Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Words of love...

The English language continually amazes me.

Rich and diverse, it's a living, breathing entity that never sleeps or grows stale. Every day, new words are assimilated into the Mother Tongue collective, devoured by her endless appetite.
 
English is a time machine. A magnificent tapestry interwoven with golden threads that offer a glimpse of the past for those who know how to look for it. A record of where we came from, where we are, and where we ultimately hope to be. 
 
In our words, the Vikings and Celts are still to be found. They live in harmony with the Angles and Saxons, the Romans, and Normans, and every invader who ever stepped onto this precious little island I call home.
 
Okay, enough. I'm well into 'purple' territory here. (The Rules. No:1265 para 2.7. 'Purple prose is bad, okay? Thou shalt NOT.' ) So, why am I waxing so lyrical?
 
Because this language of ours has only one poxy word for love. One! How can that be? The same word recycled over and over again, used to describe anything from our feelings for a chocolate bar/sympathetic gynaecologist to the person who is our heart's desire.
 
 
"Sanskrit has 96 words for love; ancient Persian has 80, Greek three, and English only one."
 
96 words! And I'm sure there are languages that have even more than that. This is only the result of my quickie venture into Google.
 
This is the land of Shakespeare, for goodness sake. The Bard is well known for his abundance of imaginative insults. What about love?
 
I find that fascinating, especially when we have so many words for 'sex', or to describe the jiggly bits of our anatomy.
 
I wish I could tell someone of the opposite sex that I love them, without fear my words will be taken the wrong way--I'm happily married, thanks very much. What should I say to an online buddy (male) who has really helped me out? Thank-you seems so cold, not enough to express my gratitude. 'You rock?' 'I'm very grateful?' 'I hope you realise how highly I esteem you?'
 
NO. I want to say 'I love you', but in a more appropriate way. 
 
Curse you, Mother Tongue. Diverse and colourful as you are, I'm only giving you an A-minus for this oversight.
 
 
 

2 comments:

  1. Good post! I love languages and have moved about a bit, so I do agree that English is odd in only having 'love', between husband and wife, to children, friends or when talking about your favorite TV programme. Other languages are more precise. Sounds like we should all be learning Sanskrit! Luckily, for other terminology, English is remarkably rich...

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  2. Hey, Kimberly. :) Lovely to see you, girl.

    I adore this language of ours, but the one-love-fits-all thing has always struck me as odd. As you say, English is usually so rich.

    The quirks are another reason I love this language of ours. :)

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