Longest Word in German Retired
stormydragon
Anyone who knows about German knows that one of the features of the language is that it takes the idea of a "compound word" to a ridiculous extreme. Case in point, the longest official German word:

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

This 63-letter mouthful was the title of a law governing the delegation of regulatory responsibility for the monitoring of beef labels. Sadly, the law has been repealed, leading to the word's retirement from official use.

The good news is that means Germans can now unofficially discuss whether or not Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetzreformen are a good idea.

Potatoes scare me!
sythyry-doomed
sythyry
Actually, eggplant scares me.  Potatoes don't.  How do you say that?

I think I'm drunk
sythyry-doomed
sythyry
(Actually, I don't think I'm drunk, having not had any alcohol for days.  But how do you say that in your language of choice?  Does Lojban even have such illogical words as 'drunk'?)

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing...
Arabic
chipuni
I'll toss a phrase out to translate:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

We have to talk
sythyry-doomed
sythyry
Since everyone has been saying it to me all day: Translate "We have to talk" into your favorite language.  Make it as scary as possible.

Where's my head?
sythyry-doomed
sythyry
Some days I forget where it is.  So ... how do you say "Where's my head?" in your language of choice?

Kiss me!
sythyry-doomed
sythyry
How would you say "Kiss me!"  

In particular, how would you say it without also saying "Copulate with me!" (as I believe the French verb "baiser" also is used for), or sounding stilted and formal?

I like cheese.
sythyry-doomed
sythyry
I do like cheese.  I'm going to have some for breakfast.  I'll bet that "like" has lots of complexities, though....

It's snowing today!
sythyry-doomed
sythyry
Well, given how complicated "hello" got, let's see what kind of complexities we can produce from "It's snowing today!"

Lexical Gaps
stormydragon
Turning the group upside down a bit, one of the things I find interesting about translation is lacuna: words or phrases from one langugage that can't be translated into another because the target language is missing the concepts needed to express it. A few of my favorites:

Schadenfreude - Probably the most mainstream Lacuna, it's the German word for a feeling of pleasure derived from vicariously watching someone else suffer.

Lagom - Swedish word that means something like "adequate" or "mediocre", but where all similar English terms have a decidedly negative connotation, "lagom" is a positive term: less would be not enough, but more would be too much.

Poshlust - A Russian word for a particular form of bad taste that occurs when someone is trying to act "upper class" but without the level of sophistication needed to pull it off successfully.

Dustsceawung - Literally "the contemplation of dust", the Old English word for time spent pondering the tragic impermanance of everything.

So, what are your favorite lexical gaps?

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