27 March 2015

Lost in translation. Word of the day: Meraki

Meraki: Love, passion and a lot of soul.
Meraki:
 Doing things with love, passion and a lot of soul.



Greek ranks as the richest language in the world; Europe’s oldest, with five million words

 and seventy million word types, existing for more than four thousand years.


Other ancient languages did exist before Greek, for example; Babylonian and Sumerian, 

but, Greek is the only ancient language, barring two Chinese dialects, that persisted, the 

only ancient language to remain alive today.


You can understand, then, why some Greek words are said to be untranslatable.

Meraki is one of those words, said to be untranslatable, but is it?




Sappho, on word
Sappho, on words



Meraki, a verb, or adverb, a Modern Greek word, derived from the Turkish “Merak” (Labor of

 love, to do something with pleasure), is applied to tasks, usually, creative or artistic tasks, 

but can be applied to any task at all.

It means to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention.




Maria Callas
Maria Callas. Greek opera singer.
Put her whole soul into singing,.
She sang with passion, with meraki



No matter how difficult a task, it is done with all your effort, with enthusiasm, with eagerness,

 with complete love; it is done with all your heart, a labour of love, so to speak.





Washing with butterflies
This lady, is so devoted to her husband,
 it is a pleasure to wash his clothes.
Not a chore at all.



Meraki is to put your soul into something, to put a little bit of yourself into it, be it singing, 

dancing, or painting.



Tango
Tango
 Danced with passion, with every fibre of your body,
giving it your all!



It can be the simplest of tasks, such as making a cup of coffee for your husband; you made 

it with love, with devotion, with meraki!





Coffee Made with meraki
Coffee
Made with meraki


Here’s a good example of the use of meraki, I asked a friend of mine, a chef, if his wife was

also a good cook.

No, he answered, she’s a terrible cook, but, when she cooks me a meal, I tell her it was 

delicious, because, she cooked it for me with love, with all her heart, she cooked it for me 

with meraki.




A jar full of meraki
A jar full of meraki



Someone who loves life, lives it to the hilt, does everything with zeal, someone who lives for


 the moment, for the now, is often, here in Greece referred to as a “Meraklis”.


 Every single thing he does, day in, day out, is done with meraki.




Zorba The Greek
Zorba The Greek
Maybe the happiest meraklis ever!



According to the artist Vincent Van Gough, doing something with all your being, with


 passion, putting all your heart and soul into your work, may result in madness!


"I put my heart and and my soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process"




 "Old Man in Sorrow" (On the Threshold of Eternity) Vincent Van Gogh
"Old Man in Sorrow" (On the Threshold of Eternity)
Vincent Van Gogh



Do you think the Greek word meraki is untranslatable?

How about the English word ardour (American; Ardor)?


Ardour means to do something with great passion, with enthusiasm, with a strong feeling of 

energy and eagerness, to do something with love.


It sounds very similar to me.

If you'd like to find out, if untranslatable words really do exist, a good place to look, is in this

 fascinating book by Ella Frances Sanders;

An artistic collection of more than 50 drawings featuring unique, funny, and poignant foreign 

words that have no direct translation into English. 



Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World



"Lost in Translation" Ella Frances Sanders
"Lost in Translation"
Ella Frances Sanders



And while you're at it, why not check out Ella Frances Sanders, latest book;

A charming illustrated collection of more than fifty expressions from around the globe that 

explore the nuances of language. From the hilarious and romantic to the philosophical and 

literal, the idioms, proverbs, and adages i


 " The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions from Around the World"



The Illustrated Book of Sayings Ella Frances Sanders
The Illustrated Book of Sayings
Ella Frances Sanders


Go and make someone happy!


Do something with meraki!


 More Glorious Greek Words



Eucharisto/Efharisto

34 comments:

  1. While there is no literal translation for it, I think ‘affection’ is the closest word we could consider as a counterpart of the word ‘meraki’ in the English language, since the phrase ‘doing things with meraki’ is pretty much synonymous to ‘doing things affectionately.’ Anyhow, kudos to you for recreating that chair incredibly, all with a little help of tools and lots of meraki! Thanks for sharig that! Have a nice day!

    Israel Oliver @ Atlas-Translations

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good thinking Israel Oliver, affection, now there's a word I missed when trying to describe the meaning of meraki!
    Susan.x

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When we are going to translate a language into another than it's very usual that we find some words those are untranslatable. It's common in many languages. best translation services

    ReplyDelete
  5. I also benefit from learning the assessments, but learn that alot of people ought to stay on essay to try and add worth in the direction of the authentic weblog release. english to chinese translation

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for this post... simply awesome :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you Tania, isn't "Meraki" just the most wonderful word?
      Susan.x

      Delete
  7. Would this work as a one word tattoo. Could it mean you are putting soul into the way you live

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha My same thought :-) Yes, it would work, in fact I learned about this word when looking on the net for Greek word tattoo ideas. Let's get it !!

      Delete
    2. Oh sorry, forgot to answer this but seems Kn has answered....yes, a great idea for a tattoo!!!
      Susan.xxx

      Delete
  8. Another proof that language has bounderies. Soul and love are borderless and can't be labeled. Meraki is born from within and can't be taught or learned. Meraki is the fruit of your love tree that yourself waters day by day and that makes you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly Panagiotis, Meraki can certainly not be taught or learnt....you either have it or you don't !!!
      Susan.xxx

      Delete
  9. I fell in utter love with the word & the meaning, it just hurts the right chords. Beautiful. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Saumya, it really is a beautiful word, everybody seems to love it!!!
      Susan.xxx

      Delete
  10. I have been looking for a special name for a beautiful kitten that magically made his way into my Art Studio a few days ago - and doesn't seem to belong to any of my neighbors. Thank you, it's perfect. He shall be called Meraki!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh what a wonderful story, what a lucky kitten he is, to be taken in by you.It truly is a special name for him.
      Merry Christmas,
      Susan.x

      Delete
  11. h
    Kalimera, I am so glad to have found someone who has been living my dream! I fell in love with Greece a couple of years ago and I think you couldn't have made a better choice. All my best wishes, live your life with meraki! Cristina from Romania

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kalimera Christina, Greece is a wonderful place to live, I love it, I hope some day your dream comes true, and you too can experience life in Greece....with meraki!
      Susan.x

      Delete
  12. I chanced upon this word and loved it and when i googled it I chanced upon your piece. i love this too. but it got me thinking ... what word could best describe such a sentiment ... not just a translation for the word and i felt the Urdu word Shiddat is a good trans-lingual synonym. it means a combination of love, devotion and 'all that you have' in complete honesty! does that make sense?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it does make sense, I think it must have a similar meaning to the Greek word" Meraki".
      Thanks for looking at my blog.
      Susan.x

      Delete
  13. If more people that write articles really concerned themselves with writing great content like you, more readers would be interested in their writings. Thank you for caring about your content. עריכה לשונית באנגלית

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks Afzal, what a wonderful comment!
      Susan.x

      Delete
    2. I agree with you completely..:))

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. Thank you Aliza,
      So happy I was of help to you.
      Thanks for reading.
      Susan.x

      Delete
  15. I love untranslatable words! my fave...Saudades and Cafune in Portuguese

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I added your word to another fav!!

      Delete
    2. Oh, thanks Teda,
      I must look up these two Portuguese words; Saudades and Cafune!
      Susan.x

      Delete
  16. Δεν θέλω να σας στενοχωρήσω αλλά η λέξη μεράκι είναι τούρκικη την οποία με την σειρά τους οι τούρκοι την πηρανε απο τα αραβικά.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The People's Republic of China undertook the simplification of traditional Chinese characters in an effort to promote literacy. Chinese translator Simplified Chinese characters are used mainly in mainland China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other overseas Chinese communities.

    ReplyDelete
  18. for beginners like me need a lot of reading and searching for information on various blogs. and articles that you share a very nice and inspires me . obat aborsi

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for sharing abd explaning the meaning of Meraki. Here you mentioned about the ancient languages in the world. I would love to share with you that Sanskrit is the most ancient language in the world, even before Babylonian, Sumerian or any other.
    Sanskrit is known as language of gods and having originated in the 2nd millennium BCE as Vedic Sanskrit. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for reading my blog, I am always absolutely delighted to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions.
They make all my efforts worthwhile,.

Please do check back, after leaving a comment, as I make every effort to answer all your remarks promptly.
Thanks,
Susan.x

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