Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Love You?

What the hell does that statement mean anyway?

According to the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary there are over 171,000 words in the English language. Why is it that we only have one real term of endearment? As Rob Bell says, "I love my wife and I love...tacos?" I have been told that other languages have terms of endearment for different forms or levels, if you will, of affection. I get so frustrated by this lack in the English language.

When I say "I love you" to my husband, it means quite literally until death do us part. I'm in for the long haul whether I FEEL like it or not. The good times and the bad.

When I say I say "I love you" to my children there is commitment there too. Never going to leave you kid.

When I say "I love you" to a friend, I mean I have a deep affinity or affection for you and my life is better for having you in it.

I really wish there were words to describe these very different forms of affection.


TPluckyT said...

I love you too, honey . . .

noel said...

I quite agree. I love you is just not enough anymore. You have to come up with cute lil things like, I love you more, or I love you more than all the sand on the seashore. The variations for this term , I love you are truly endless. Maybe if said in another language like the most beautiful one, Italian then it will suffice. Or Aris would say it needs to be said in the Greek!!

Murdoc said...

There are words. Learn latin.

RandomSue said...

Ah Yes, Aris could give us all the answers...unfortunately they would be in German, Greek or Japanese

Thanks for the tip Ben, very useful and practical indeed :-)

plf5403 said...

Wikipedia to the rescue:
Ancient Greek

Greek distinguishes several different senses in which the word love is used. For example, Ancient Greek has the words philia, eros, agape, storge and xenia. However, with Greek as with many other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words totally. At the same time the Ancient Greek text of the Bible has examples of the verb agapo being used with the same meaning as phileo.

Agape (ἀγάπη agápē) means love in modern day Greek. The term s'agapo means I love you in Greek. The word agapo is the verb I love. It generally refers to a "pure", ideal type of love rather than the physical attraction suggested by eros. However, there are some examples of agape used to mean the same as eros. It has also been translated as "love of the soul".

Eros (ἔρως érōs) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Greek word erota means in love. Plato refined his own definition. Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros. Some translations list it as "love of the body".

Philia (φιλία philía), a dispassionate virtuous love, was a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical reasons; one or both of the parties benefit from the relationship. Can also mean "love of the mind".

Storge (στοργή storgē) is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.

Xenia (ξενία xenía), hospitality, was an extremely important practice in Ancient Greece. It was an almost ritualized friendship formed between a host and their guest, who could previously be strangers. The host fed and provided quarters for the guest, who was only expected to repay with gratitude. The importance of this can be seen throughout Greek mythology, in particular Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

RandomSue said...

Thanks Brother!

Hey Noel, you were right Aris does have this thing figured out. He keeps telling us how superior the Greeks are. That happens to be true on this issue. I would find it very helpful to have this many words for love in English.