Mamihlapinatapei

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Found this lovely picture over at Frog Blog, and thought immediately of the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego. They have a word in their language which is classified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most succinct and one of the most difficult to translate.

Mamihlapinatapei (or mamihlapinatapai) means “a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves.” In other words, “we both want this like crazy, but I’m sure as hqiz not going to be the first one to make a move.”

There are many other words like this in other languages, and I’ll toss one out occasionally. I love languages and language oddities, and this one is one of my favorites.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

One response to “Mamihlapinatapei

  1. Pingback: Words that we wish English had | Playing in the World Game

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