What a Wonderful Word by Nicola Edwards & Luisa Uribe

Exquisite in design and presentation, What a Wonderful Word celebrates words from around the world which defy simple, one-word English translation. These are words that give voice to the beauty of language and its ability to define life as seen by different cultures.

It’s no surprise there’s no English word for ‘walking through water to search for something with your feet’ (Murr-Ma in the Wagiman language of Indigenous Australians) or expressing ‘the distance a reindeer can walk before needing the toilet’ (Poronkusema in Finnish). But this wonderful book also offers words that define our common human experience: who hasn’t felt Tartle, a Scots word describing ‘hesitation because you’ve forgotten someone’s name’? Or resorted to Pelinti, the Buli word for ‘moving scalding food around your mouth to cool’?

The book even offers the perfect word to describe itself: it is Kazuri, the Swahili word for ‘small and beautiful’. It is that, and it is perfect for anyone between the ages of 7 and 70 who loves words or is what the Russians might call a Pochemuchka (‘curious child’).


Athina Clarke is the children’s book buyer at Readings Malvern.

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What a Wonderful Word: A Collection of Untranslatables from Around the World

What a Wonderful Word: A Collection of Untranslatables from Around the World

Nicola Edwards, Luisa Uribe

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