Saturday, June 13, 2020

Nostos, saudade, nostalgia

In "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism", Shoshana Zuboff introduces the Greek "nostos" (returning home) in her discussion of the contemporary loss of the home – that is, of privacy. Then she talks about the homesickness of emigrants in terms of the Portuguese "saudade". Although she doesn't refer to this as "untranslatable", it does often come up in lists of such words, even as it promptly gets translated (just not with one word). But she did not need to reach for the Portuguese word to discuss the pain of "nostos"; that word is the root of "nostalgia", which was coined in Basel in 1678 by Johannes Hofer as a Latin term for "homesickness". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 13 June)

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