Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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A very snazzy infographic —

So we find that twitter is sometimes actually useful! Because I wouldn’t have noticed this infographich without a tweeted link.

See, it seems a young Chinese woman has created an infographic to show how emotions for which there aren’t English words map onto the world of emotion. Isn’t that a neat idea?

To be sure, some of the terms seem pretty indistinguishable from concepts we already have. Like this Japanese word which is supposed to express the “emotional attachment between friends, family, even animals” — I wonder how that is supposed to be different from at least a broad conception of “love”?

I like the Hebrew term which means “sick on you”, ie, obsessed. If Maria and Janet in Sharon Shinn’s shapeshifter novels had to pick a word to describe their feelings for their boyfriends, this term would certainly fit better than “love.” (Sorry, the word is given in Hebrew characters, and I have no idea what the phonetic spelling would be in English.)

I have absolutely no idea what the Turks mean by Serefe, though. I mean, what?

One of my favorites didn’t make the list — pena ajena, which is Mexican Spanish for the embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation. (That one is given below the infographic.) That’s a useful term. This emotion is exactly why I can’t stand watching sitcoms, because almost all the so-called humor in the shows is based on putting the characters in embarrassing situations and then laughing at them. I don’t think that’s funny; I think that’s embarrassing. I guess I’m not alone, since evidently we have this term for that feeling.

How about you? Any of these emotional states strike a chord of recognition with you?

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6 Comments A very snazzy infographic —

  1. Mary Beth

    I can’t watch sitcoms, either. And I have hidden my face or walked out of the room at embarrassing scenes in other shows that I otherwise liked. I’ve always called this “secondary embarrassment,” but it’s not a terrible accurate term; I wish English had a better!

  2. Matthew

    I’m going to have to ask some of my high school friends about serife (I lived in that country for awhile). I only knew the word as a drinking toast that was supposed to mean something like, “Good times!” It’s also a girl’s name, though.

  3. Rachel

    Actually, I think “secondary embarrassment” is an excellent term. I’m going to use it from now on.

  4. Matthew

    Well, my one Turkish buddy says that it’s about drinking with honor and dignity, rather than to just get drunk, and about “paying respect to the maker’s son” because they are part of a long line of craftsmen who made this wonderful beverage.

    So I guess the emotion part is the special appreciation for the drink?

    However, in modern times it is just used as a toast for a good life and wealth and such.

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