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People from foreign countries share their 15 favorite words with no English equivalent

There are some thoughts and feelings that are lost in translation.

languages, english, translations

A group of friends discuss linguistics.

Even though humans worldwide share the same senses, feelings, needs, wants and desires, our languages and the ways we communicate have evolved separately, so some languages have phrases and words that have no equivalent in others.

These words often emerge from the unique cultures, histories, and environments that shape each language. It's like a special secret, a word that captures a feeling, a situation, or an object so precisely that perhaps no other word in any other language can replicate it exactly.

The uniqueness of each language showcases the beauty and diversity of human experiences and perspectives. Moreover, it underlines the delightful intricacy of languages, inviting us to see the world through different lenses and embrace perspectives shaped by differing social nuances. It’s a testament to the vibrant tapestry of human expression.


The difference in languages is a beautiful thing. But it can also be frustrating when one speaks multiple languages and there is no way to express a certain feeling in one language that they can in another.

A Reddit user named Don_Pickelball asked foreign-born people who live in English-speaking countries to share the words that exist in their native language that are sorely missed in English. Here are 15 of the most interesting.

1. Geborgenheit (German)

"In German, we have the word 'Geborgenheit' which describes a very specific feeling of feeling cozy and safe and protected. Like you would feel when you're around loved ones sitting around a fire or when the person you love holds you under the warm covers when it's raining outside. I tried to explain this to someone the other day and when we googled the translation- it came up with 'cozyness' which really doesn't pay justice to what it actually means." — Else1

2. Verschlimmbessern (German)

"If you try to fix something but actually make it worse than it was before." — Chili919

3. Geborgenheid (Dutch)

"It is about feeling safe and sheltered because someone who loves you and cares for you makes sure nobody can hurt you." — Illimprovement700

4. Komorebi (Japanese)

"It roughly translates as 'the scattered light that filters through when sunlight shines through trees.'" — tipsy_jana

5. Saudade (Portuguese)

"It has a similar meaning to 'miss you' but we have a direct translation for that 'senti sua falta,' saudade has more of an emotional feel to it, it’s really hard to explain, it’s deeper than simply missing someone." — Peddy_D

6. Backpfeifengesicht (German)

"A face in need of a fist." — No_Tamanegi

7. Estrenar (Spanish)

"To use something for the first time." — Ratonvacilon23

8. Kuchisabishii (Japanese)

"A Japanese term which directly translates to 'lonely mouth;' when you're not hungry, but you eat because your mouth is lonely." — MOS95B

9. Kalsarikännit (Finnish)

"Meaning deliberately getting drunk alone at home in your underpants with zero plans of meeting anyone or going out. I think other nations do this as well, but don't have a word for it. Delightfully relaxing and therapeutic at times, slightly concerning if done excessively. At best a wonderful opportunity to touch base with yourself, your life and your deepest thoughts and feelings. And/or watch that one cheesy comedy from 1992 you love but can't get any of your friends to watch with you because they have standards. At worst you wake up to an unholy mess accompanied by a killer headache, cheese all over the bed, cryptic messages on ripped up pieces of pizza box cardboard written by you to you all over the kitchen, and have nobody to blame than yourself." — Fit_Share_6147

10. Chaw-tamaw-tey-quat (Comanche)

"My native language is a Native American language called Comanche and isn't a written language but the word sounds like 'chaw-tamaw-tey-quat' and it basically is a socially acceptable way to say 'I'm done speaking.'" — SCP-33005

11. Tachiyomi (Japanese)

"Japanese has loads of words that require entire sentences to explain in English. My favorite of all time is tachiyomi, which means 'standing at a newsstand reading something without any intention of paying for it.'" — the2belo

12. Lagom (Swedish)

"It means not bad, and not too good. Just an average between. A very neutral word. For example, when you wash your hands, the water should be lagom hot. Not cold, not scalding hot. Just lagom." — Live_Rock3302

13. Luce (Farsi)

"It basically means intentionally acting all cutesy/precious/coy because you think it's appealing." — _eviehalboro

14. Sobremesa (Spanish)

"After a meal when you sit around the table talking." — KommieKoala

15. Załatwić (Polish)

"It means to get something done using connections/ persuasion/ backroom dealings." — ---Loading---

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Gen Z is navigating a career landscape unlike any other.

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Every adult generation has its version of a “kids these days” lament, labeling the up-and-coming generation as less resilient or hardworking compared to their own youth. But Gen Z—currently middle school age through young adulthood—is challenging that notion with their career readiness.

Take Abigail Sanders, an 18-year-old college graduate. Thanks to a dual enrollment program with her online school, she actually earned her bachelor’s degree before her high school diploma. Now she’s in medical school at Bastyr University in Washington state, on track to become a doctor by age 22.

a family of 6 at a graduation with two graduatesAll four of the Sanders kids have utilized Connections Academy to prepare for their futures.

Abigail’s twin sister, Chloe, also did dual enrollment in high school to earn her associate’s in business and is on an early college graduation path to become a vet tech.

Maeson Frymire dreams of becoming a paramedic. He got his EMT certification in high school and fought fires in New Mexico after graduation. Now he’s working towards becoming an advanced certified EMT and has carved his career path towards flight paramedicine.

Sidny Szybnski spends her summers helping run her family’s log cabin resort on Priest Lake in Idaho. She's taken business and finance courses in high school and hopes to be the third generation to run the resort after attending college.

log cabin resort on edge of forestAfter college, Sidny Szybnski hopes to run her family's resort in Priest Lake, Idaho.

Each of these learners has attended Connections Academy, tuition-free online public schools available in 29 states across the U.S., to not only get ready for college but to dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well. These students are prime examples of how Gen Zers are navigating the career prep landscape, finding their passions, figuring out their paths and making sure they’re prepared for an ever-changing job market.

Lorna Bryant, the Head of Career Education for Connections Academy’s online school program, says that Gen Z has access to a vast array of career-prep tools that previous generations didn’t have, largely thanks to the internet.

“Twenty to 30 years ago, young people largely relied on what adults told them about careers and how to get there,” Bryant tells Upworthy. “Today, teens have a lot more agency. With technology and social media, they have access to so much information about jobs, employers and training. With a tap on their phones, they can hear directly from people who are in the jobs they may be interested in. Corporate websites and social media accounts outline an organization’s mission, vision and values—which are especially important for Gen Z.”

Research shows over 75% of high schoolers want to focus on skills that will prepare them for in-demand jobs. However, not all teens know what the options are or where to find them. Having your future wide open can be overwhelming, and young people might be afraid of making a wrong choice that will impact their whole lives.

Bryant emphasizes that optimism and enthusiasm from parents can help a lot, in addition to communicating that nothing's carved in stone—kids can change paths if they find themselves on one that isn’t a good fit.

Dr. Bryant and student video meeting Dr. Bryant meeting with a student

“I think the most important thing to communicate to teens is that they have more options than ever to pursue a career,” she says. “A two- or four-year college continues to be an incredibly valuable and popular route, but the pathways to a rewarding career have changed so much in the past decade. Today, career planning conversations include options like taking college credit while still in high school or earning a career credential or certificate before high school graduation. There are other options like the ‘ships’—internships, mentorships, apprenticeships—that can connect teens to college, careers, and employers who may offer on-the-job training or even pay for employees to go to college.”

Parents can also help kids develop “durable skills”—sometimes called “soft” or “human” skills—such as communication, leadership, collaboration, empathy and grit. Bryant says durable skills are incredibly valuable because they are attractive to employers and colleges and transfer across industries and jobs. A worldwide Pearson survey found that those skills are some of the most sought after by employers.

“The good news is that teens are likely to be already developing these skills,” says Bryant. Volunteering, having a part-time job, joining or captaining a team sport can build durable skills in a way that can also be highlighted on college and job applications.

Young people are navigating a fast-changing world, and the qualities, skills and tools they need to succeed may not always be familiar to their parents and grandparents. But Gen Z is showing that when they have a good grasp of the options and opportunities, they’re ready to embark on their career paths, wherever they may lead.

Learn more about Connections Academy here and Connections’ new college and career prep initiative here.

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