Mamihlapinatapei, Tartle, Cafuné, and 撒嬌

Thanks Kevin for introducing some new words to me, here are three examples.

Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.

Scottish – The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.

Brazilian Portuguese – The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.”

In return, I left the following comment.

Thanks for sharing these beautiful words. Let me share one here.

saat3 giu1 (撒嬌)
Chinese – a young or really young girl’s act of wheedling (without any of “wheedle” ‘s negative connotations).

For those that read Chinese, I quoted professor Lau’s article explaining his interesting but unsuccessful attempt to translate the concept of “saat3 giu1” (撒嬌) to English.

Update: In hindsight, may be this exchange between a young daughter and her dad will help?

A young daughter running from the kitchen and jumping on daddy’s lap asking, ”Daddy, can I have more ice cream please?””Ask mom.””Mom won’t let me””Well then, no more ice cream””Daddy, please, please, pretty please!” The dad is unable to resist the daughter’s “pretty please” and talks to the mom. At the end, the daughter gets her ice cream.

For more, see “20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World“.


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