Translation musings: untranslatable

Feb 27, 2014 | Language

dog runningAnother fabulous untranslatable today, courtesy of my Finnish friends!

Do you sometimes have one of those days when you just don’t know what to do with yourself? Do you sometimes catch yourself thinking: “I wonder, should I just run around aimlessly?” I think my kittens have this thought quite often, as do, apparently, the Finnish – so much so they have a word for it:



This word is a product of relational synthesis, where a smorgasbord of nouns, adjectives and adverbs come together to made a single verb. The ever enlightening Wikipedia breaks it down as follows:

juoksentelisinkohan => “run-erratic motion-conditional-I-question-casual” or ‘I wonder if I should run around (aimlessly)’

Please click here for a wonderful little cartoon – the inspiration for this post.

photo credit: saraswan @ stock.xchng