The paper, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology by Tim Lomas, lists 216 "untranslatable" words, with the aim of "providing a window onto cultural differences" and "expand[ing] the emotional vocabulary of English speakers.
The report also includes a section of words describing resourcefulness, grit and determination. Need a better way to describe your team's performance during a difficult project last week? Here's what Lomas recommends (or check out his full paper here):
1. Sumud (Arabic) - Steadfastness, a determined struggle to persist
2. Sisu (Finnish) - Extraordinary determination in the face of adversity
3. Að jenna (Icelandic) and 4. Sitzfleish (German) - The ability or willingness to persevere through tasks that are hard or even just boring
5. Ganbaru (Japanese) - To do one's best
6. Jaksaa (Finnish), Orka (Swedish) - The importance of being energised
7. Kefi (Greek) - A spirit of joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, frenzy
8. Baraka (Arabic) - Gift of spiritual energy or "sanctifying power" that can be transferred from one person to another
9. Orenda (Huron) - The power of the human will to change the world in the face of powerful forces such as fate
10. Jugaad (Hindi), and 11. Arrangiarsi (Italian) - The ability to "make do" or "get by"
12. Desenrascanço (Portuguese) - To artfully disentangle oneself from a troublesome situation
13. Fingerspitzengefuehl (German) - The ability to think clearly about numerous phenomena and to understand how they relate on multiple levels
14. Sprezzatura (Italian) - A certain nonchalance, "studied carelessness"
15. Saper vivere (Italian) - The ability to handle people and situations with charm, diplomacy and verve
16. Pihentagyú (Hungarian) - Quick-witted people who can come up with sophisticated jokes or solutions
17. Kombinować (Polish) - Working out an unusual solution to a complicated problem, and acquiring coveted skills or qualities in the process
18. Meraki (Greek) - A sense of ardour, specifically in relation to one's own actions and creations
19. Yuán bèi (Chinese) - A sense of complete and perfect accomplishment
20. Brav (German) - An adjective used to commend children, encompassing qualities including being pleasant, earnest and well-behaved
21. Majime (Japanese) - Someone who is reliable, responsible and able to get things done without causing problems for others
22. Sunao (Japanese) - Meek, docile, submissive - but in a positive way, exemplified in the respect given by a student towards a teacher
23. Szimpatikus (Hungarian) - A decent human being
24. Fēng yùn (Chinese) - Personal charm and graceful bearing
25. Lagom (Swedish) - A sense of moderation, doing anything by just the right degree
26. Ilunga (Tshiluba) - A person who is ready to forgive abuse the first time, and tolerate it a second time - but never a third time (incidentally, rated by linguists as the world's most difficult word to translate)
27. Ikigai (Japanese) - A reason for being, the feeling that life is good and meaningful
28. Genki (Japanese) - Being healthy, energetic and full of life
29. Joie de vivre (French) - A zest for life, a knack of knowing how to live
Well done, team.