Language lessons across the USA and Canada

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Untranslatable words

Have you ever felt really lazy, so lazy you can’t be bothered to do anything, go anywhere? Well, that feeling has a word – viitsima.

But only in Estonian. A former student at the Royal College of Art in London amassed words from other languages we don’t have in English. The Taiwanese design student collected words from her international cohort to display in an infographic.

Lin’s exercise yields weird moments of recognition: Even if the word doesn’t exist in English, the feeling is vaguely familiar. “People are able to understand the emotion even though they don’t have a word for it,” she said, adding that appropriated words such as schadenfreude make it clear we can feel what we can’t express in one word. (Source: Globe and Mail)

Are there any words from other languages we should have in English? Or maybe the way around this is to learn a new language by taking Chinese classes in Toronto perhaps?