Several months ago, I wrote an article about 5 Emotions Invented By The Internet. It was one of my favorite articles to write since I’m very interested in Internet psychology. The person who did the research for that data was Pei-Ying Lin. This artistic scientist who focuses on emotions has also studied emotions as they relate to languages. If you are a native English speaker, you have probably felt emotions for which there are no words in English. This chart below shows 19 of them.
It’s strange to think about things that have no words in English because it almost seems like if there isn’t a word for it; it doesn’t exist. However, that is far from the truth. When you think about it, living by only expressing ourselves within the boundaries of our own language is tight and confining. According to Pei-Ying Lin’s website, this project called Unspeakableness was a way for Pei-Ying Lin and the other participants “to take control ourselves instead of being controlled by the structure of languages.”
These emotions, which have no words in English, are represented by the red dots on the chart below. He found the best way to describe them in English was to say “it is a kind of (emotion A), close to (emotion B), and somehow between (emotion C) and (emotion D).”
For example, you know that bubbly emotion that rushes over you in the moment you fall in love? It’s the one where you get butterflies in your stomach and forget your own name. What do we call that very specific emotion in English? There isn’t an English word for it, but there is a word for that emotion in Japanese. You can follow this chart to see the emotions around it, which can all be described in English, but there are no words in English that identify that specific feeling. Kinda neat, right?
19 Emotions (Red Dots) For Which There Are No Words In English
(Click Chart To Enlarge)