Tuesday, February 20, 2018

WORDS ~ Foreign Feelings Following "I read the news today, Oh boy!"

As Arika Okrent wrote in her 2016 piece titled How to Tell Whether You've Got Angst, Ennui, or Weltschmerz, familiar words in the English language sometimes just don't hit the spot. The piece begins:
English has many words for the feelings that can arise when a good, hard look at the state of the world seems to reveal only negatives. Hopelessness, despair, depression, discouragement, melancholy, sorrow, worry, disconsolation, distress, anxiety …there are so many that it would hardly seem necessary to borrow any more from other languages. But English never hesitates to borrow words that would lose certain subtleties in translation, and angst, ennui, and weltschmerz have made their way into English by offering a little something extra.

The article is fairly brief, but if it's still TL;DR (= too long; did not read)- nutshell:

Are you dissatisfied and worried in an introspective, overthinking German way? You’ve got angst.

Are you tired, so tired of everything about the world and the way it is? Do you proclaim this, with a long, slow sigh, to everyone around you? You’ve got ennui.

Do you have sadness in your heart for the world that can never be and sensible shoes? You’ve got weltschmerz.

I'm trying to diagnose my own state of mind - I'm swinging between weltschmerz and "I've no more f..ks to give" - I wonder if there's a foreign word for that?


R J Adams said...

I think I have weltangstschmerzennui.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Oh boy! Yep - what was that old pop song (Adam Faith sang it I think)?
"I never felt more like singin' the blues......"

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm feeling hopeful T, it's like a confluence of different "rebellions" have hit my psyche and took up residence.

So much of that movie - Broadcast News I think - many of not taking it anymore. I see it with the young particularly.

They bring energy and defiance with their breaking point. I would not underestimate them.