Monday, August 24, 2015


Someone asks about saudade. Yes, I answer, it's longing, yearning (melancholia/nostalgia). He is yearning for home = tá cumha air i ndiaidh a bhaile (literally, "there is loneliness on him after his home"). There are at least five words for that ephemeral state of being in Scots Gaelic.

In Welsh, it's hiraeth, a homesickness for somewhere you cannot return to, the nostalgia and the grief for the lost places of your past, places that never were.

The Breton for the French nostalgie is hiraezh. This could be a cognate, or borrowed from the Welsh. Hiraeth (first recorded in 1499) corresponds with Cornish hyreth, and Irish sireacht."

The Welsh and Breton come from the Celtic root siros, related to Latin serus.

Full circle to Saudade.


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