“As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being.”
Tomas Garrigue Masaryk
There is a unique and exciting culture behind every single language of the universe. And learning a foreign language opens up doors to new worlds full of opportunities – and well, surprises.
I am not sure if you have ever had the same impression but when I speak a different language, I will often feel like a different person. What is the reason behind this? I guess it is simply the fact that every language has it’s own logic, it’s own expressions and it’s own words that are not always directly translatable to other languages.
As many of you may already know (or have noticed), English is not my mother tongue. I was born in Budapest, the capital of Hungary – and well, I come from an extremely multicultural background (that’s why I speak multiple languages) but my native language is Hungarian.
And as I have mainly been talking about my OCD for the last few months (well, I guess that’s why I started this blog), I thought it was time to write about something else – just to make my blog a little bit more “diverse”. So, I was like “why not sharing a few fun facts about Hungarian language with my readers”.
Hungarian is not as widely spoken as English and I guess it’s probably a language that most of you will never start learning. BUT – it does have a huge vocabulary of words that describe different feelings and emotions. Some of these words are untranslatable to English, others are just pretty interesting and can help you look at things from a different perspective.
So, let’s take a look at the list….
1. Elvágyódás = The Desire To Get Away From Where You Currently Are
Do you sometimes have the desire to get away from where you are?
There are moments when you just want to escape from your current reality and you just want to be somewhere else. And by saying that, I do not necessarily mean travelling. Elvágyódás is more like a melancholic longing for another place or time that is far away from your reality.
2. Hiányérzet = The Feeling That Something Is Missing
Now this is a feeling that I am pretty sure all of us have had. Just think about the last time you were packing your luggage for your next trip and you suddenly had the feeling that something was missing. Something that you couldn’t name because you just did not know what it was but you just felt that it was missing.
Or another example is when you watch a movie and you feel that something was just missing from it. Like when the movie itself is not bad but you just have the impression that it’s not…complete. Or the same applies to relationships, when you like your partner but you feel that something you cannot name is missing from your relationship.
3. Egészség = Health (lit. “Wholenessness”)
As you can see “egészség” is a word that is easily translatable to English.
Why is it still on this list? Because of the logic behind the word itself – if we wanted to do a word-by-word translation of it, it would literary mean “wholeness” (“egész” = “whole” , “ség” = “ness”). And I think this makes a lot of sense – like if you think about it, when you are not healthy, you will not feel like a “whole person”.
4. Kétségbeesés = Despair (lit. “Fallen into doubt”)
Doubt is a terrible feeling that can easily turn your life into a living nightmare. So, no wonder why the Hungarian word for despair is “kétségbeesés” which literary means a situation in which you have fallen into doubt. I particularly like this word because I think it is very descriptive and when I hear it, I will always imagine a person fallen into a dark pond that’s full of doubt and despair.
5. Káröröm = Happiness Obtained From The Misery Of Others
Have you ever felt secretly happy for witnessing or learning about the troubles, failures or misery of others?
Well, it is definitely not a noble feeling but apparently a lots of Hungarians felt the same, so we created our own word to describe it: káröröm (lit. damage-joy).
And my nation did not only come up with a word that describes this feeling but we also have a proverb that says “The greatest joy is “damage-joy” – meaning the greatest happiness is when you see others (usually your enemies) suffering. It is nice, is it not?
Interesting fact: this word also exists in German and it could be translated as “Schadenfreude”.
6. Borúlátó = Pessimist (lit. A person who always thinks that the sky is cloudy)
I personally love rainy weather – I just enjoy reading a good novel while listening to the sounds of raindrops on my window. So, I have never been able to fully understand why many people associate a cloudy sky with pessimism. However, in Hungarian there’s a word for “pessimist” that literary means a person who always thinks (lit. sees) that the sky is full of clouds.
7. Nebáncsvirág = A Person Who’s Extremely Easily Offended (lit. Hurt-Me-Not-Flower)
My personal opinion is that this is not a very nice word – like some of us are more easily offended than others and I think it’s a perfectly normal thing as everyone has their own personality. But in my native language, we actually have a word to describe to describe a person who gets offended very easily – and it is nebáncsvirág, which literary means “hurt-me-not-flower”.
8. Önfeledt = Carefree (lit. Self-Forgotten)
When you feel carefree and happy, you will not care about what other people think. You just forget about yourself – and that’s the feeling that the Hungarian word “önfeledt” describes: those moments when all you do is having fun without worrying too much about what others think about you.
9. Odaadás = Devotion (lit. Giving All Of Yourself To Someone Else)
Odaadás (the closest translation of this word is “devotion”) describes the loyalty to someone, the feeling when you would give all of yourself to another person without getting anything in return. Or it can also mean extreme dedication to your work (when you work with devotion).
10. Kiborulni = Freaking Out/ Losing It (lit. Spilling Out)
Accidentally spilling your drink on your clothes can totally ruin your night out on the town. So, no wonder why the Hungarian word for “freaking out” literary means “spilling (out)” – I mean, let’s admit, I too would freak out if I spilled wine on my favorite pair of jeans. But I guess this is most probably not the origin of the word but it has more to do with the feeling that you have when you just have to let your emotions out (spill them).
11. Pihentagyú = A Person Who Has A Very Lame Sense Of Humor (lit. Someone With A “Well-Rested Brain”)
Do you know anyone with a weird sense of humor? Do you have a friend who just loves sending you terrible puns at midnight and who never seems to get tired of it?
Well, I can give you the right word for such people: pihentagyú – which basically means a person with a relaxed, “well-rested” brain. And no offense really, because I am proud to tell you that I am one of those people who often get called “pihentagyú” (I have a very particular sense of humor).
Share Your Thoughts!
Languages are just simply fascinating as they help you expand your mind and see things from a different perspective. I really hope you have found this post interesting – even though it’s a little bit different from the ones I normally publish.
And please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. Is there any expression on this list that you particularly liked – and if yes, why? And if you speak any other language than English, please share a few exciting facts about your (native/second) language in the comment section! 🙂
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