Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On (Foreign) Vocabulary: Hiraeth


Hiraeth is a Welsh word that, like saudade (Portuguese) and litost (Czech), have no direct translation in English. Wikipedia describes it as “homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire for the Wales of the past.”

Welsh or not, this feeling is universal in an immigrant and refugees. This emotion is so powerful that Dvorak, Bartok and countless composers who left their homeland poured their souls in capturing the essence of the country of their birth in their adopted countries. This emotion is also not knew. In Aeneid, Virgil depicts the protagonist looking back at his country while committed to founding Rome. I don’t know if the Greeks and the Romans had a word for hiraeth, but I’m pretty sure that’s what Aeneid was feeling.

Photo: Patterned tiles adorn the sidewalks of Aveiro, Portugal.


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This entry was posted on October 30, 2015 by in Culture, language, Vocabulary and tagged , , , , .
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