I wanted to translate the word “snarky” today but realized there wasn’t really an equivalent in Hebrew. There’s something special about the word in English. How it kind of sounds like “shark”, how it combines a nasal sounding word like “snore” and the “arky” at the end makes it sound like it’s related to juvenile behaviour. You have to crinkle your nose to say it right. It’s beautiful.
The beauty of language is how different sounds elicit meaning and emotional responses. Because of this, some words just don’t translate or lose their intensity. Malcom Gladwell does a great job when explaining the American vs the Israeli version of the word chutzpah. Take a listen here.
A few years ago, there was an article about how Google created its own language to translate between multiple languages. I wonder what special words it came up with, with new meanings?
Unlike the tree in the forest, language needs someone to receive the message (and understand it) for it to have some meaning. Otherwise it’s just meaningless sound.