Category Archives: words

#WordsIDidntKnow – Gaman (‘endurance’)

One attribute highly prized in Japanese society is that of “gaman”, or “endurance”. Gaman is the quality of enduring what seems unbearable with dignity and grace. The idea basically that is that if there’s something unpleasant around you, it’s better to tough it out in an act of self-sacrifice rather than act immediately to change it. It’s similar to Calvin’s Dad’s belief in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes that Misery Builds Character.

This is from [warning!!] TV Tropes.

Advertisements

Isn’t it macaronic? #wordsIdidntknow

macaronic ˌmakəˈrɒnɪk/
adjective 1. denoting language, especially burlesque verse, containing words or inflections from one language introduced into the context of another.
noun 1. macaronic verse, especially that which mixes the vernacular with Latin.

As in Private Eye’s Pig Latin Honorary Degrees, or the late Miles Kington‘s Let’s Parler Francais…

anabasis ‎(plural anabases)
A military march up-country, especially that of Cyrus the Younger into Asia.
(obsolete) The first period, or increase, of a disease; augmentation.
Antonyms catabasis, katabasis

Clamant ˈkleɪm(ə)nt,ˈklam-/ urgently demanding attention.

Fun foreign words – Sehnsucht and Duende

Just the words, ma’am? Then skip the first two paragraphs.

I have a glancing familiarity with some languages (French, Danish, Portuguese; minimal smatterings of others). One of the delights is learning words that have no direct translation (and then dropping them casually into conversations, in a puerile attempt at intellectual chest-beating. But I haven’t done that in ages. At least a week. But I digress.) Schadenfreude, Saudades, hygge etc etc etc

One of the other delights of my non-wifey weekends is the Financial Times weekend edition. Most of the meaty fact-based (albeit selected through the prism of serving the global killer elite) reportage, but with

  • a colour magazine containing columns by the always brilliant Simon Kuper, Gillian Tett and Tim Harford, and the often very funny Robert Shrimsley, asides from v.interesting features
  • the Life and Arts section, with book reviews, essays, “Lunch with the FT”, the Slow Lane, Harry Eyres etc. And the crossword. All this for £3. It will be my Desert Island luxury, if I ever climb those dizzy heights (I’d be there by now, frankly).

All this is a needlessly long introduction to –

Sehnsucht – “a yearning for something that is unobtainable.” (Quirke, 2015)

Duende – “a sort of spirit, something that no amount of training can achieve.” (Eyres, 2015)

Things to do while the algae grow in my fur – re-read Trevanian’s extraordinary novel Shibumi

References

Eyres, H. (2015) Gifts from the court of Federer. Financial Times, 17/18 January

Quirke, A. (2015) Messages from humanity. Financial Times, 17/18 January