30 de noviembre de 2011

Lost in translation

Es lo que tiene suscribirse en Google Reader a todo lo que a uno le parece mínimamente interesante, que de vez en cuando en el cedazo aparece una pepita de oro como esta lista de diez palabras intraducibles (al inglés), todas relativas a relaciones humanas (¿por qué será?...), recopilada en The Big Think, a la que llego desde la web de Melville House Books.

Mis favoritas:

Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a "vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist." [Lo que me gusta no es solo la palabra, que es relativamente conocida aquí, sino esta descripción.]

Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.

Ya’aburnee (Arabic): “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone's hair.

Aunque, si tuviese que elegir solo una, sería ésta (y su correspondiente explicación):

Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.

Oh yes, this is an exquisite word, compressing a thrilling and scary relationship moment. It’s that delicious, cusp-y moment of imminent seduction. Neither of you has mustered the courage to make a move, yet. Hands haven’t been placed on knees; you’ve not kissed. But you’ve both conveyed enough to know that it will happen soon… very soon.


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