The Untranslatable Emotions You Never Knew You Had

The Untranslatable Emotions You Never Knew You Had.

The richness of linguistic descriptions goes beyond a single language, and especially in the area of emotions, we discover that some emotional sensing are untranslatable into English or our own mother tongue. This article is proof of such emotional diversity that would surprise us all. Dr Tim Lomas introduces his Positive Lexicography Project: “Although much attention has been paid to culture-specific psychopathology, there have been no comparable attempts to chart positive mental states that may be particular to certain cultures. This paper outlines the beginnings of a positive cross-cultural lexicography of ‘untranslatable’ words pertaining to well-being, culled from across the world’s languages. A quasi-systematic search uncovered 216 such terms. Using grounded theory, these words were organised into three categories: feelings (comprising positive and complex feelings); relationships (comprising intimacy and pro-sociality) and character (comprising personal resources and spirituality). The paper has two main aims. First, it aims to provide a window onto cultural differences in constructions of well-being, thereby enriching our understanding of well-being. Second, a more ambitious aim is that this lexicon may help expand the emotional vocabulary of English speakers (and indeed speakers of all languages), and consequently enrich their experiences of well-being.”

You will find Dr Lomas’ Interactive Lexicography is in the second link below.

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Read Tim Lomas’ Positive Lexicography Project Here: