A great infographic, courtesy of Visual.ly and originally from blog.maptia.com, looks at untranslatable words from other cultures. I particularly like the first one in the list, waldeinsamkeit, German for the feeling of being alone in the woods, which is a great title for a novel.
Perhaps the best word for writers though is goya, nothing to do with the Spanish artist, but the Urdu for the transporting suspension of disbelief that can occur in good storytelling. Goya, that’s what we’re all looking for.
The comments and suggestions for additional words are very entertaining. My favourite is pisan zapa, which is apparently Malay for the time taken for a banana to be eaten.