If you’ve ever been asked what you’re feeling and you’ve felt lost for words then it’s probably because you really are, lost for words that is. English is a wonderfully descriptive and varied language, but it’s not perfect. Not everything can be summed up neatly, especially when it comes to human emotions.

In an attempt to fill in these literal gaps, Pei-Ying Lin, a design student at the Royal College of Art has created a matrix of emotional states and the words that best describe them. She takes base words like love and anger and connects them to satellite emotions like lust and fear. If that wasn’t interesting enough, she has also inserted foreign words that describe some of the feelings that English doesn’t.

Take the word Lygee for example, which is Danish for complete and utter happiness, or Тоска, which in Russian means a great anguish or longing of the soul, often without any reason. Or how about that elusive moment when you realise that you’re falling in love? The Japanese have a single word that describes this state: tokimeki.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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