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Typical Dutch word Probably unpronouncable word for the rest of the world (unless you're a Welshman or a Scot, but then you probably wouldn't know what the fuck it means anyway).

This word is very hard to translate because it encompasses the heart of Dutch culture. It expresses domestic warmth, livingrooms stuffed till the ceiling with lots of useless decorative items. Party spirit.

Meaning:
Nice and Comfortable together in a livingroom or other *way too* small room
The initial and final sound is that hard G found in German, Dutch and related languages but not in English.

Thought there is no direct analogue in Afrikaans, there are some instructively similar words in the South African variety of Dutch:

Note that the 'ig' ending corresponds to an 'ish', 'able' or 'ive' ending in English. Gezellig means, hm ... companionable only more so. festive, but less extrovert. Maybe cosy or heartwarming. Perhaps a comfortable atmosphere in which open conversation can take place between friends.

But there is more to it than that. There is the connotation which as noted, helps define the culture.

Although it's a little tricky to pronounce initially, this is actually one of the first Dutch words that I learned when I went to live in Holland. My Dutch friends used it most often in a sense that best translates as cozy in English.

While cozy seemed to me initially to be an old-fashioned and somewhat weak word, I eventually started using it in everyday conversations in English, since the Dutch connotations of gezellig have no other single-word equivalent in English which goes any way towards incorporating them all. I would characterize those connotations as comfortable, safe-feeling, relaxed, happy and cheerful (although the beautiful word festelijk is more often used for that), and both physically and emotionally warm. It can be applied to places and atmospheres, and occasionally to people.

I think it's a lovely word, and it's one of those which made me start wishing that there was a language which comprised those largely untranslatable words from all the languages of the world which express unique concepts or encompass meanings in unique ways... sort of a conceptual meta-language that could be used alongside existing languages. This already happens to a small degree in most languages; consider words such as schadenfreude and chutzpah, which describe concepts which everyone understands but which no single word exists for in most languages.

George Orwell, in his novel 1984, suggests that limiting the vocabulary of a language effectively limits the thought processes of the people using that language. By and large, I agree with that assessment, and it seems to me that, while technical language develops in complexity, the everyday language of humanity becomes increasingly impoverished. The more words we have for complex concepts, the more complex concepts we are likely to be able to perceive. Bring on the meta-language!

Afrikaans speaking people in South Africa, like myself, use it as "gesellig". With a softer 's' sound.

Used in the same context and with the same meaning as gezellig.

For example:
"Ons kuier nou lekker gesellig."

Roughly translated:
"We are enjoying each other's company" (and the current mood)

Also linked with a desire not to part, or otherwise interrupt the conversation and atmosphere.

Really effective if used by somebody holding a cup of coffee.

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