Sunday, July 29, 2012

I need a word for this

In a recent comment here, Kathleen Kirk shared a couple of links to a website that discussed some of the most difficult words to translate, which you can find here and here. My personal favorite was mamihlapinatapei, from the Yagan language of Tierra del Fuego. It implies " a wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start". You sense that this must happen in Tierra del Fuego all the time.

But I recently realized that I need a word for a concept not yet rendered in English. It would encompass the absurd yet apparently real sense of grief you feel when they kill off a recurring character on one of your favorite television shows.

Yagan might manage it, though I have a feeling it may not be completely up to the television age. Japanese could get the tone right, I'll bet. German probably already has  word for it, but it's undoubtedly too long.

By the way, I'm not mentioning the show that has led me to these musings just in case it might be spoilerific for someone, so if you do happen to know me really, really well, mums the word.

17 comments:

  1. And don't suggest 'stupid' because I already know that.

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  2. Dramatis personacide might be the name of the murderous act itself.

    Bizsorrow? Bizarre + sorrow.

    OK. Everything looks weird to me now.

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  3. I like dramatis personacide.

    It's odd to me that sometimes it can be easier to feel real feelings about things that aren't real than it is to feel your real feelings about things that are.

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  6. Thespagonothanatism, combining Greek words for actor, character and death if, if you prefer something simpler, paragrief.
    ======================
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
    http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

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  7. Thespagonothantism is great for describing what happens in the script. Paragrief is close, but a bit too diffuse. It could actually mean "beyond grief". Still, a promising idea.

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  8. Para+agonos+grief = Paragonogrief or, more whiiscally punctuated, paragono o' grief.

    Paralupeo, para + lupeo, Greek for "to make sorrowful" might work, para meaning "beside..." as in sort of real, but not quite.

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  9. I think the grief feels real enough at the time, but the difference is that it fades faster.

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  10. Does pseudoparephemeralupism do it for you?

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  11. It's good in its way, but mono no aware is actually closer to what I'm talking about, though of course much too broad.

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  12. Was it in one of the two articles to which you linked? If so, I missed it.

    I wonder, too, what words and expressions in English are difficult for other languages to render precisely.

    Finally, I used one of the words in one of the articles -- duende == on Twitter last week.

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  13. No, it's here: http://ohthenovel.wordpress.com/mononoaware/. I have known the term from before.

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  14. Thanks. I have heard it said about any number of words and terms that they are impossible to translate precisely. It would be interesting to able to look at my own language from the outside in thie way.

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  15. This post was very nicely written, and it also contains a lot of useful facts.I enjoyed your professional manner of writing the post. Thanks, you have made it easy for me to understand.

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