Missing English Words

The English language has it’s benefits such as being loosely ruled, which makes communication with it easy since the only important rule is that the other person understand what you say. Unfortunately, it also has it’s disadvantages as well. One such problem is that same fact that it’s rules are loosely enforced since it also makes it hard for foreigners to learn it. An even bigger shortcoming is the lack of vocabulary. Because it is a relatively young language, and despite the fact that it expands faster than any other language, there are still many words that other languages have but which English does not.

  • Many languages have different second person pronouns, including a formal (polite) and an informal, as well as a plural; English however has a single one “you”. The lack of a polite form is not too limiting, but the lack of a second person plural is extremely inconvenient. What’s interesting is that there are at least two words that have been created to fill that gap, ya’ll and you’s, but are considered to be illiterate and low-class.
  • Another word that Farsi has but English does not is mennat, that conveys the idea that one person is trying to take credit or pass off as a favor something that they did, when it is in fact something that they had to do anyway, something that is their fault in the first place, something minuscule, or other irrelevant action. It is sort of similar to the prank where you “save” someone’s life by for example pushing them off a ledge and immediately pulling them back.
  • Some languages—Farsi for one—have a word for the state of being where a person is angry with someone else and among other things, does not speak with them (ghar in Farsi). The closest analog in English is “giving the silent treatment” or “giving the cold shoulder—not quite as eloquent.