MotherTongues: Wear Words, Celebrate Cultures

about words, languages, cultures, travel

Help me make a MotherTongues app! Request for “untranslatable” words March 1, 2012

Do you know a word or phrase, in a language other than English, which you don’t quite know how to translate into English? Or definitely can’t translate into only one English word? Does this word have a positive meaning? Or does it talk about peace, justice, the environment, community? Or is it just a fun word? Then I’d love to hear about it!

I’m developing a (free) MotherTongues app for the iPhone and iPad that will teach you one interesting word each day of the year. I would like to have words from a wide variety of languages.

Some examples of words that I already have on my list (other than the MotherTongues words already on t-shirts):

Gökotta (Swedish): To wake up early in the morning, with the purpose of going outside to hear the first birds sings.

Yoko meshi (Japanese): A metaphor for the stress of trying to understand another language. The literal translation is a meal that is eaten sideways. Given that Japanese is read vertically and most languages are read horizontally, the expression captures the mind-bending challenge of processing words in new ways.

In La ‘Kesh (Mayan): We are different faces of each other.

If you know any fun, positive, cultural words in ANY language (but English), please send them to me at mothertongues@mothertongues.com. If I end up using the word, I’ll send you a MotherTongues gift (and a link to the free app!)

Dankie! Merci! Gracias! Mahalo!
~ Michelle

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One Response to “Help me make a MotherTongues app! Request for “untranslatable” words”

  1. […] I’m working on the World Words app, that will teach you one life-affirming word a day, I enjoy finding words that show us how diverse […]


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