There Is No Word For “Should”

Photo by yetdark
Photo by yetdark


I was watching a great movie the other day titles “Amistad“. If you get the chance you should really take the time to watch it.  It’s a movie about the slave uprising on the slave ship named “La Amistad”.  The slaves from Mende took control of the ship and ended up in the United States where they tried to gain there freedom through the U.S. courts.  It’s a great movie but one scene really caught my attention.  In this scene the two main characters are having a discussion about something that had gone wrong.  The lawyer, played by Mathew McConauhey, was trying to explain to the main Mende slave, played by Djimon Hounsou, what had happened in the court room and what had gone wrong.

Through a translator the slave said ” You said that..”

The layer interrupts and says “What I should have said was..”

At this point the translator says “I cannot translate that”.

Lawyer asks translator “You can’t translate what?’

Translator says “should, I cannot translate should”

Puzzled and upset the lawyer asks “You’re telling me there is no word in the Mende language for ‘should’?”

“Either you do something or you don’t do something. No should” the translator responds.

This actually tells a lot about our culture.  In our culture we have words like should,  might, try and many others that we use.  What would this country and others be like if we had no word for should or try and only words like do and complete. I think if we only had words like do and complete we would be more apt to finish things we started and do the right things more often because we would have no way to make an excuse such as “What I should have said is…..”

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I do get a small commission if you purchase products through links links. Thank you.

What words you think ‘should’ not be in our culture.  Comment below.