Does your tongue ever get stuck when talking because you cannot find the exact word you were looking for? The exact word that could perfectly describe what you are feeling. And then you cannot find any so try to find an equivalent expression or try to explain yourself by describing the feeling.
We know how you feel, that happens in all languages across the globe. It is curious how different languages have different words according to every society’s social, moral and cultural values. What we think is what we say, and vice-versa. With French language, it couldn’t be any different. French is the beautiful language of love, and the French language has many words that cannot be translated directly into English.
Keep reading and discover some of the most unique French words that get lost in translation!
1. L’appel du vide
The call of the void
L’appel du vide refers to that urge and impulse to jump from high places. If you ever stood right at the ledge of a high place and then had to step back because you the thought of jumping crossed your mind, then you have probably experienced L’appel du vide. In a study carried out by Jennifer Hames at the Psychology Department at Florida State University, it was demonstrated that this phenomenon has many times nothing to do with a suicidal impulse. In fact, if that is not the case, the phenomenon rather shows the person’s desire to live.
2. Tu chantes du yaourt
You sing yogurt
Here comes a fun one. What happens when you are at the disco or the karaoke and a famous song starts playing but you don’t know the lyrics? You don’t want to stop singing along so you start replacing the lyrics by similar sounds and noises, talking gibberish.
3. L’esprit d’escalier
The spirit of the stairs
L’esprit d’escalier occurs when you are having a disagreement with someone but during the talk, you are unable to think of the wittiest, perfect answer. It is only after the argument is over when you think of the perfect comeback. The term was coined by French philosopher Diderot because he was only able to think of the best response as he walked down the stairs after an argument.
4. Déjà vu
Déjà vu has become a word we all know and use in our daily lives. It refers to the feeling that you have experienced something before or been somewhere before. When you experience a déjà vu you are sure to say these words: “I have experienced this before”.
It was Victor Hugo who said: “Errer est humain, flâner est parisien”. We couldn’t agree more. Paris is a captivating and fascinating city. Nothing could be more Parisian than meandering and slowly strolling through the streets of Paris, delighting yourself with the beauty of the city.
6. La douler exquise
The exquisite pain
We hope you have never experienced La douler exquise. This expression refers to the pang in the heart we have when we love someone who doesn’t love us back. Being the language of love, the French had to invent a word for the pain of unrequited love.