January 11th, 2013

red panda eating bamboo

A meme

'If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them?'

This is a strange meme. I know plenty of people who were alive during the 1950s. If they are any indication, the most difficult thing to explain is how to use a modern cell phone or smart phone to make a phone call while not accidentally doing anything else with it.

(I recently got my dad what was advertised as a basic, unsmart cell phone. Every time I picked it up, I managed to trigger the voice recognition function.)

I think the other most difficult thing to explain would be certain kinds of humor that have come about since the 50s. I'm not sure how to explain which kinds, though.

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red panda eating bamboo

Untranslatable emotions

via [personal profile] jae

Artist Pei-Ying Lin, Master of Art in Design Interactions, is doing a project called "Unspeakableness." Part of the project is this infographic that takes an emotion classification map designed by W. Gerrod Parrott and overlays "untranslatable emotions in languages other than English."

http://uniquelang.peiyinglin.net/visualization/Other_Languages_b.png

I looked at the overlay and found several words that were supposedly untranslateable but I know words in English that seem to mean the same thing. For example, there's a Chinese word that is supposed to mean "A rather relaxed emotion and attitude towards everything, accept all the facts instead of worrying about it." I think a word for that in English is "equanimity." (This is a word commonly used in Buddhist studies, and it is an emotion, although some people probably don't think of it that way.) "Equanimity" doesn't appear on Parrott's map.

Other words or phrases I think translate into English well enough:
"(Hebrew) Literally means 'I'm sick on you.' It describes the feeling of obsession with someone or something." Crush? (Not on Parrott's chart) Obsession? (Not on the chart.) Infatuation? (On the chart...although it's connected to "lust" and not to "longing," which I disagree with.
"(Chinese) The feeling somewhere between sympathy and empathy, to feel the suffering of loved ones." I would call this "compassion." But Parrott has "compassion" connected to "affection" with no connection at all to "sadness" or "sympathy."
"(Japanese) The bubbly feeling of the moment of falling in love." The poly community calls something like this "new relationship energy," although that means more the first several months of falling in love, not the first instant. I'm not sure why it's different from "infatuation."

What do you think?

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