Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Unknown single rose, captures the eye with its brightness

I have been coming across lately good words which need recording... Darshan was introduced by Macfarlane, a wiki below.  Macfarlane thought it a good word to use when coming on a beautiful landscape or mountain, instead of the 'wow' factor we use, to translate our sense of awe into this Hindu expression darshan  coming face to face with something sacred on earth and that interaction between seeing and seen, it is sanskrit 'sight'......

Darshan is ultimately difficult to define since it is an event in consciousness—an interaction in presence between devotee and guru; or between devotee and image or sculpture, which focuses and calls out the consciousness of the devotee. In either event, a heightening of consciousness or spirituality is the intended effect.

Another word is Johar a tribal greeting from Jharkhand, India with which a friend always greets  LS with in his emails, I like its soft sibilance.

Rewilding, came across this morning in George Monbiot's angry article, it means restoring the ecological system or balance, a "mass restoration' to match the terrible destructiveness we apply to the planet through capitalism.

Which turns me to the word wild now Macfarlane gives it etymology as the following, it is one of those words that tumble down through our language gathering its meaning on the way.  Firstly,"Old High German, wildi and the Old Norse Willr, as well as the pre-Teutonic ghweltijos"  Macfarlane says all three of these words give the impression of wilfulness, or uncontrollable events.  Wildness then becomes self-willed land, whose habits and laws belong to itself, growth of trees, movement of its creatures, free descent of its streams through it rocks. Wildeor the Saxon for wild beast, or deer.
Funnily enough when I put the question of 'Sense of Place' to a forum, the answers were quite interesting, someone thought that wildness is virgin land untouched by humans.  Of course this is not possible in today's world, we inhabit every corner and quite a lot of our British waste land turns by definition into wilderness. 
The word landscape did not come into being till late, about the 18th century I think, The English word is not recorded as used for physical landscapes before 1725 (wikipedia) but if you consult Sweet's Anglo-Saxon reader, there is a word land-sceap,  this from the 5th century, and the word 'land' appears in about 50 words, obviously an important word in an agricultural country!, and probably showing as the colonisation of Britain took place with the Anglo-Saxons naming their settlements, buildings, boundaries, territories and much else with this useful word in tow.  And of course, the use of the word 'waste' land had a greater meaning than it does today, but that is another story............. 

A much larger explanation of landscape and all its associations are in the following wiki  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landscape


  1. What a wonderful posting! I love learning about the history of our words. You can't imagine not have the word Landscape.... I found the word 'Roofscape' in my Oxford English Dictionary while writing a short story and used it as the title for the story I was writing. As you know if you have been following my blog, the story was the overall winning entry.

  2. Darshan is fabulous. 'Wow factor' is one of my pet hates. Have you noticed the unbelievably annoying spread of the pronunciation of the word performance as 'preformance'? Be prepared for an intolerable Olympics now I've pointed that out?

  3. Very interesting--I enjoy having a word that seems perfect for what i want to describe.
    I detest the expressions that come into popular use [Wow, OMG]
    I am appalled by how many TV commentators who should know better, or how many erstwhile journalists, use poor sentence structure, trite phrases, utter banalities.
    There--I've had my bit of a rant!

  4. Hi Paula, words are your stock in trade and I admire the singularity of your devotion to writing and I suspect you have a good stock of dictionaries as well....

    To Em and Sharon,
    Glad you liked the word Darshan, funnily enough LS is always picking holes in people's grammar and especially on the radio. But it seems to me that language is evolving because our young people text so much, the shorthand words creep into all areas of communication, it is a bad thing I agree but inevitable.
    I will listen out for 'preformance EM, one thing I do love about language though is the Yorkshire accent of three of my grandchildren, the eldest though left the south-west at the age of three still keeps the clearer RP accent ...

  5. Not really picking holes folks :-) I just believe that, as words are the main way we communicate with each other, it’s incumbent on us to try to understand exactly what we’re saying when we use one. Also that others have the *same* understanding of the word. I’ve used the word ‘understanding’ twice there – it’s one of my favourite words. Literally to ‘stand under’ to receive from above (from a teacher, a parent a deity). And that’s just our Anglo-Saxon way of expressing the ‘understanding’ idea – in other cultures the way of expressing the idea is different again. In Japanese it’s wakarimashita – literally ‘I have divided’. In other words I’ve ‘divided’ from you what you have told me and now I ‘understand’ :-)

    And that’s only two words for one concept – imagine what it’s like when it’s whole sentences in a multitude of languages... ahh... give us the gift of tongues.