There are lots of fun words in existence, in lots of languages around the world, and languages are a passion of mine, so I thought I'd take my section of the weekly newsletter to share some of these words.
This week I thought I'd talk about a Finnish word that's long been one of my favorites - Finnish was the language that started my interest in linguistics in high school, so it seems like an appropriate place to begin.
Sisu is a word that is generally held to be untranslatable into English (though I'd argue that's not the case, with any such word; it simply requires more words to translate). It's a concept that's very much a part of Finnish national identity and ideals. It's...a combination of determination, stubbornness, bravery, stamina, and maybe a little bit of stupidity.
It's the kind of courage that drives someone to enter a fight that they know they cannot win - but know that they must fight regardless. It's the kind of courage that drives social justice, in a world where it often seems futile; it's the courage that drives continuing to live as Christ calls us to, in a world where it often seems impossible. It's the courage that lets us reach our limits, physical or mental, and then transcend them. It's having the stamina to keep fighting after the courage has gone, until we can be brave again, and it's the determination to get up and keep going when we've fallen and failed.