Intercultural Word of the Week – Awumbuk

The description of the emptiness felt after visitors leave, a kind of foggy, muffled feeling.

Read on


“The indigenous Baining people who live in the mountains of Papua New Guinea are so familiar with this experience that they named it awumbuk.  They believe that departing visitors shed a kind of heaviness when they leave so that they may travel lightly.  This oppressive mist hovers for three days, creating a feeling of distraction and inertia and interfering with the ability to tend to their homes and crops.  So, once their guests have left, the Baining fill a bowl with water and leave it overnight to absorb the festering air.  The next day, the family rises ealy and ceremonially fling the water into the trees whereupon ordinary family life resumes.”

“The Book of Human Emotions” by Tiffany Watt Smith looks at how our emotions are shaped by language.  We have a feeling, but can we define that feeling without words?  Does a feeling even exist if we don’t have words to define it?  In her book, Watt Smith looks at languages around the world and highlights words that express feelings that don’t necessarily have a definition in English.

Published by

Dom Tidey

Dominic Tidey is the C.O.O. of EuRA with specific responsibility for new projects, conferences, education programmes and research. EuRA is the association for relocation providers across the globe. We are a not-for-profit association run by our 500+ members in 95 countries. EuRA sets global standards for relocation through our MIM Professional Qualification and our EuRA Global Quality Seal, an ISO based independent audit programme for mobility providers. Dominic has worked with EuRA since 1998 having studied law at university and working in social services. In 2003 he completed his masters degree and returned to EuRA as Operations Manager, spearheading the development of the EARP and later, the EuRA Global Quality Seal and most recently, the MIM online training programme.

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