fbpx Translating Happiness: A Cross-Cultural Lexicon of Well-Being | Lomas,..
Try LightSail for FREE for up to 7 kids! Instant access to thousands of books. Sign-up
Try LightSail for FREE for up to 7 kids! Instant access to thousands of books. Sign-up
Sign up for our literacy platform for free for reading at home

Translating Happiness: A Cross-Cultural Lexicon of Well-Being

Authors: Lomas, Tim
Publisher: MIT Press
BISAC/Subject: LAN009000, PSY008000
ISBN: 9780262344647, Related ISBNs: 0262037483, 0262344645, 0262537087, 9780262037488, 9780262344647
Classification: Non-Fiction
Number of pages: 240,
Audience: General/trade
Synopsis: How embracing untranslatable terms for well-being—from the Finnish sisu to the Yiddish mensch—can enrich our emotional understanding and experience.

Western psychology is rooted in the philosophies and epistemologies of Western culture. But what of concepts and insights from outside this frame of reference? Certain terms not easily translatable into English—for example, nirvāṇa (from Sanskrit), or agápē (from Classical Greek), or turangawaewae (from Māori)—are rich with meaning but largely unavailable to English-speaking students and seekers of wellbeing. In this book, Tim Lomas argues that engaging with “untranslatable” terms related to well-being can enrich not only our understanding but also our experience. We can use these words, Lomas suggests, to understand and express feelings and experiences that were previously inexpressible.

Lomas examines 400 words from 80 languages, arranges them thematically, and develops a theoretical framework that highlights the varied dimensions of well-being and traces the connections between them. He identifies three basic dimensions of well-being—feelings, relationships, and personal development—and then explores each in turn through untranslatable words. Ânanda, for example, usually translated as bliss, can have spiritual associations in Buddhist and Hindu contexts; kefi in Greek expresses an intense emotional state—often made more intense by alcohol. The Japanese concept of koi no yokan means a premonition or presentiment of love, capturing the elusive and vertiginous feeling of being about to fall for someone, imbued with melancholy and uncertainty; the Yiddish term mensch has been borrowed from its Judaic and religious connotations to describe an all-around good human being; and Finnish offers sisu—inner determination in the face of adversity.

Expanding the lexicon of well-being in this way showcases the richness of cultural diversity while reminding us powerfully of our common humanity. Lomas's website, www.drtimlomas.com/lexicography, allows interested readers to contribute their own words and interpretations.

Sign up for our literacy platform for reading at home

LightSail includes up to 6,000 high interest, Lexile aligned book titles with every student subscription. Other titles are available for individual purchase.

Watch the power of

Lightsail in action

×

SUPPORT GROWING READERS

Immediately Engage Students
Immediately Engage Students
Simple intuitive design has classrooms reading within minutes.
Exponentially Grow Reading Time
Exponentially Grow Reading Time
Students love the LightSail experience and naturally spend more time reading.
Accelerate Literacy Development
Accelerate Literacy Development
Students reading 25 minutes a day on LightSail are seeing 2+ years of Lexile growth in a single year.

LightSail Education is a comprehensive Lexile and standards-aligned, literacy platform and digital e-book library. Including multimodal learning functionality and featuring books from leading publishers, LightSail holistically assesses and nurtures each student on their reading and writing-to-learn journey, throughout elementary, middle, and high school.

*LightSail offers a 2,000 or a 6,000 title bundle with its student subscriptions. Other titles are available for individual purchase.