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Believe it or not, the previous post was a ds106 assignment. Namely, this ASSIGNMENT:

Write the script for a conversation with your long lost friend Toska, who deals with ‘a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning.’. Generate five random words from the Words with No Translation tool and make sure Toska uses one word in each of his lines, making sure his words give some shade to their meaning.

This caught my eye for a few reasons, one I was really curious what the “Words with No Translation tool” was, and also I thought it might be fun to have a go at writing a script. Also, while I find a lot of ds106 assignments interesting, it’s always better when a tentative idea immediately beings forming in my mind, which was the case with this assignment.


As those of you who follow my Twitter are well aware, Alan Levine’s webpage (which hosts the tool) was down for quite some time with no explanation from his webhost. I patiently waited it out, and I feel it was worth it, because the tool was a pleasant surprise. I encourage all of you to check it out just for a laugh (the link is posted above for the uninitiated). Briefly, it is a random word generator, and all of the words are from foreign languages, and while they can be expressed in English, they have no exact equivalent word (more on this later). After looking at some of them just for fun, the official word draft began and I wrote down the definitions of the next five words that appeared.

Once that was done, I set to work making the script. Like everything I write, it ended up being way longer than I ever intended (almost 1,000 words) and took me an hour and a half, but it was definitely fun.


You may have noticed that the tone of the script isn’t very serious, and maybe even a little absurd. This doesn’t reflect a lack of respect for the assignment at all, it’s just my sense of humor and the vision I had for the assignment. Instead of providing cliff-notes for the script, what I’ll do here is define each of the words used by Toska and provide a language of origin. I’ll also do a little commentary on how I decided to use the word.

Glas wen (Welsh)-A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.

I’m not sure how being blue makes a smile insincere or mocking, but this is certainly an interesting phrase. I guess it’s not quite like a shark, but, poetic license.

Gumusservi (Turkish)-moonlight shining on the water.

This is my favorite of the words that I had to use. If there was an English word for this, I would probably use it every chance I got. I would also hang around lakes a lot at night.

Pana p’o (Hawaiian)-to scratch your head in order to remember something you’ve forgotten.

I gave a little clue to the origin in the script. I will also remember this everytime someone asks me why I’m scratching my head, and I have to tell them “in order to remember something I have forgotten.”

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

The Inuit have like 700 words for snow or something, but they only have one word for “that feeling where you are waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep looking to see fi they have arrived yet”, and that’s still one more than English. I feel this suffered from my most ham-fisted insertion* into the script, but oh well.
La douleur exquise (French)
The heart-wrenching feeling of wanting something you can’t have. Kind of an anti-climactic end for Toska, not many people use Inuit words to describe how they’re feeling, but far too many people (in my opinion) use French words. But in his defense, he was flustered.


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