lunes, 16 de diciembre de 2013

Las palabras con las que vemos el mundo

Si es cierto, como dijo el escritor español Juan José Millás, que "cada vez que desaparece una palabra, desaparece una zona de la realidad", también vale lo contrario. Podríamos decir, entonces, que cuando surge una palabra y cuando –en tanto comunidad de lengua– empezamos a usarla, se destaca, se define, cobra entidad algo de la (imaginada o empírica) realidad.


Muchos lingüistas han ido a fondo con esta idea. Conocida es la hipótesis de Edward Sapir y Benjamin Lee Whorf, que afirma que existe una relación entre el léxico y las categorías gramaticales que una persona usa y la forma en que esa misma persona entiende y conceptualiza el mundo. Así, una lengua que tiene menor número de tiempos verbales que otra vuelve a sus hablantes menos conscientes del paso del tiempo; y un idioma, como el de los esquimales, que ofrece un menú de casi 20 nombres para denominar lo que en español es solo "nieve" por supuesto que permite, a quien lo habla, diferenciar rasgos físicos y sensoriales de esa materia que otros hablantes no podrían ni percibir. Todo esto lleva a creer que cuando uno aprende un idioma (de niño, a través de sus mayores, o en cualquier edad, cuando quiere conocer otra lengua) lo que absorbe –junto con los sustantivos, las preposiciones, las formas de indicar pluralidad y trascurso temporal– es una determinada forma de ver el mundo.

Por eso, es interesante conocer y contrastar cómo algunas lenguas han concebido la realidad. Porque si todas las lenguas tienen un término para "mujer" o para "mesa", no todas tienen una forma de indicar 'la luz del sol que se filtra a través de las hojas de los árboles', como sí el japonés con su palabra "komorebi" o el modo de nombrar 'la sensación de suspensión de la noción de realidad y en consecuencia descreimiento que puede ocurrir al leer o escuchar una buena historia', de la que habló mucho Borges, con casi tantas palabras como las usadas, en lugar de poder decir, simplemente, como admite el urdu, "goya". Como vemos aquí, en este delicioso listado de palabras intraducibles y únicas, estas denominaciones, inexistentes en español, se dan en otras lenguas.

Y, a la vez, no todas las lenguas transmiten lo mismo acerca de una realidad relativamente común: para el español, "añoranza" procede de una nostalgia por una ausencia (en última instancia, por un "no saber de", por eso su parecido a "ignorar", palabra con la que tiene raíz común); para el alemán, en cambio, "heimweh", el término equivalente, indica literalmente 'dolor de hogar'.

¿Qué palabras "intraducibles" conocen ustedes (dentro de jergas el español o de otras lenguas)? ¿Y qué palabras salvarían como irreemplazables? Lo conversamos aquí.

81 comentarios:

  1. Mamihlapinatapai, que los indios de la Tierra del Fuego en Argentina usan para explicar "una mirada entre dos personas cada una de las cuales espera que la otra comience una acción que ambos desean pero que ninguno se anima a iniciar".

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  2. Pensaba en el verbo TO BE, a través del cual podemos decir ser/estar de forma indistinta y tenemos que deducir por contexto cuál es la acción utilizada. En cambio en castellano podemos ser sin estar.

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  3. Déjàvu, que es la sensación de haber experimentado o sido testigo de algún hecho o situación nueva

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  4. En la lengua maya yucateca podemos decir que xma 'ol es el equivalente a una emoción que te mantiene ausente o alejado del resto aun estando. No hay una palabra para decir triste, pero las personas que se encuentran xma'ol comparten algunas características. Lo que hace la diferencia es que los mayas no son muy efusivos en sus emociones y suele no verse bien, estar triste.

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  5. Esto de las palabras es un tema que me encanta. Conocer palabras nuevas y tan hermosa como aquella de la lengua maya y la de los indios de tierra del fuego no puede ser mas fascinante.

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  6. Resulta interesante lo que sucede ya aprendida una lengua, creo que hay dos grandes modificadores de la mirada y comprensión de la realidad, la matemática y (otra rama de la matemática), la algoritmia.
    En ingeniería se da mucho el problema del ingeniero que comprende un concepto nuevo y luego tiene muchos problemas para explicar algo que para el ya es natural, el problema no es de comprensión, es que el ya ha incorporado ese concepto dentro de su lenguaje y por lo tanto PIENSA EN TÉRMINOS DE la serie de operaciones mentales y cosas que ese concepto implica, este es un caso inverso al de la desaparición de una palabra del vocabulario, aquí el técnico crea o descubre un nuevo campo de realidad.
    Con respecto a la algoritmia (notar que intento NO referirme a tecnología), recuerdo cuando aprendí a programar computadoras, como los conceptos se iban permeando a mi manera de ver el mundo, y en todos lados veía ciclos, decisiones, saltos, variables, etc. Eso inicio una tarea consciente de ampliar mi lenguaje interno con conceptos que existían o no, que continuo hasta hoy, la mente es altamente programable a nivel semántico y conceptual, y los lenguajes de programación son un burdo ejemplo al lado de lo que puede crear uno conscientemente.

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  7. Yo se de un par de palabras en castellano que no tienen traducción a otros idiomas, por lo menos aquellos que no son idiomas romances: MADRUGADA, CONSUEGRO, CONCUÑADO...

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  8. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

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  9. Añoranza me ha recordado la saudade portuguesa, en su origen, pero ya es de todos.

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  10. Quizá la palabra "ilusión" que en español se usa no sólo para significar lo que está sólo en la mente, y no en la realidad, sino también "esperanza" o "alegría" muy especial como cuando se dice: "me hace ilusión" o "tengo la ilusión de..."

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  11. Yo hablo un idioma que se llama Chatino (lengua originaria de Oaxaca) y hay personas que me preguntan cosas como:
    -Te amo, no tiene traducción, lo más cercano sería "tykati-i" (te quiero) o "ndyati-i" (me gustas), solemos mucho a no decir nuestros sentimientos.
    -Bienvenidos, tampoco tiene traducción literal, en su caso se podría decir: "swe-a chá jyo vo" (que bueno que vinieron).
    -Provecho de plano no lo decimos y no encuentro palabras que pudieran describir eso.
    -Buenos días, buenas tardes y buenas noches tampoco tienen una traducción literal. En Chatino, los saludos son: cuando uno sale de casa y se dirige al centro, por ejemplo, se dice "s'oo lo re" y cuando va uno de regreso para su casa se dice "kyj'o lo re" sin importar la hora del día; cuando alguien llega a casa de alguien en la mañana se dice: "bam kie lomsa'a" (¿ya se coció el almuerzo?), a la hora de la comida es: "bam kie tlya'a" (¿ya se coció la comida?) y en la noche o más o menos en la hora de la cena se dice: "bam kie si'i-a" (¿ya se coció la cena?).

    Y así existen otras palabras que no se me vienen a la mente en este momento.

    NOTA: las palabras en Chatino no están escritas correctamente, las escribí como se pronuncian.

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  12. yo rescataria la palabra ki , en la que se describe la energia vital como un ente activo que todos poseen , no creo recordar ninguna palabra en español o en ingles que tenga su fuerza y riqueza para describir la energia .

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  13. Me encanta la palabra francesa "voila", no conozco alguna palabra o expresion en español que pueda transmitir adecuadamente su significado

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  14. no soy políglota ni lingüista pero se me ocurre que palabras como "amarguear" o "matear" sólo se entienden en estas comarcas rioplatenseses y, quizás, riograndenses. La primera tiene que ver con ese recogimiento intimista que puede ser compartido o no. "Amargueando bien temprano como era su constumbre antes de iniciar su jornada...". La segunda, sin perder esa atmósfera intimista, suele remitirnos a esos encuentros donde la liturgia de los gestos no hace compartir más silencios que palabras. "Sabía que los hallaría mateando junto al fogón repasando la jornada..." Andrés. .

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  15. ¡Qué lindos aportes! ¡Gracias! Esto de poder hablar a distancia y enterarse, por ejemplo, de qué expresiones se usan en el chatino; esto de tomar conciencia de nuevas palabras exclusivas del español u otras lenguas (como el caso de "dejavú"), que dicen algo indecible para otros idiomas, o de registrar (como tan bien cuenta Omar) hasta qué punto una disciplina científica o una práctica profesional moldean los parámetros y referencias con que medimos el mundo (por ejemplo, también, con la tecnología: cuantas veces no habremos querido "guardar los cambios" o poner con toda velocidad "deshacer" en la vida...) resulta muy enriquedor. :)

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  16. Yo pienso humildemente que Juan José Millas se equivoca al decir "Cada vez que desaperece una palabra....", por que una palabra no "desparece", permanece aún si se dejara de usar, o por último, según el país, región, etc., se "transforma", se "reinventa" o mejor aún, se enriquece

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  17. La palabra "laisse" en francés la utilizan para decir que estan cansados de algo o hartos pero sin toda la negatividad del español. Je suis laisse (estoy cansado, harto... )

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