Lee's Lexicon

  • This week I've wandered on over (figuratively speaking) to the Slavic side of the language family tree, to Bulgarian. They have a concept called ailyak (though like many other transliterated words from languages that don't use the Latin alphabet, that could be spelled a few different ways).

  • This week I’ve circled back around to my first language love, Finnish. Kaamos is, literally, ‘darkness’, but it actually refers to polar night in the north, when you don’t see the sun for months on end, and encompasses in many ways the depression that can and often does result from that lack of light. 

  • This week I've wandered a little further south, to Greece. The word filotimo (or philotimo, depending on how you transliterate it from the Greek alphabet) can be literally translated as 'friend/lover of honor' but it's a little more involved than that. Like sisu and hiraeth, it is a fairly engrained concept in the language and culture.

  • This week’s word is one that you may have heard before: shadenfreude. It’s not a happy word. It’s German, and has been adopted into English for quite a while now. 

  • This week I thought I’d wander over to Wales with my linguistic rambling. Hiraeth is another word that’s tied into the national identity of the people that speak it, and another one with no single word that can accurately express it in English. It’s a kind of homesickness, but shaded with longing and grief. 

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