This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sunday Rest: solastalgia. Word Not To Use Today.

Solastalgia is an ugly, strangely derived, and misleading word.

Unfortunately, it's also important and useful: you may not know what solastalgia is, but you're almost certain to have experienced it.

Solastalgia...well, the algia bit looks as it it's to do with pain or longing, as in neuralgia or nostalgia (what is a nost?*) and the solast bit...hmm...something to do with solace? So, is solastalgia some sort of a pain-killer, then?

Nope. Solastalgia is distress caused by environmental change. I suppose, at root, it's finding one's home has been destroyed, perhaps by the climate, or the weather, or a road, or a quarry, or a tsunami.

So solastalgia is a word the English language really needed.

Oh, but I do wish it were one I could bear to use.

Sunday Rest: solastalgia was coined by the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2003. It seems to be derived from the Latin word solacium, comfort (yes, as in solace) and the Greek ending -algia, which means pain. 

Though where the comfort comes in I have no idea at all.

*The Greek nostos is a return home.

Look, surely someone somewhere can come up with a better word than solastalgia

Home-loss? Is that better? 

You know, I think it might be.

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