“Accidental gap” – When I first heard that phrase, I did not understand what it meant. Something that has a hole in it? Leaving out something that you were supposed to pack? A pause when the speaker forgets what to say?
Well, all of these guessed definitions form part of an accidental gap. According to Glottopedia which is a linguistic website, “an accidental gap is a non-existing word which is expected to exist given the hypothesized morphological rules of a particular language.” Put plainly, it is a word that does not exist in our language but does in other ones such as “unsad” or “love between best friends.” Here is a great video that shows this.
Often, I find myself searching for explaining something in a way outside of the English language. How often do you think to yourself, “I wish there was a word for that!” We have over a million English words, and yet we continue to create more to describe the world and each other.
So I decided to write a short haiku to describe some of my favorite words in the video.
Gigil (Filipino) – the urge to pinch a cute thing on the cheek.
Fat, round, rosy, plump
Baby’s cheeks draw the fingers
Aunt’s touch causing screams.
Ya’arburnee (Arabic) – meaning “may you bury me” in hopes that you die before the other person
Rings upon our hands,
My life with you must not end
Until my grave calls.