10 Untranslatable Words Of Love From Different Cultures Around The World

"Love is universal, but the way in which we express this sentiment in different cultures reflects the nature of the people."

Sometimes you need more than just "I love you" to express how you feel about someone. While there are plenty of English words to express this sentiment, there are many foreign words of love that just don't translate

Verve Search — a London-based marketing agency — worked with Expedia UK to create a series of illustrations that show some untranslatable words about love from different cultures

"Love is universal, but the way in which we express this sentiment in different cultures reflects the nature of the people," James Barnes, an outreach specialist at Verve Search, told A Plus. "For example, one of our Brazilian colleagues talked about they take great pride in being tactile, friendly people. This is reflected by words like 'cafuné,' which is the motion of running your fingers through a loved ones' hair. Similarly, 'ya'aburnee' — an Arabic word that translates to 'bury me' which is used to express the hope that your loved one outlives you, so you don't have to endure the pain of living without them — distills a beautiful, complex emotion that only resonates with the mother tongue."


They sourced words and their definitions from native speakers of various cultures to identify which foreign words of love they should include in the illustration series. "We wanted the words we chose to be meaningful to us, so we collated them from internal discussions in our multicultural office," Barnes said. "Despite being a 25-strong team, we speak over 15 languages between us, so they were plenty of personal stories from a range of cultures from which to draw upon."

The result is further proof that there's more that connects us than separates us. We might just not have the words for it yet. 

"No matter how creative you are with the English language, it has its limitations. In every language, there are a myriad of beautiful expressions that have no equal, so let's celebrate the diversity," Barnes said. 

You can check out the words in the project below.












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