And the Koasati language of Louisiana provides no word for goodbye, since time is seen as more cyclical than linear. To end a conversation, you would say something like: "This was good."
"We're talking about an emergency situation," said Richard Grounds, a speaker of the Euchee language and co-organiser of the meeting, held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.
Ryan Wilson, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, said the quality his people value most in a man is something like courage, but includes a degree of independence and perseverance. It has no direct English translation, and with the word may go the idea and the reason it once mattered.
Wilson, who is president of the National Alliance to Save Native Languages, said there was also a word that describes the feeling that you cannot live without someone. It is similar to love, but something is lost in that translation.