[color=#724364]Not[/color] [color=#4a2522]just for linguists and logophiles (word lovers)
The exploring, discovering and discussing of words, language & communication from different perspectives.[/color]


Postby Sabina » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:00 pm

[size=150]Mamihlapinatapai[/size] (also mamihlapinatapei), pronounced mah-me-lah-pee-nah-tah-pa-ee, is an interesting word which is listed in [color=#5f0000]the Guinness Book of World Records[/color] as the most succinct word.
The language is Yaghan, spoken in Tierra del Fuego, in the south of South America.

Translated it would mean [color=#003260]a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that they both desire but which neither one wants to start[/color].
There is no single word in the English (nor any other except the Yaghan) language for that.


[color=#6f3a00]I was mildly fascinated with the word and such an intricate meaning, so obviously I had to add it to DS, but then I wasn't sure how to make it an provocative enough topic, how to spur your interest.

Have you ever shared Mamihlapinatapai with someone?
Or is that too personal?[/color]

[color=#592f00]I am open to suggestions....
[size=130]What shall we do with Mamihlapinatapai?[/size]
That is the question.[/color]

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Re: Mamihlapinatapai

Postby mirjana » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:14 pm

This is very interesting word, or better to say relationship experience.

"Have you ever shared Mamihlapinatapai with someone?"

Yes I have and it has been connected with two persons and with each of them few times, as far as I remember. Unconsciously I know that it must have been more, but for this occasion these are enough.
One of two persons is my husband now. With him, I used to have lot of mamihlapinatapai before he had become my husband when we have lost that word between us. Actually, occasionally under certain circumstances it happens again and it is each time connected with very recognizable feeling that has always followed that word, which is magical feeling of belonging and waiting something nice to happen.
The other case was a boy in who I was in love during my high school. We have stayed though only by that word. =0(
I understand Mamihlapinatapai as a sensual peak between two persons before any kind of concrete actions occurs. The tension is very high as well as expectations and that makes this word magical and magnificent as the state of high attraction is.

"What shall we do with Mamihlapinatapai?"

What makes this word magical is also the fact that there is no single word in the English (nor any other except the Yaghan) language for that. So, my thoughts go along with the idea that we could have DS dictionary so that, similar to quotes, we could also invent or suggest some words and when confirmed as chosen it would become one of words for DS Dictionary
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