English, a Cold Language? Do we need so many Loves?
<<NO language in the world has enough words to describe or express love. Describing or trying to define love is like trying to enfold love with words. Love can't be enclosed with words. That is impossible to do, for love is infinite. >>
I think you're right, Pete. I don't think we can either define our feelings of love for our grandparents, parents, children, spouses and on and on. But yet, I wonder if all of that love cries out from our hearts to express itself. And there's no explaining our hearts, is there?
But I don't think the English language, as my dear Italian neighbor said, is up to the task of telling someone what we really feel. And I wonder why. Not to sound like a "Romance Novelist," but I think we may be really missing something. Do you think?
Well, I'm not sure, honestly. That can be true, maybe in English you cannot sometimes express feelings very well, I don't really know. But sometimes words are not necessary to express love, we can use other ways of communication, I suppose.
All this love stuff is a bit confusing sometimes. But I remember a guy saying in an American film: "You've got to speak the language her heart can understand." I'm still looking for the real meaning of it all.
The Protestant reformation and the Cromwell experience in the 17th century changed the English national character to a large degree. Before that time, the English were more like the peoples of other Catholic countries including the Italians. So, it's possible that today, Italian can express some emotional sentiments a little bit better than English can.
Actually, it seems like the platonic only sense of "like like" takes a low tone or at least a non-changing tone on the first "like" here, which is still very stressed in comparison to the second "like", and that the use of the high tone instead indicates the non-platonic sense of "like".
To bo honest, I'm really not sure if English is 'missing' words for love and similar- when I look at my thesaurus, there certainly seems to be plenty of words to talk about it. But I don't know enough Italian or Spanish to be able to comment on the differences. My German students (the advanced ones) think that English is full of words to talk about feelings, more than German, perhaps. I really don't know, though.
I do think it's much easier to discuss your feelings in your native language, no matter how fluent you become in another language. I know people who are totally fluent in English but become quite tongue-tied when expressing something so personal, and abstract. Perhaps that's the key here, regardless of how many words English (or Italian or whatever) has to describe these things. Just my 2 cents! ;)
I have heard Europeans complain about the opposite problem -- that English throws the word "love" around TOO much: "I love you", "I love baseball", "I'd love to go there", etc. To which I would reply: context, honey, context.
I have no problem expressing my feelings in my native language -- as has been pointed out, there ARE plenty of nuanced synonyms for "love" out there. It would do no good to express those things in Portuguese, Italian, French, etc. to me, since while I would understand what the words meant, it would just not have the same emotional impact as saying it to me in English.
Another note - "really like" only would specifically express the romantic/sexual meaning of "like" if expressed with stress/high tone on "really", and if that being liked is a person.
I live in California, and here "like like" would refer to romantic longing rather than platonic love.
<<since while I would understand what the words meant, it would just not have the same emotional impact as saying it to me in English. >>
That's so true. I can express myself reasonably well in German, but to me the German words are just a combination of letters that happen to mean a specific thing, whereas the English words have a deep meaning.
>>I live in California, and here "like like" would refer to romantic longing rather than platonic love. <<
I did not mean even "platonic love", by such, though, but rather just viewing so-and-so as a friend or viewing so-and-so in a favorable fashion for whatever reason; that is, narrowing the meaning so that any love-like meaning are excluded. Of course, it seems that the key thing is not simply the reduplication but rather the tone and context of it
Well, it seems that people who speak romance languages think Engllish doesn't have enough words for love or at least they find it harder to express love in English. But English speakers are perfectly fine with our words but seem to be putting more emphasis on how we say the word, the tone we use and so on.
<<My German students (the advanced ones) think that English is full of words to talk about feelings, more than German, perhaps. I really don't know, though.>>
Now German, well, it sure doesn't sound, to my ear anyway, like a warm and friendly language, although I've met a some of warm and friendly Germans. So maybe even if our language isn't as fuzzy as some, I guess it serves our purpose, since, especially if you're a language dunce like I am, it's all you've got.
I speak a Romance language (Italian). I do not find English lacking in the least. However, expressing things in both languages is very different. "I love you" in English and "Ti amo" in Italian are NOT equivalent. However, I find there are other ways to express what I really mean. "I love you Grandmother" = "Ti voglio bene, nonna". In their literal translations, they mean quite different things, but they express the same feeling.
Any expression in Italian, I can express in English, and vice versa. Maybe one language can express something in one word, whereas another takes a few words. Perhaps one word for it makes a more forceful impact, but those are give and take in any language (English has some Italian does not and vice versa). In the end, they both do what they were meant to do: communicate.
So no, to me, English is not a cold language at all.
<<English, a Cold Language?>>
Well, let us read some Shakespeare and see how expressive English can be. LOL
<<Well, let us read some Shakespeare and see how expressive English can be. LOL >>
Excellent point! ;)
<<However, expressing things in both languages is very different. "I love you" in English and "Ti amo" in Italian are NOT equivalent>>
How would you say they differ Tiffany?