What concepts do not exist in the English language?
September 27, 2004 7:11 PM Subscribe
What concepts do not exist in the English language? [mi]
posted by pedantic to Writing & Language (80 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Carl Honoré (In Praise of Slow
) says Canada's Baffin Island Inuit "use the same word—'uvatiarru'—to mean both 'in the distant past' and 'in the distant future.' Time, in such cultures, is always coming as well as going."
In an essay by Louise Edrich (Two Languages in Mind, but Just One in the Heart
), she writes about learning Ojibwemownin and how "nouns are mainly desginated as alive or dead, animate or inanimate...once I began to think of stones as animate, I started to wonder whether I was picking up a stone or it was putting iteslf in my hand."
I'm fascinated by language reflecting culture and vice versa. Any reference you've run across in passing or even know about as a multi-lingual MeFite is welcome. Moreover, if English isn't your primary language, what words/concepts made you take pause?