What it means: A Norwegian word which describes the initial euphoria you feel when you first fall in love with someone
Why we don't have it: Bleurgh, wake up Norway, this is the 21st century. We'd only need that phrase if the British courtship ritual hadn't descended into a hazy mesh of Facebook pokes, drunken texts and special offer cider, but sadly we've only got two emotions left in this country, crippling regret and awkward arousal. Normal folk haven't been able to fall in love since the mid 70's when Margret Thatcher made 'romance' exclusive to the upper-classes, who promptly decided they didn't want it anyway and sold it on to American sitcom writers.
What it means: The Russian term for a person who continually asks lots of questions
Why we don't have it: The true beauty of the English language is that we already have plenty of words for somebody like that. They're the same words you'd use for someone who parks over two lanes, says 'LOL' in public or claims to find Robbie Savage insightful. We could assign a specific put-down for every different type of insufferable prick we come across in life but we're much too busy quietly moaning about them or plotting (pointlessly) to defecate in their shoes. We just call a spade a spade in this country, or more accurately, we call a spade a knob.
Our arguments with each other consist of quietly brooding for a week before eventually bucking up the courage to send a snotty email, which itself requires three re-writes. I once wrote a letter of complaint to my broadband provider and by the time I'd decided how angry I actually was, the company had changed hands twice
What it means: A Japanese phrase referring to how awkward it is to try and speak a foreign language, literally translates as “the meal eaten sideways”
Why we don't have it: Sorry Tokyo, we're English. We will bastardise your sushi chains, catch your Pokemon and watch your tentacle porn, but we will not try and speak your language. Or anyone else's for that matter. An Englishman trying to talk to the natives sounds like a dial-up modem trying to plead its way out of a fight, so hundreds of years ago we came up with a plan make sure we never had to lower ourselves to learning a second tongue, it was called The British Empire.
What it means: A Spanish word that describes how embarrassing it feels to watch someone else be humiliated
Why we don't have it: Oh come on Spain, what's wrong with you? We fucking love that sort of thing over here. We gave the world Python, Brent, Partridge and Borat and you've done nothing but throw the odd custard paella, so trust us, we know funny better than you do. In fact, the whole success of British comedy is measured not by the volume of laughter, but in the severity of the toe-curling. When we're not ridiculing someone's inadequacies to the point of irreversible emotional damage, we're having war declared on us by every Kazakh farmer who can raise a pitchfork, so we must be doing something right.
Esprit de l’escalier
What it means: The French phrase, literally translated as “The spirit of the staircase”, which refers to all the things you realise you should have said after a heated conversation has ended
Why we don't have it: A lovely sentiment, but we have all the fire and passion of kettle documentary over here. Our arguments with each other consist of quietly brooding for a week before eventually bucking up the courage to send a snotty email, which itself requires three re-writes. I once wrote a letter of complaint to my broadband provider and by the time I'd decided how angry I actually was, the company had changed hands twice. I can certainly see the appeal of just torching corporate offices without a second thought, but that's not going to get you your £24 back now is it Pierre?
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