Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Although this post would seem out of place at first, in a blog called Terra Incognita , that deals mainly with the Paranormal and the Unexplained, please bear with me..

I came across this great post dealing with words from around the world that are untranslatable to English. My favorites:

RussianVladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
Danish – Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire.
Portuguese – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.”

And they are all part of the human condition.

Have you ever felt what H.P. Lovecraft calls the Fear of the Unknown? That primitive terror that grips you beyond all logic when entering a forest at night, knowing that common sense states that there are no monsters, but you are sure the monsters are just there, waiting?
Is there a word for that?

Is there a word for that feeling when you are young, lying on a beach at night, in the middle of the summer, looking at the stars, and you feel one with the Universe?

Maybe there is a word for those of us who know there is more than meets the eye, contrary to popular belief, or even logic. No, the word is not “crazy”. I hope.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the last one, Saudade, is a very familiar one.. That longing for something lost. That hope that what is lost can be found, and it is not lost forever.
That longing for Home.

Maybe we should start creating more words. In all languages. If you can express it, it makes it more real.
We could start creating our reality, one word at a time…


Surreality said...

Saudade is a word that's been close to my heart for many years. It's deeper than longing for something lost. It's a deep feeling of nostalgia, of yearning for something that you cannot pinpoint exactly, something that cannot be properly defined.

In a sense, this makes it more relevant to your blog, sir!

Illuminatus said...

Yes, your explanation is actually better than the one I found! A deep nostalgia for something that cannot be defined.. Perfect! Thank you sir