Words, Words, Words

Feb 7, 2014

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HAT: H&M (similar: here and here and here and here)
BLAZER: c/o Ellen Face Vintage (similar: here (in maroon), here (in black), here, and here (in brown))
JEANS: Goodwill (similar: here and here and here)
BOOTIES: Macy's (similar: here)

I majored in Communications in college, and seeing how my university was a research school we didn't learn any, you know, job skills, but instead just dissected speech and how it shapes our reality. Which I was a-okay with, haha. And one of my most favorite things that I learned was that our speech, our words, are like the scaffolding of reality as we perceive it. Without being able to label something as abstract and ethereal as a feeling or a thought, nine chances out of ten we won't be able to recognize it's there. It's almost like all these unlocked riddles are lying patiently just under the surface, waiting good-naturedly until you remember their names and invite them in. And once you remember it and call upon it, it'll come into view and it'll be like it never did not exist. It's now part of your tangible world. And more importantly, it shows what your culture, and you yourself, value most.

And seeing how I love words, I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite no-english-equivalent ones. Read through them and see if you ever felt what they were describing. 

  • Toska- Russian- No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.
  • Mamihlapinatapei- Yagan- The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start
  • Litost- Czech- a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

  • Shibui- Japanese -describes an aesthetic that only time can reveal. As we become older and more marked by the riches of life’s experience, we radiate with a beauty that stems from becoming fully ourselves. This term can be applied to almost anything - a landscape, a house, or even a piece of aged wood can be deemed fine art (Christopher Moore)
  • Ilunga- Tshiluba (Southwest Congo)- the stature of a person who is ready to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate it the second time, but never forgive nor tolerate on the third offense.
  • Wabi-Sabi- Japanese- a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.
  • Ostranenie- Russian- encouraging people to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar; defamiliarizing what is known in order to know it differently or more deeply.
  • Waldeinsamkeit- German- the feeling of being alone in the woods.
  • Schadenfreude- German- the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune.
  • Hyggelig- Danish- Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire. (Definition taken from here)

Kind of beautiful, right? :)


And now onto the outfit, I always thought I wasn't a "blazer person" but it just seems like I didn't have the right kind! This Ellenface Vintage one is really amazing because its crushed velvet and really adds a little summin' summin' to the look. A little texture goes a long way when you're dressing casually! The last time I wore it in this post I paired it with other jewel toned pieces, and I introduced Ellenface Vintage as a boutique with crazy reasonably prices, where a bulk of the pieces hover around the $10 mark and a few barely make it over the $20 price tag. If you want to treat yourself but don't want buyer's guilt, I definitely recommend cruising through their shop here!

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And this is how I styled the blazer in this post!


And to give you an idea of what else Ellenface Vintage has in stock, here are a few favorite picks of mine! That pencil skirt is the same velvet and color of my blazer, and how fun is that boho midi?



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  1. In love with this look :)

    The Cutielicious

  2. LOVE this look! I really like the colors you've paired together and how it gives the look a vintage feel :) My favorite part is that you got the jeans from Goodwill! YAY! LOVE that place!


  3. Lovely outfit! I absolutely love the floral patterned shirt. Your friends must love going shopping with you, because you always pick out the most unique things that make the cutest outfits.


  4. I love your way with words, Marlen. Your writing just keeps getting better.

    Two of my favorites:

    Kummerspeck (German): Literally "grief bacon". The weight gained from emotional eating.

    Bakku-shan (Japanese): A girl who is attractive from behind but not from the front.

  5. This look is really cool! :)
    I like a lot :)

    Svetlana from Lavender Star

  6. HA! How interesting! Wabi-Sabi is a fun one to say. I also love the beautiful meaning behind it. I to was a communications major but ours was heavily focused on writing and reporting. It was mostly newspaper style writing. But high five to communication majors!

    Anyway...love the mix of prints you have going on here.


  7. what a fascinating post Marlen! my dad has been studying portuguese lately (which I studied just 2 semesters in college, for my spanish major) & we were just discussing a few words that have no english equivalent the other day. i really loved the words you listed and their meanings. sounds like your major was really interesting.

  8. Love the look! I wish I had your hat collection, every hat is so nice.


  9. Love reading about words with no english equivalent!

    Also, i think this is the first time I've seen you wear jeans!

    at this volume

  10. Um, first off, I don't even like velvet (feels weird), but I love that blazer and especially that blazer on you! Also- that hat and your hair cut seem made for each other- they compliment one another well.

    On a less satorial (but deeper) note, What an interesting post!

  11. Blazers are wonderful because they look good with almost anything and I love this one! It's a great, versatile color without being black. I also really love the mix of pattern here. That turtleneck has the coolest geometric print and I never would've thought to mix it with floral but I really like it! You always look so cool.

    Also I love learning about words that have no literal translation in English. I think it's so cool. Language is very interesting. I wish I'd taken more linguistics courses for my anthropology minor but I mainly took biological anthropology classes (which were super cool too.)

  12. oh too cute! you do such a great job of putting things together! darling :)

  13. super:)) x

  14. Adorable outfit!
    The blazer is so versatile and I love how you styled it for both outfits :)

  15. Wow, those words really are beautiful! Love how they capture the essence of the language's culture and values in a way that an English word just couldn't. Neat stuff! Great outfit here as well- love how you've layered prints and fabrics :)



  16. My phone does not let comment in your blog!
    so frustrating.. anyways...I super love that blazer, the texture of it, makes it so beautiful

  17. Absolutely love your outfit, Marlen! You are so lovely :)
    I definitely need to shop at Goodwill more often! I always end up going to sucky thrift stores that never have anything that looks good on me as it does on the rack but I guess that's what makes a thrift store find so precious and coveted!
    Love your styling and so happy that I stumbled upon your blog! Its amazing and your style is so unique yet so charming :)
    Hope you're having a beautiful day! xx

    ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ Creme de la Chic ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡

  18. love your style!
    so fresh and fashionable :D


  19. I am so envious of your dress sense, you look amazing!

  20. I love your style so much! And such a lovely post!

    In Puerto Rico we have a word/phrase that isn't easy to translate to any other language too: "Bochorno Ajeno"... Meaning a sense of embarrassment one feels for something that's occurring to somebody else. xx


  21. So beautiful look <3
    Love the Hat*

    Vanessa Ribeiro

  22. really do love the vintage look! you look so great in florals, I probably couldn't pull that pretty sweater off like you!

  23. I love thinking about language and how it affects how we think about the world! So this post was perfect :)

  24. I love your dress, especially when you paired it with that brown blazers. Perfect look.


  25. that's so fascinating! words are magical thing in my opinion. how some words mean a lot and some even in a different level of understanding and sense. i majored in communication too back in college with journalism focus. my college was practical, so we spent a lot of time on field. and i loved it. haha

  26. I think your velvet blazer is gorgeous, particularly the orange colour! There are several words that I find in different languages that doesn't translate literally, it's so interesting. Happy weekend.

  27. Oh my god all those words have such beautiful meanings, I really love seeing that. Language is definitely a very interesting subject and it tells a lot about a culture that they have words that we have no equivalent to. That first one really gets me
    I absolutely love this blazer, it looks amazing with the floral top and denim :)

  28. I particularly enjoyed the content of this post. I've also read about how language can affect our ability to live in the moment, or even prepare for the future. Especially in languages that do not have a time specifier, so everything happens 'now'.

    One of my favorite words that doesn't have a direct English translation is the Japanese word "yugen". :)

  29. I loved reading those words without an English equivalent. The more I study French the deeper I go in finding out subtle nuances in the language, and it only gets harder and more fascinating the further I go.

    I have a purple velvet blazer but I'm worried it's now too small, I will have to test it out in winter and see if it's ok. Yours looks adorable on you :)

  30. Oh man, the whole ordeal with language is still a big misty cloud for me. I've read a few works on how speech came to be and how our ancestors slowly started to embrace it, but I haven't got the slightest idea as to how the whole thing appeared :D I'm confused :D
    Anywho, the blazer is FANTASTIC! Awesome shape and color! I have the same panties as yours! :D I wear them like there's not tomorrow :D

  31. You look fab and this was such a great post- really interesting. Thanks!

    Sharlotte // Sharlotte

  32. I just love your vintage style. Florals with blazers and interesting collars. Love this.

    Joana x

  33. I love the combination of the floral shirt with that velvet blazer! It's very beautiful! Would be nice to see how it goes with its matching skirt too!!


  34. This is the sweetest post, Marlen! Florals and special words... my dream! xoxo

  35. I absolutely love your look! The blazer/sweaters/hat combination is just so pretty. And I love you've got snow over there.. still waiting for it here! x

  36. So interesting about the words! My favorite is "Wabi-Sabi- Japanese- a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay."

    Language is an amazing and such an interesting thing--and no doubt your classes at times dry I am sure, were fascinating!

  37. Lovely outfit - the top is so pretty! Also, was very happy to see some great German words in this! Haha, I'm such a German geek! :)

  38. What an outfit, you look flawless! :D

  39. Wow, you learn something new everyday! Although I did know about schadenfreude - I think it's brilliant how they just have a word for capturing a very specific emotion or feeling for a specific event.

    Gorgeous blazer too! I'm not really a blazer kinda gal either.

    Hmm maybe...

  40. This is such a lovely look! I really like your short hair with the hat! :) Mady


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