Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Monday, February 1, 2010

Word of the month: Vorfreude

Word of the Month: Index

Vorfreude combines the prefix vor (similar to the English prefix "pre") and Freude (joy, pleasure). The term denotes a form of anticipation that imagines future pleasures ahead of time. When we were kids, for example, we experienced an intense Vorfreude in the weeks before Christmas. Right now, I have similar feelings when I think about the soccer World Cup that will start in S. Africa in mid-June.

Note on pronunciation: Vor is pronounced like English "for"—i.e. the "v" sounds like English "f", not like English "v"; the diphthong "eu" is pronounced like the "oy" in "joy"; and the ending "e" forms a full third syllable with the preceding "d". Try do say "FOR • froy • dah"!


Marlene said...

Hi Ulrich, As always, I'm impressed by the way the Germans have specific words for shades of feeling that often go unexpressed in English. We would say to "anticipate something with pleasure," but I can't think of a one word replacement for that kind of colorless phrase, at least not in English. Like we have adopted Weltanschaung, I think we need to adopt "Vorfreude." I just love these words of the month. Thank you for making the effort to bring them to our attention.

Ulrich said...

Marlene: Thank you. One of my points was also to show that Germans know of other kinds of Freude besides Schadenfreude.

Marlene said...

Hi Ulrich, Schadenfreud was the subject of a New York Times piece about Toyota last weekend. The point was that Toyota was hailed for a long time as the model of good car-making, so much so that some people are kind of happy to see them under fire.

But what interested me most was the writer's reference to the need for a German compound word to express the public's mixed feelings. This is the second time I have seen a writer refer to the Germans' ability to combine words and create one precise compound that identifies a subtle shade of emotion.

Your blog has really highlighted for me that Teutonic gift. I think there must be similar compounds in other languages but not as many I'll bet. I look forward to the next word and the next drawing, hint. hint.

Ulrich said...

@Marlene: Yes, I noticed the allusion in the same article--and to top things off, it's to Schadenfreude as mentioned in my last comment!

I definitely will take your hint--a new animal with emotions is in the works!

mac said...

Hi Ulrich und Marlene,
I can't help it, but the English word that comes to mind is "foreplay"....