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'przytulic' cannot ever be properly translated into English


pipeczko  
1 Jun 2008 /  #1
It can't, it just can't. It's a concept that we don't distinguish with its own verb in English - it's one of those cultural objets that has formed into a discrete action in Polish, but can only be approximated in English.

I know you're all going to say it's 'hug' 'cuddle' 'snuggle up to' etc. ... but that isn't as good, as clear, as distinct, as real, as 'przytulic'.

Examples:
In bed. He has his back to me and tells me to 'przytul sie' to him. So in English, what would one say? 'Put your arms round me'? 'Hug me'? 'Cuddle up to me'?

You see. There's a choice. Because we don't have one distinct concept. And all of those 3 English alternatives fall short of what 'przytul sie' really conveys. It is hug, cuddle, put arms round, hold, love, give and receive intense warmth - not just physical, but somehow spiritual too. It is 'cherish', in an active, physical way.

Go on then. Shoot me down ; )
sausage 19 | 777  
1 Jun 2008 /  #2
"snuggle up to" is that not good enough? What point are you trying to make, that Polish is a richer language than English?
OP pipeczko  
1 Jun 2008 /  #3
nope, of course not - Polish crystallizes some concepts that English doesn't, and vice versa - this isn't a competition - no, my point or query really was if anybody else had noticed this, and agreed, and also that it is kind of interesting that there should be a specific verb for it in Polish and not in English. It says something about how people interact in both cultures (traditionally). And I have to say that I get a lot more przytulenie from my Polish guy than i have from English ones.
sausage 19 | 777  
1 Jun 2008 /  #4
Yes, I wonder if there any English words that can't readily be translated into Polish....

Polish is a richer language than English?

That wasn't really a rhetorical question! Anyone care to offer their opinion...
OP pipeczko  
1 Jun 2008 /  #5
ok, this is the one that really really gets me:

kind

you can translate it as good (dobry), as gentle in the old-fashioned 'polite' sense (uprzejmy) (sorry if spelt wrong), as nice (mily), but where is the full sense of selfless emotional generosity??? i KEEP wanting to order my Polish guy to be KIND, and getting nowhere ... it just doesn't translate as completely as i want it to ... and he isn't as kind as i want him to be : (

and 'sausage' doesn't mean the same in both languages, either ... all hard and long and smoked, or soft and faintly absurd ... ; )
sausage 19 | 777  
1 Jun 2008 /  #6
It's interesting how many words you need to know to be truly fluent. You can get by knowing perhaps 5,000 (?) or so words of a foreign language. This was brought home to me when playing scrabble with my Polish girlfriend. Her english is very good, but not in the same league as a native english speaker.
Tamara 9 | 202  
1 Jun 2008 /  #7
How about "cute"? Or the phrase" you sound like" or "it sounds like" or "he/she/they sound like"
Eurola 4 | 1,906  
1 Jun 2008 /  #8
"cute

I can't find the perfect, polish word for cute, just like pipeczko can't find English one for "przytul sie". I know what you mean pipeczko, all the words are very close - but not It.
OP pipeczko  
1 Jun 2008 /  #9
all the words are very close - but not It.

thank you - glad someone else understands! and yes, 'cute' is a hard one. and 'funny' - because there are contexts where i want to say 'funny' in a totally light sort of way, and if i say 'smiesny' all the Poles say 'oh no, that's not true!'. Like i say that something my baby has done is 'smiesny' and they all look at me aghast ... (aghast ... hmm... what would that be??)

oh, and also there are Polish words such as 'pipa' which sound kind of ok and nice to me in Polish, but in English wouldn't sound so ... cute!!
Eurola 4 | 1,906  
1 Jun 2008 /  #10
well, I wouldn't consider "pipa" to be a kind word (if you mean what I think you do), but I guess OK when used lightly and not said in anger.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
2 Jun 2008 /  #11
cute - uroczy
kind - serdeczny
funny - zabawny

not quite ideally the same, but the general emotional tone is right :-)
Tamara 9 | 202  
4 Jun 2008 /  #12
But you wouldn't say "ale jaki uroczy kotek"???
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
4 Jun 2008 /  #13
uroczy kotek

Perfectly correct and natural but to me that sounds formal.
Milły or ładny would be used more often.
Tamara 9 | 202  
4 Jun 2008 /  #14
Right - that's what one most often hears but it doesn't have the same meaning as cute.
OP pipeczko  
5 Jun 2008 /  #15
but it doesn't have the same meaning as cut

exactly my point.
slightly different associations = eg, we say 'cute kitty' you say 'pretty kitty' ... so 'cute' can't ever ever ever ever be translated ; )

and still noone's given me a perfect translation for 'przytulic', because there AIN't one! but what i really wanted to note was that Poles przytula more ... because they have a word for it.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
5 Jun 2008 /  #16
Perfectly correct and natural but to me that sounds formal.
Milły or ładny would be used more often.

cudny/śliczny/słodki kotek would work just as well.
and yes, I have heard a tiny girl comment: Mamo, co za uroczy kiciuś! ;-)

thing is, most of you are trying to translate word-for-word, whereas it's only possible to go concept-by-concept in cases such as these.
Tamara 9 | 202  
5 Jun 2008 /  #17
Yes but that doesn't cover when something really isn't very attractive or pretty but can be "cute". Can't think of a concrete example but it's used all the time in the US - ok - for example - a teeny tiny little frog - we would call that cute but what would you say in Polish? Certainly not cudny, sliczny, slodki, mily, ladny, etc?
OP pipeczko  
5 Jun 2008 /  #18
most of you are trying to translate word-for-word

i never try to do that, but i am just interested in cultural concepts - or, often, a grouping together of characteristics (be it of object, action, quality - whatever) under one word - which exist in some languages (cultures) and not others. (I always only translate concept-for-concept - tis the only way.)

And so, again, I was pointing up 'przytulic' as one such thing. It's possibly that 'cute' is another. And i am convinced that 'kind' is one, too.

When i first went to the States, I thought i'd feel at home, because they spoke 'my' language. My God, that place was terrifying - they spoke an approximation of my language, but they were so FOREIGN. We would use the same words, but mean something different by them. Scary. And why? Different cultures. Never forget that language is only an expression of culture, surely ...

(having said that, i have some great US friends - once i'd understood that when they smiled but looked slightly puzzled, it was because my words weren't having the effect i'd meant them to have, and sometimes were doing something quite different to what i'd intended ...)
Tamara 9 | 202  
5 Jun 2008 /  #19
When i first went to the States, I thought i'd feel at home, because they spoke 'my' language.

Where are you from?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
5 Jun 2008 /  #20
Certainly not cudny, sliczny, slodki, mily, ladny, etc?

Oh but we would say: Co za cudna żabka! Urocza malusia ropuszka! Unless we thought the frog was gross, of course ;-)
Tamara 9 | 202  
5 Jun 2008 /  #21
Hmm - but cute can be used for an action as well such as a small child licking his ice cream and then giving it to his dog for a lick too. Some people would say "awww, isn't that cute - he's sharing with his puppy!"
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
5 Jun 2008 /  #22
"ach, jakie to urocze/słodkie - dzieli się z pieskiem!"
MelissaG915 - | 1  
10 Jun 2008 /  #23
I'll take a chance on "przytulic" given the description above. In America, I'm guessing that would be "spooning"?
polishgirltx  
10 Jun 2008 /  #24
In America, I'm guessing that would be "spooning"?

nah....'spooning' is when you're falling asleep already.... 'przytulić' is for a long run...
osiol 55 | 3,922  
11 Jun 2008 /  #25
Polish has 'przytulić' as some great concept that can't be translated without it being really complicated.
Portuguese has 'saudade' (too many words to explain). I'll stick with Polish.

I get a lot more przytulenie from my Polish guy than i have from English ones.

Well... He's your guy, so it would be a bit unfair if other blokes were...
OP pipeczko  
11 Jun 2008 /  #26
Where are you from?

england ...

'spooning' is when you're falling asleep already

and isn't spooning anyhow just one particular position?? ie, on your sides, one person's back to the other's front? i always thought it was like that (two spoons fitting together..) ... but does it have a wider application??

than i have from English one

than i have had in the past from English ones ... but yeah, przytulenie should only really be from the one person at a time ; )
turin - | 16  
23 Jun 2008 /  #27
I don't understand what is missing from "snuggle". Should there be violins playing in the background? Should there be candles and stuff? Should one partner be resembling a "6" while the other mimicks a "9"? So przytulic = "to snuggle with violins in the background and candles and stuff while in 69"? Or is it like in that movie "Cacoon" where they "share themselves" (straszliwy)?

BTW: I think I might get beyond przytulenie when I use that word next time. Thanks.
OP pipeczko  
24 Jun 2008 /  #28
I don't understand what is missing from "snuggle".

well, in my experience, przytulic is:

snuggle up to
hug, hold
stroke (as in hair, back, etc.)
occasionally kiss (affectionately rather than directly sexual)
spoon with (yes indeed)
... and generally feel the warmth of the other

I think it involves the hormone oxytocin, which is what one has a rush of after an orgasm ; ) and also when breastfeeding (yes) and also when bonding with any other body, including your child.

The best przytulenie with a partner is extreme bonding. (as opposed to extreme bondage :D)
turin - | 16  
24 Jun 2008 /  #29
After an orgasm I just want to go to sleep. So this is like tryptophan in turkey? I wonder if this is just a matter of someone giving the word their own personal meaning, like I do with so many words.

So, if you don't kiss (unsexually) then "nie przytulisz"? If you don't stroke then "nie przytulisz"?

I could also say that when I "snuggle", in my experience, there is also stroking and kissing involved. But that doesn't mean that stroking and kissing are part of the meaning of "snuggle" (officially).

I don't mean to be contrary. Actually, I like the idea of untranslatable words; they really do give a sense of culture. But I am just suspicious about this one ...
dmkwiedo - | 1  
25 Jun 2008 /  #30
How about the English word "enjoy"?

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