From the September 2016 Old Times of Boulder City. Now on newsstands exclusively in the sweetest little city by a Dam Site.
According to some estimates, there are over a million words in English, giving the language a flexibility to describe just about anything.
British linguistic scholar and psychologist Tim Lomas however has come across 216 ‘untranslatable’ non-English words pertaining to well-being. These terms convey in one word, what may take us English speakers a mouthful. Enjoy this sample from his January 2016 published paper:
Mbuki–mvuki (Bantu) happiness so strong so as one shucks off one’s clothes in order to dance.
Utepils (Norwegian) drinking beer outside on a hot day.
Schnapsidee (German) an ingenious plan one hatches while drunk.
Feierabend (German ) the festive mood that can arrive at the end of a working day.
Tilfreds (Danish) satisfied and at peace.
Cwtch(Welsh) a hug, also a safe, welcoming place.
Uitwaaien (Dutch) to walk in the wind for fun.
Shinrin–yoku (Japanese) the relaxation gained from bathing in the forest.
Gökotta (Swedish)waking up early to go outside just to hear the first birds sing.
Iktsuarpok (Inuit) anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, whereby one keeps going outside to check if they have arrived.
Fernweh (German) homesickness for a place one has never been.
Prostor (Russian) a desire for spaciousness, roaming free in limitless expanses, not only physically, but creatively & spiritually.
Mangata (Swedish) and gumusservi (Turkish) the glimmering that moonlight makes on water.
Psithúrism (Greek) the sound of wind rustling through trees.
Lstopad (Russian) sound of falling leaves.
Koromebi (Japanese) sunlight filtering through leaves.
Aware (Japanese) bittersweetness of a fleeting moment of transcendent beauty, such as a rainbow.
Gigil (Tagalog) irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished.
Cafune (Portuguese) tenderly running one’s fingers through a loved one’s hair.
Retrouvailles (French) joy people feel after meeting loved ones again after a long time apart.
Kanyininpa (Pintupi) an intimate and active relationship between a “holder” and that which is “held,”’ capturing the deep feeling of nurturance and protection a parent feels for a child.
Njuta (Swedish) profound experience of appreciation, verging on bliss.
Tarab (Arabic) musically-induced state of ecstasy [or] enchantment.
Ubuntu (Nguni Bantu ) being kind to others on account of one’s common humanity.
Orenda (Huron) the power of the human will to change the world in the face of powerful forces such as fate.
Sprezzatura (Italian) articulates a certain nonchalance, wherein all art and effort are concealed beneath a ‘studied carelessness’. Similarly, saper vivere describes the ability to handle people and situations with charm, diplomacy and verve.
Szimpatikus (Hungarian) identifies a person as a decent human being.
Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo) a person who is ready to forgive abuse the first time, and tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.
Menschlichkeit (Yiddish) being a good human being in its fullest sense … to not only be human and humane, but also filled with reverence for life, compassion for others, concern for the health and well-being of the planet, and justice for all.