Fun with Words

Not a quilting post today, though I hope to show the finished background quilting on my current project by tomorrow.  Almost 3/4 done now.

I have always loved language and the way that languages can help you see the world in new ways.  Yesterday, while watching some of the tongue-in-cheek videos that have been made by people asking the US president to make their country second (or in the case of Lithuania, third), I learned a new word:

Saudade, a Portuguese word meaning “a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.[2] A stronger form of saudade might be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing, moved away, separated, or died.” according to Wikipedia.

That started me looking up words without English equivalents.  There is actually project, the Positive Lexicography project dedicated to developing a list of untranslatable words.  Here’s a fun article about words with no English equivalents drawn from that project.  Perhaps you can find some use for a few of these words:

mbuki-mvuki – the irresistible urge to “shuck off your clothes as you dance” (Bantu).

kilig – the jittery fluttering feeling as you talk to someone you fancy (Tagalog)

Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – the anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, whereby one keeps going outside to check if they have arrived

Hope that you all have weekends filled with sukha (Sanskrit:genuine lasting happiness independent of circumstances) and perhaps orenda – the power of the human will to change the world in the face of powerful forces such as fate (Huron).

 

 

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  1. I love language; thanks for this post. Also need a lot of orenda!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your description of saudade put me in mind of the Welsh “hiraeth” – and indeed, the wiki article draws the same comparison: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiraeth

    German has some good words with no direct English translation too – schadenfreude is one everyone knows, of course (alas, probably even if they’ve never actually heard the word…), but I also always quite liked “kummerspeck” – excess weight gained by emotional eating (lit. “grief bacon”). And today I learned that the Germans and the French both have a word/phrase (in German, a word often IS a phrase!) for a snappy comeback you thought of 20 mins after the end of an argument: Treppenwitz and L’esprit de l’escalier.

    Hope you have a good weekend free of weltschmerz!

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  3. Oh, I feel mbuki-mvuki every time I dance!! Thank you for sharing these words…. and I am keeping on working on orenda……

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks very much. This was a good way to start my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘… the way that languages can help you see the world in new ways.’ Or even condition the way we see the world – the whole debate about that has recently been given new vigor. The Welsh have a word, hiraeth, which is very similar to saudade. Thanks for the post, much appreciated by one who loves language too.

    Liked by 1 person

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