The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: A Must-See For Lovers of Linguistics

There are certain human emotions, almost universal, that everyone can relate to… but can never adequately express, given limitations of the English language. These emotions, these categories of sorrows, range from  a desire to experience every emotion intensely –like one did during their youth– to the realisation that every passerby has a complex, vivid, compelling story of their own… one you will never fully uncover.

These obscure –yet profound– sorrows can now be expressed by English speakers, by borrowing words from other languages. For the examples above, their respective words are Yu Yi  and Sonder, and there are numerous other titled “sorrows” within your reach on YouTube.

One of my best friends, Olivia, showed me an incredible channel dedicated to these obscure sorrows: fittingly titled, Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Beautifully articulated, with masterful control of the camera and specialised footage, the videos provide profound feelings we have, at one point or another, felt… but could never find the word for.Although I didn’t hold any high expectations, I found myself absolutely blown away by these videos: they’re everything I hoped for, and possibly more. 

Admittedly, I haven’t surged through every one these brilliant videos yet; however, within the few I’ve watched, there’s a favourite —Socha, The Hidden Vulnerability of Others. It’s difficult to articulate, fully, the true beauty of this video… for this reason, I’ll simply direct you to the following video.

Everything about this video is the epitome of beauty, from the classic black-and-white footage, the sorrowful –yet occasionally hopeful– music. The very nature of the design is professional, while still maintaining a supreme sentimental touch. I’m unsure how this video flawlessly incorporates these aesthetic designs, but it’s difficult to dismiss the evidence.

For the content itself, it’s expressed in breathtaking, simple language, with the narrator’s perfect pacing.

Of particular note is a sentence:

The more distant you are from other people, the more invulnerable they appear.

At one point during my life, I avoided social interaction and delving into deeper conversations with surrounding people –not because I didn’t desire it, but because it remained a mystery; a skill-set I was never taught. But I recall a constant fear, an isolation, and feeling “out of rhythm” with the world around me. Although friends broke their barriers –pointed out, in limelight, cracks in their foundation– my immobile walls stood firmly upright. Begrudging. Resistant. Frightened.

Time passed, and slowly, I began broking those walls down… and only, then, could I experience Socha: the true beauty, or sorrow, in the vulnerability of others. But, in order to perceive –and rejoice, grieve– over this fact, I needed to acknowledge my own vulnerabilities and let them go.

Click here for the The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows’ main page. 




6 thoughts on “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: A Must-See For Lovers of Linguistics

    • You are very welcome, Martha! ❤
      I absolutely agree. The way we think is challenged so constantly, it's difficult to develop a "fixed" understanding of the world, and our desires.

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