Language is a map, and there are moments when we realize that it is inadequate. There are moments, also, when we realize that we are enboxed by it. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein for this reason asserted, "The limits of my language are the limits of my world." Often, these limits are moments where our heart is engaged profoundly, and English, which many of us grew up speaking, isn't alive, relational, sacred, or connected enough to allow us to communicate what we are experiencing. Poetry sometimes can, for it is the closest we get in English to a living language.
These moments when we step out of the map of our mother tongue can be disorienting, because what falls outside of the envelope of our naming is harder to see clearly, and can be harder therefore to share with anyone else. We may struggle to understand what we are feeling, and then struggle to share it with someone else.
For the past twenty-six years Natureza Gabriel has been assembling a map of untranslatable words. He started doing this because he needed them himself, and because each one he discovered reassured him, in some bone-deep way, that he wasn't the first or only person to have a specific feeling, experience, or intuition. This made him feel less alone. Keywords is a book filled with words missing from the English language, which particularly address aspects of our internal worlds, inter-personal worlds, and our relatedness with the more-than-human natural world that simply don't exist in English. Gabriel gathered them, over time, from 46 different languages.
This book opens a doorway to a new relationship with language, and possibilities of describing, with precision and nuance, aspects of our human experience that haven’t been named in English. Did you know, for example, that there’s a word in Yiddish for a kind of knowing that comes from your guts? That the word for neighbor in Filipino really means an awareness that we are not alone? That in Japan there is a word for the color of sunlight filtered through leaves? That the word for meditation in Hebrew literally means, ‘bring your heart to it.’ That there’s a word in the Indigenous Kumeyaay dialect that means, ‘I see the fire in your heart.’ Keywords opens the door to a new world of meaning.
Out of stock
Please note: It is taking us about 3 weeks from the date of order to get these in your hands. At present, we are using a print-on-demand service, so the price reflects our extremely high per unit cost. Apologies for this. The book is:
• 8.5 x 8.5 inches (square)
• 284 full color pages
• case laminate hardcover
• Full color illustrations
• A beautiful addition to your coffee table, a conversation starter...
“Keywords is an extraordinary way-finding to what is missing, what has been cut out of the heart of humanity and which can be fully restored by our attention. As Martin Shaw writes, “We make things holy by the kind of attention we give them.” Gabriel is making our way of being holy again by the quality of attention he brings to the words that are missing, re-storing and re-connecting us with the ineffable so we can re-member ourselves into our ancestral future.”
— Peter Tavernise
|Dimensions||21.25 × 21.25 × 2.5 cm|