Min and I have been talking about the Burmese word arnardeh. It means, among other things, the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when someone has been too nice to you. You feel both honored and in debt, and it gives you pain. That’s arnardeh.

It made me wonder what other emotions lack adequate English terms. For instance, what about when you do something so embarrassing that you’re actually forced to tell your friends in an attempt to dilute the embarrassment and eventually be able to laugh at yourself?

Another: you haven’t called one of your relatives for so long that it gets more and more difficult to call her with every passing day, until you can’t actually bring yourself to pick up the telephone.

Do these things have names that I don’t know about? Or are they things that only happen to me? In which case, let’s pretend the relative one isn’t posted here…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *