Words and Thoughts

I have found so far on my year abroad, that despite being in Italy, I have also met so many people from all over Europe on their Erasmus here in Pisa.

I have several Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese and even Corsican Friends here in Italy, and every now and then there is something I wish to say which I cannot find the translation for.

There are so many words out there that have no English Translation and vice versa.

Have you ever felt something that you had no explanation for? no word that describes perfectly that moment or how you felt?

This may well be due to the fact there is no english word for those feelings.

So I did a little research and I came across a great deal of words in Portugese in particular which describe feelings or moments I have never been able to explain.

These words are known as ‘The Untranslatable’

I kept digging and I  came across a few new words;

  • Natsukashii (Japanese) – a nostalgic longing for the past, with happiness for the fond memory, yet sadness that it is no longer attainable.
  • Chōro (Greek)(n.): a place/locale (usually denoting the quality of the place – often somewhere that one feels affection towards).
  • Yuán bpi (Chinese) (圓備): a sense of complete and perfect accomplishment.
  • Samar (سمر ) (Arabic)(v.): to sit together in conversation at sunset/ in the evening.
  • Engentado (Spanish)(v.): to be ‘peopled out’, to wish for solitude.
  • Toska (тоска) (Russian)(n.): longing for one’s homeland, with nostalgia and wistfulness.
  • Friluftsliv (Norwegian) (n.): lit. ‘free air life’; open-air living; living in tune with nature.
  • Commuovere (Italian) (v.): to be moved, touched or affected (e.g., by a story).
  • Coup de founder (French) (n.): lit, a ‘lightening bolt’, sudden and powerful love at first sight.

One word which struck me the most was this word;

Saudade (Portuguese) – a melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing that is far away either spatially or in time – a vague, dreaming wistfulness for phenomena that may not even exist. A love for someone that doesn’t exist in the present day.
This I have had before, for childhood and people that are no longer with me.

I can’t begin to pronounce the majority of these words, but its wonderful to think there are words in another language that can describe feelings and thoughts we cannot explain in English.

Perhaps its due to the English tendency to remain closed off when it comes to feelings and emotions.

Either way, little discoveries such as these really make you appreciate other cultures and how beautiful human beings can be if you look close enough.

** A phd student named Tim Lomus has written a thesis on new vocabulary and tries to explore why we don’t have equivalents considering the English language is an old and inclusive language**