We’re hugely dependent on language to express how we really feel, and yet words often feel curiously vague or frustratingly inaccurate. There are lots of moods, needs and feelings that our own language has not yet properly pinned down. The perfect word – even if it comes from abroad – helps us explain ourselves to other people, and its existence quietly reassures us (and everyone else) that a state of mind is not really rare, just rarely spoken of.
This set of cards define some of our favourite words from the world’s languages and married them up with complementary images to create cards that bring some of our most important feelings into focus. We’ve created them to prompt greater reflection about the nature of language and the emotions.
DUENDE (Spanish): A heightened sense of emotion created by a moving piece of art.
FORELSKET (Norwegian): The euphoric feeling at the beginning of love. We can’t believe someone so perfect has wandered into our lives. They enhance and complete us. We might report: ‘I was overpowered by forelsket as our fingers interlaced…’
YŪGEN (Japanese): Gives a name to a mood in which one feels that the universe as a whole possesses a mysterious and elusive beauty. Moonlight, snow on distant mountains, birds flying very high in the evening sky, and watching the sun rise over the ocean all feed this sensibility.
We’ve designed these cards to reflect the excitement we find in encountering and old photograph or an object in a flea market or antique stall, one that feels familiar yet foreign and is thus infinitely evocative.
How to Use the Cards
Turn to these cards to find a word that speaks most powerfully to your mood.
Sort through and select a card to send to a friend as a memento of a particular feeling you associate with them.
Play a game with your partner by taking it in turns to remember a time you may have felt or known the untranslatable word to be most true.
More Tools for Expanding Horizons
Card Set: Eastern Philosophy – A set of cards from The School of Life.
Book: How to Travel – A book from The School of Life Press.
Article: Why Germans Can Say Things No One Else Can – An article from our blog, The Book of Life.
20 cards in box | 159mm x 115mm x 20mm.