One of the most fulfilling things about moving to London is you get to meet and befriend so many wonderful people from all around the world. You basically get exposed to different cultures. This could mean learning about different habits, social behaviours, attitudes, cuisines, ideas, customs, as well as languages. For example, I recently found out that in Taiwanese the casual way of saying ‘Hi’ translates to ‘have you eaten yet?’ Which as we say, super cool. It is unusual but completely relatable in most cultures - that’s how most grandmothers greet us anyway, don’t you agree?
I find languages so fascinating. You learn so much more about a country and a culture by learning the language. The more I am exposed to different languages and cultures, the more I am convinced that the languages we speak shape the way we see the world, the way we think, and see the word (Boroditsky, 2017). I recently came across a British Designer named Ella Frances Sanders who has written a book called Lost in Translation (2014). She introduces her book by:
“There may be some small essential gaps in your mother tongue, but never fear: you can look to other languages to define what you’re feeling”
In that context, I decided to choose three unique words and visualise their meanings. These words are ‘unique’ in a sense that they do not translate to a specific noun or verb in English or any of the other two languages I speak (Armenian and Farsi) but they can be explained. For instance, there is an incredible Inuit noun, Iktsuarpok, that explains the feeling “somewhere between impatience and anticipation,” it is the feeling one experiences while constantly looking out the window while expecting a special guest (MacDonald, 2014).