Saturday, October 17, 2009

love and language

I often feel that "love" is an inadequate word. Sure, I use it all the time. But that's the problem. It's become such an integral part of most people's conversations that it starts to lose its power.

I love chocolate. I love my new phone. I love sleeping in. I love soft blankets. I love kittens. I love seeing the sun rise. I love walking on a beach when no one else is around. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my boyfriend. I love reading. I love shopping.

Each of these objects (for lack of a better word) of my love holds significance for different reasons. There are different implications attached, some of which are obvious by their context, and others of which are a bit more ambiguous. For instance, what is the difference between my love of sleeping in and my love of blankets? Both "objects" bring me comfort. But not in quite the same way. One is more tactile and the other is more mental/emotional.

Recently in class, one of my professors said that, contrary to popular belief, eskimoes do not have 30-some ways of saying "snow." But that got me thinking about the English language and how some very complicated concepts are condensed to simple and limiting verbal expressions.

I'm curious to know if any other languages have multiple words that express the diversity of "love." I don't mean simply tacking on a modifier: romantic love, friendly love, etc. I mean one lexical unit exists for a specific connotation, another lexical unit exists for another connotation, etc. This could be an interesting research project.

I think too much when I'm home sick.

No comments: