Finding the perfect word…

Word count: 300 words

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help writers. Today I discuss an article in the Huffington Post by Ella Frances Sanders…..

My son learned the word schadenfreude (joy in the misfortune of others) when he was 13. This might have been because, (1) he has an extraordinarily large vocabulary, (2) he has a special affection for the German language, (3) he likes knowing things that his peers don’t, (4) he exhibits a great deal of schadenfreude at the misfortunes of his sisters.

Or, perhaps he simply acquired an interest in linguistics via genetics. I have always loved words in other languages that have no English equivalent. So I experienced particular joy (is there a word for that?) when I discovered a list of such words in a fascinating Huffington Post article by Ella Frances Sanders. I posted a link to it on Facebook right away and noticed that many of my readers shared it as well.

My favourite word in the list of 11 words presented in this article? Hard to say as so many of them are exquisite. I like it that the Japanese have a word, komorebi, to describe the dappled light of sunshine filtered through tree leaves. I also have an affection for the Indonesian term jayus, meaning a joke that’s so unfunny, one cannot help but laugh. (My husband tells jokes like this all the time.)

On reflection, however, my favourite word is the Spanish sobremesa, describing the time we spend talking with people after sharing a meal with them. When I was a child, my mother loved to entertain and we would spend hours, sitting around the dining room table, drinking tea and chatting after every meal. Our sobremesa time gives me very fond memories.