I am super-fascinated by the fact that English speakers cannot accurately describe how something smells and there are languages that can differentiate different shades of color that English speakers cannot see. I know that there is something called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis but I don’t believe it is 100% true. Yet there are these strange differences in some parts of thought. What is this called in linguistic circles?
There’s a lot of nitpicking in the comments about the examples you gave.
But the fact is that certain phenomena - phrases and concepts and distinctions - exist in some language and not others.
Moreover, there are some that exist in most languages (that I know) but missing in a few.
- hand vs arm in Russian
- you (singular) vs you (plural) in standard English
- website vs webpage in German
- bon appetit in English …
I just call them “holes” in those languages.
Besides the already mentioned term hole there are the terms lexical gap, accidental gap, semantic gap, and lacuna.