Friday, 15 April 2016

brav und borrel or thesaurus of feels

Professor and contributor to The Journal of Positive Psychology, Tim Lomas, aims to enrich our emotional landscape with a collection of some two hundred terms that have no equivalent in English. One can see the abstract at the journal’s website that began this continuing undertaking, but Boing Boing goes one further, sharing a selection of some of the terms of endearment (and they are positive and fulfilling sentiments in the main).

It’s hard to say if stocking our quivers with more precise, nuanced words improves our emotive literacy but I agree that the project and further investigation is worthwhile for its own sake. Some of my favourites included:

Rare English: grok—understanding so thoroughly that the observer becomes part of the observed

Icelandic: að jenna—perseverance for seeing a boring chore through

Hindi: talanoa—gossip as a social-adhesive

Greek: ξενία—recognising the importance of hospitality

Be sure to check out Boing Boing’s choices and learn more about the study, perhaps finding a new way of expressing what resonates with you. I especially appreciated how the article was categorized with the tag “the meaning of liff,” in reference to the Douglas Adams collaboration to fill lexical gaps for relatable experiences for which there was beforehand no adequate expression.