I recently received a copy of Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders. In this book, Ms. Sanders uses charming illustrations to bring to life more than 50 words that are not directly translatable to English. In each 2 page spread, the author gives the word and its definition, along with its language of origin, and a drawing of the definition. She also includes a brief paragraph of commentary.
This is a cute book, and I liked it. I found the words and their definitions interesting, for instance, in Tulu, which is spoken in parts of southwestern India, there is a word which means, "the mark left on the skin by wearing something tight." In Indonesia, there is a word that "refers to a joke so terrible and unfunny that you cannot help but laugh." We need that word around here. A lot.
You can learn a lot about a culture by the words it uses.
This small volume would make a great gift for someone who loves language. It also makes a great conversation starter.
I received this book for free from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.