A Swedish colleague recently asked me to share some words.
We’ve had some fascinating conversations in the past about the subtleties of certain words. Usually doing what I’d call a ‘sense’ translation of Swedish into English. Looking for those words – or often phrases – that capture the spirit as much as meaning.
Anyway, Liv asked me to share some words “on any theme, words you love, hate, never would use, don’t understand your self, blooming, describing, moving ones…”
This is what I sent her.
urgent – it’s powerful, clear and important. You get it on letters from places like the bank. It can’t be ignored; it demands a response, but that comes at a cost because it also has negative connotations (so use sparingly).
better – I often use this as an alternative to sustainable – everybody understand the idea of living in a ‘better’ world (as a opposed to a more sustainable one)
smart – I often use this to talk about efficiency – it means a certain level of thought and effort has gone into something, and people are automatically attracted to it because the ‘smartness’ might rub off of them. I think it also has connotations of the future.
because – people love to see the connection between an action and a result – to understand why something has happened. The word ‘because’ shows this link. In English, lots of people use the words ‘as’ and ‘since’ instead of ‘because’, but these are connected to time-related conditions, so they’re not as good. For example, ‘I went to the bank as I needed some money’ vs. ‘I went to the bank because I needed some money’.
thriving – I use this all the time to show how there’s something better than a system that simply does the job – eg. The community isn’t just working, it’s thriving