Have you ever felt that sensation that you do not have words to express what you are feeling? I have. Are you the only one experiencing that sensation? Or is it because our languages are poor and we have no names for those feelings?
I have just come across this list (via Joan Sardá) with names (words!) for 23 feelings. In a first moment, I couldn’t tell if or to what extent it was a random, partial enumeration of possible feelings. What I could see (read) is that I have likely felt most if not all of them. And some of them are quite familar to me.
In fact, what I can see (and this is a terrible confession) is that I suffer or enjoy (not completely sure) of jouska onism occhiolism monachopsis énouement exulansis nodus tollens vellichor anecdoche kuebiko. Sometimes with a slight Mauerbauertraurigkeit.
Well, are those words made up?
The English language is a magnificent sponge. (…) But for all that, it has a lot of holes. In Greek, there’s a word, “lachesism” which is the hunger for disaster. In Greek, there’s a word, “lachesism” which is the hunger for disaster. You know, when you see a thunderstorm on the horizon and you just find yourself rooting for the storm. In Mandarin, they have a word “yù yī” which means the longing to feel intensely again the way you did when you were a kid. In Polish, they have a word “jouska” which is the kind of hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head. And finally, in German, of course in German, they have a word called “zielschmerz” which is the dread of getting what you want.
The one talking is the author of “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” (so they were sorrows, after all ;), a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig.
Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.
He says that these words are not necessarily intended to be used in conversation, but to exist for their own sake; to give a semblance of order to a dark continent, Yet it is awkward that we are a boiling pot of coloured emotions, and we do not even have a proper way to talk about them…
Perhaps, that’s what we need to stop killing ourselves: words for emotions.
Featured Image: Onism, the Awareness of How Little of the World You’ll Experience