Lee's Lexicon

  • This week we’re going north! Icelandic is a fun language -- and actually closer to Old Norse than any of the other Scandinavian languages are today. This is largely due to the isolation of Iceland; not so much in the modern day, but in the past. Isolated populations tend to maintain older forms of a language than non-isolated ones do, especially if they have written language as well. 

  • So this week I've picked a word from a rather obscure (but fun!) language: Euskara, or Basque. This language is spoken in Basque Country, a region that covers adjacent parts of Spain and France. (Fun fact, it's also what's called a language isolate; it is, to the current knowledge of linguists, unrelated to any other living language. It is the only remaining language isolate in Europe, despite periods of attempted eradication by European governments, and is thought to have developed before the arrival of Indo-European languages in Europe - i.e. the Romans and friends bringing Latin, etc., with them)

  • I’ve made my way back over to the Slavic languages this time around: Slovenian. The verb vedriti means ‘to take shelter from the rain’, be it literally or figuratively. 

  • This week's lexicon entry is a...not particularly happy Czech word -- litost.  It means the feeling of regret and misery you get when you look at your own life and aren't happy with it, aren't content where you are. It's...the darkness that comes in the night when you can't sleep and can't see a way forward, the dark of depression and self-hate and thinking that you should be more than you are.

  • I lived in Japan as a child, and while I wasn’t there long enough to permanently pick up the language, I thought I’d wander over there, linguistically speaking, this week. 

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