Recently I came across this amazing little Tumblr named OtherWordly‘ – itself a play on words. It consists of a collection of strange and lovely words from different languages through different times. What I like most about this selection of consonants and vowels – little meaning-carrying packages of vibration – is that they all try to point to the unspeakable, the transient or the neglected. That which we forget in the busyness of our daily grind. Words have the power to remind us – and therefore we should choose our words carefully so we are reminded of the things that nourish our souls.

You can find my favourite words below – pick five that resonate most, write them down, yes seriously – go grab a pen -, make sure to learn them by heart, teach them to your inner voice and share them with others to guide our collective attention to what truly matters. Oh – and don’t forget to visit and follow the Tumblr ‘OtherWordly‘ to find more words, to support the author and perhaps send a special word you know her way.

1 – Sophrosyne

sophrosyne

pronunciation | “so-frO-‘sU-nA
Greek script | σωφροσύνη
note | To everyone who is thinking “I want to get there” and also to everyone who is thinking “I’ll never get there”—you will. Even if it’s a battle, keep fighting, because you are good and strong and valuable, and your happiness is worth it.

2 – Vorfreude

vorfreude

pronunciation | ‘for-froi-duh

3 – Numinous

numinous

pronunciation | ‘nU-mi-nus
note | The word originated in religious usage, but it can be applied to natural experiences as well as supernatural. It can also mean “suggesting the presence of something holy or divine”.

4 – Nemophilist

nemophilist

pronunciation | ne-‘mo-fe-list

5 – Sillage

sillage

pronunciation | ‘sE-yazh
notes | sillage is how close a perfume stays to your skin; perfume with light sillage does not leave much trace in the air. also, not to be confused with silage (sy-ladzh), which is a type of cow food.

6 – Erlebnisse

erlebnisse

pronunciation | Ar-‘lEb-nis-e (ayr-LEEB-nis-eh)
singular | Erlebnis

7 – Koyaanisqatsi

koyaanisqatsi

pronunciation | koy-an-Es-kot-sA

8 – Meliorism

meliorism

pronunciation | ‘mE-lE-or-iz-m

9 – Fernweh

fernweh

pronunciation | FEIRN-veyh, with fei as in feint

10 – Ostranenie

ostranenie

pronunciation | ‘os-tra-“nen-E
note | generally used as an art term
Russian | остранение

11 – Smultronställe

smultronstalle

pronunciation | “smUl-tron-‘stel-e

12 – Mamihlapinatapai

mamihlapinatapai

pronunciation | ma-mE-la-pin-ya-ta-pI

Original art by a2star.

13 – Rasasvada

rasasvada

pronunciation | ‘ra-sas-“va-da

14 – Acatalepsy

acatalepsy

pronunciation | a-‘cat-a-lep-sE

15 – Weltanschauung

weltanschauung

pronunciation | wElt’-An-sh-au-“unG

16 – Hiraeth

hiraeth

pronunciation | ‘hEr-rIth (HEER-eyeth, with a fast heer and a soft th)

17 – Nefelibata

nefelibata

pronunciation | ne-fe-lE-‘ba-ta

18 – Firgun

firgun

pronunciation | fEr-‘gOn
Hebrew script | פירגון

19 – Metanoia

metanoia

pronunciation | (meh-tah-NOY-ah)

20 – Dérive

derive

pronunciation | de-‘rEv

21 – Orenda

orenda

pronunciation | or-en-da

22 – Sehnsucht

sehnsucht

pronunciation | zEn-‘zUkt

23 – Tsundoko

tsundoku

pronunciation | tsUn-dO-kU (tsoon-doh-koo)

Japanese script | 積ん読 kanji, つんどく hiragana

24 – Gezellig

gezellig

pronunciation | CHe-‘zel-iCH (CH being a soft guttural sound, as in German; something like a rough h)

25 – Cafuné

cafune

pronunciation | \ka-‘fU-nA\ (ka-foo-nay)

Which five are your favourites?

Original art by a2star.