Emotions We Have But Don’t Have a Word for in English


21 Emotions for Which There are no English Words & New Emotions Invented by the Internet

This linguistic infographic was originally sent to me by my fellow travel and language enthusiast (to say the very least) and resident foodie, Julia Drogen, and then proceeded to blow up the interwebs yesterday. This sort of takes the cake for my “Great Words that Don’t Exist in English” category: UK design student Pei-Ying Lin created this fantastic infographic of all kinds of different emotions and words that all humans feel, but which lack equivalent terms in English. It’s part of her project Unspeakableness, which she describes as,

“Unspeakableness is a project that investigates human emotions and languages. By re-looking at how humans communicate, it searches for a way to connect our inner self and personal emotions, through the design of a personal language and several new ways of communication. It is is an investigation of how language can be improvised to connect our emotions in this multilingual world.

The focus of the project is human being, and the artefacts created through the most basic human needs – language. The direction of the project has been changed from the interaction between people to interaction within one’s self. It is a process for me and the participants to re-define the languages we are using today, to take control ourselves instead of being controlled by the structure of languages.”

While English-speakers and speakers of other languages who too lack these specific words can certainly understand the sense of the word, it’s wonderfully fascinating to ponder how this emotion became so commonplace in this culture that a word for it was coined. Right?!

Three of my favorites:

  • Tocka (Russian): Great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause.  Ache of a soul, a longing with nothing to long for.
  • Viitsima (Estonian): The feeling of slight laziness, can’t be bothered by anything. Don’t want to work nor go anywhere.
  • Saudade (Portuguese): A somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness. Longing for something that might never return. Yearning.

Also check out the infographic for “New Emotions Invented by the Internet”.  These emotions have yet to be named, but oh man, you’ve so felt them. “A vague and gnawing pang of anxiety around an IM window that has lulled”. Oh yea, so awkward.

21 Emotions for Which There are no English Words & New Emotions Invented by the Internet

About alicestockwellegan

Language and culture enthusiast from New York living in San Francisco.
This entry was posted in Great Words that Don't Exist in Engilsh, Just for Fun, Language, Multilingualism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Emotions We Have But Don’t Have a Word for in English

  1. Pingback: Untranslatable Love | Language and other musings

  2. Pingback: One Year With WordPress | Language and other musings

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