Infographic: 21 Emotions For Which There Are No English Words

created at: 02/21/2013

You know when someone asks you what your thinking about, and you just can’t find the term? Or, when you’re asked how you feel about something, and you have to start it with a caveat or an “I don’t know” before searching for the best approximation?

Chances are, there are words for those situation, they’re just likely not in the English dictionary.   Design student Pei-Ying Lin researched those feelings that are likely familiar to us, and found their vocabulary in other languages: 

Lin solicited the list of “unspeakable” words from colleagues at London’s Royal College of Art, and found that their definitions in English usually came down to something like, “it is a kind of (emotion A), close to (emotion B), and somehow between (emotion C) and (emotion D).” Next, to visualize the relationship between the foreign emotion-words and English ones, Lin used a linguistics model to map out five basic emotions (large yellow circles), along with several descriptive words related to each (smaller green circles). Finally, she used her sources’ descriptions to place the new/foreign words on the English map.

created at: 02/21/2013

I only wish she’d been able to transliterate the non-Roman alphabet words so we could know a little more about how to pronounce them, and have some cool, “did you know?” facts that might help with a deep conversation with a friend or loved one.

Check out the full graphic at PopSci: 21 Emotions For Which There Are No English Words [Infographic]