sgriob" - which describes the itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking whisky (Well, it would, wouldn't it?)

24 September 2005


That's Japanese for a womanwho looks better from behind than she does from front

By Greig Box
BRITONS may have difficulty saying what they feel when things turn out better than expected, but the Germans have an exact word for it - scheissenbedauern.

And while the English language has no word to sum up a woman who looks better from behind than from in front, the Japanese call her bakku-shan.

It seems almost anything can be expressed somewhere in the world with a simple word that has no direct English equivalent.

And a new book of the world's weirdest words has collected many of them, along with bizarre facts such as the Albanians having 27 separate words for both eyebrow and moustache.

We've probably all met a neko-neko even if we didn't know the Indonesian term for a person who has a creative idea which only makes things worse.

And there's probably not much call in Britain for the concept of areodjarekput - the Inuit word for the practice of exchanging wives for a few days only.

Trawled Former BBC researcher Adam Jacot de Boinod trawled through two million words in 280 dictionaries and 140 websites for his book , The Meaning Of Tingo.

He says his favourite is the word in the title, tingo, which is from the Pascuense language of Easter Island and means to borrow objects from a friend's house,one by one, until there is nothing left.

Boinod said: "I was working on Stephen Fry's show QI when I became interested in the wonderful foreign words that don't have direct translations into English.

"My interest became an obsession and I gobbled up dictionaries, trawled the internet, phoned embassies and tracked down speakers from all corners of the world.

"English is brilliant at naturalising words such as ad hoc or feng shui and I'd like to see some of my favourites in general use."

If a Persian speaker calls you mahj, you might not know whether to be pleased or insulted. It means looking beautiful after a disease.

And even languages closer to home contain a variety of odd words. The French have Saint-Glinglin to mean a date that is put off indefinitely and Italians use slampadato to mean a person tanned by a sunlamp.

The Dutch word queesting means allowing a lover access to one's bed for chats and the Russian razbliuto means the feeling for someone you used to love but no longer do.

Words unlikely to be in a phrasebook include the Indonesian mencolek, to touch someone lightly with one finger in order to tease them.

Visitors to Russia should not buy from a koshatnik - a seller of stolen cats - while kualanapuhi is Hawaiian for an officer who keeps the flies away from a sleeping king by waving a brush.

But some concepts are so familiar it's surprising we don't have single-word terms for them.

They include the Central American ataoso, a person who sees problems with everything.

Or there's kitbitzer, Yiddish for someone who interferes with useless advice, and the German fisselig, for someone flustered to the point of incompetence.

And a goyang kaki is what Indonesians call someone who relaxes while others sort out problems.

Closer to home, it may be no surprise that there is a Gaelic word for itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking whisky - sgriob.

And drinkers will recognise the the Icelandic bjor-reifr - cheerful from beer drinking.

Boinod had to let some personal favourites go as they could not be confirmed. He said: "Age-otori is a Japanese word which means to look worse after a haircut. I've been there myself."

#The Meaning of Tingo is published on Thursday by Penguin


Nakhur (Persian) camel that won#t give milk until her nostrils are tickled Areodjarekput(Inuit) to exchange wives for a few days only.

Marilopotes (Ancient Greekgulper of coaldust Cigerci (Turkishseller of liver and lungs

Madogiwazoku(Japanesewindow gazers (office workers who sit at desks with little to do) Seigneurterrasse (French) person who spends Tsuji-giri (Japanmuch time but little money in a cafe ese) trying out a new sword on a passer-by

Torschlusspanik (German) the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older Scheissenbedauern (German) disappointment when something turns out not nearly as badly you had been expecting.

Tingo (Easter Island) to borrow objects from a friend's house one by one until there's nothing left
dsl   Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:02 am GMT
when people learn a language as a second language they always compare it to their mother language ,so they feel that something is missing or wrong in this language .For example in arabic we don't have words equal to the english words nephew or niece we rather say the son/duaghter of my brother/sister ,though we dont feel that something is missing.
Ehsan   Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:24 pm GMT
I believe that if you analyze the languages of the world, you will come to this conclusion that every language has its own shortages and missing words. It is not fair that only English language is questioned here and only missing words of this language is put for discussion. We have to highlight weak points of other languages as well.
Moreover, a language that specifies plural, singular, masculine, feminine etc. in a sentence could be too sophisticated to be learned. In fact, when a language is considered as an international language, these features are neither useful nor necessary. So the languages which formulized the sentences in a complex way are not appropriate for the purpose of international communication.
eito(jpn)   Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:29 pm GMT
>>It is not fair that only English language is questioned here and only missing words of this language is put for discussion. We have to highlight weak points of other languages as well.<<

Please keep in mind this is the English forum. No wonder peeple are talking about anything related to English.
Sander   Mon Nov 14, 2005 4:11 pm GMT
=>The Dutch word queesting means allowing a lover access to one's bed for chats<=

LOL!!! I can assure you 'queesting ' isn't Dutch!
me   Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:28 pm GMT
'Queesting' sounds good to me !
jane   Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:52 pm GMT
What do I really miss in English? The words for the "day after tomorrow ", "day before yesterday", and also for the "one and a half".
Amatire   Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:31 pm GMT
Love the word Hiraeth. I've often wished we could adopt it into English (which is usually what we do when we haven't got the right word ourselves). So what foreign words would you chose to add to English? And how would you anglicize it? Although I imagine if it was used a great deal then it would rapidly start to be Anglicized simply through usage.

Where I come from it's usual to use 'Tha' 'thou' or 'thee' for an informal version of 'You' and add the relevent '-st' to the verb.

"hast tha' got owt for me t'do tudday?" - have you got anything for me to do today?

the equivalents for 'love' aren't always that useful, you can't say to a friend 'I affection you' so what you're really doing is substituting two words for one "I have affection for you" which therefore doesn't count as an alternative word for love. I've often wondered about substituting the Greek words for love with ours, though how they could be changed to be easier for an English person to speak I don't know.

As for God, well the english word originally meant "one to whom supplication is given" or in actual fact the act of supplication itself. It wasn't used as a name for any specific god. As for God, (as in the actual deity) well for a Christian and a Jew his name - as he gave it himself in their scriptures is 'YHWH" which is often anglicized as "yahweh" or "jehovah" and is usually translated into English as "Lord" (Hebrew for Lord is Adonai, but a Jew would prefer to use Adonai rather than the actual name of God out of a desire to not use his name too flippantly). I have *heard* that Allah was originally the name of a specific god, I don't know how true that is, and certainly now it is used in arabic to mean the one and only God. So whatever it's meaning in the pre-muslim past I don't suppose it matters all that much. However, I do know Christians who would find it a little unnerving, and even offensive to call their God Allah. Perhaps because there is a character with a similar name in their scriptures called Baal (same root word) another god who is seen as an enemy of the God they worship. But the Hebrew 'El' which means 'god' or 'a god' and is used in the same way as the modern English word 'God' is also from the same root word as Baal and Allah and any number of other regional gods in the area and is considered perfectly acceptable, so I'm not sure just how accurate the whole issue is or if it is merely a matter of semantics. Perhaps their reasoning is the name Allah is not mentioned in their scriptures as a name for God but the word El is. I don't know.

I'm aware this is a delicate issue, so I hope I haven't stoked the flames at all, I think it's an interesting philological discussion to have but I'm aware that some might take such a discussion more to heart than others.
assfooseball   Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:32 am GMT
examples of stripes