It's ilunga, and it means a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never forget a third time.
English needs the word ilunga. Apart from saving ink, and wear on the tongue muscles, its adoption will soothe all those translators who between them voted ilunga the hardest word in the world to translate.
But why is it so difficult?
Well, if I spoke Tshiluba (which sadly I don't) the word ilunga would mean more to me than the explanation above. It would carry in its meaning a great slice of the history of the Luba people.
Unfortunately I know almost nothing of the history of the Luba people: but I do know one other Tschiluba word, makelela.
What does makelela mean?
Well, it means yesterday. And also tomorrow.
And that can't be easy to translate, either.
|Word To Use Today: ilunga. There must be a hundred stories behind this word. I wish I knew what they were.|