Pavlo Korol


BTL Alumnus
God's Negotiator
Secret Keeper
Mason Member


October 30, 2020

Obviously, English, just like any other language in the world, has its own specific differences among other languages. Not only might it be the meaning of a word or a certain phrase that when it's pronounced, it can have absolutely another impact on native speakers who find it either funny or outrageous, unlike non-native speakers that merely translate the word in order to understand it, but can never even think of its true identity, but also it could be an idiom that has no equivalent in Chinese, for example. In my mothertongue, we certainly have such words or expressions that, in translation into English, have no meaning whatsoever, especially when it comes the literal translation, for instance була не була. If we translate that into English, then it's "be or not be", but in reality this is "sink or swim", the phrase used when we want to guess something right. Here is the phrase in Ukrainian which surely has no equivalent in English.
This phrase is well-known as a comment under some memes you can find in the social media. Жиза or жиза, in Russian, means something that always or usually happens to people. For instance, "- Yesterday, I went for a stroll with my dog and as it saw another dog, it started chasing after it. - Ohhh, yeah I had the same the other day, this is the true ЖИЗА" - replies another man. Speaking of the word жиза, it has its origin from the word - жизнь, життя - life, that is to say something happening usually to people in the life. One day, I tried to find the equivalent in English to this word, which might be as short as it is in Ukrainian or Russian. Regrettably, I didn't find anything even though I asked quite a few English-speaking friends of mine. Basically, you can encounter this word in the informal situations like chatting with friends or walking around the street hearing someone's conversation on the phone.
Given these points, I'd like to say that sometimes we do have indescribable words that we need to explain to people from foreign countries and it's no big problem to use way more words in a bid to explain a word consisting of 3 or 4 letters.


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  • October 30, 2020 - 4:19am (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • Starcatcher

    WOW! I always find other languages so fascinating, unfortunately I have a very small attention span and only ever gotten like 20% through a Russian course! Its funny how translations could say totally different thing to what it means.

    7 months ago