Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What's in a word?

This might sound rather sentimental, but the thought has been in my mind for some time. It's not original, I realize. So here it is: English is valued as a versatile language with a huge vocabulary, but it shows one striking shortcoming. It has only one word for 'love'. The early form of Greek had eight. I can't remember the words themselves, but there is one for love between friends, of a strictly non-erotic nature, such as existed between David and Jonathon. I can't recall if there is one for platonic affection between a man and a woman, wherein they feel strongly for each other but have no physical attraction. There are other words for the love between family members. It definitely is a problem at times trying to use one word, and a very emotive one, for several different things.
I very much wanted to have a daughter, not in place of our sons but as well as. So I'm very aware of my daughter's femaleness, but definitely NOT in the same way that I appreciate my wife's femaleness. It made the family more complete and balanced
to have a female child as well. In fact I could wish we'd had more girls, but the house was crowded with five children as it was. No doubt we had the number God knew to be right for us.
I've had good friends I could say I loved as friends, but not in any sense as homosexually. That's not a bash at homosexuals, merely my statement that I'm not one.
Despite serious friction with my father at times, I can see a lot of good in him, and that too could be called a form of love. But the word doesn't always sound right to use in that context. The same goes for my mother.
What to do about it I don't know. Perhaps understanding that the word can mean different things is enough. Could it be though that sometimes people don't like using that word 'love' because of its connotations of eros, man-to-woman love, instead of specifying the bond between people of another sort?

10 comments:

FiddleWiz said...

I know people who avoid using the word "love" for those reasons - because some think there is only one meaning for it. Or at least, they think there is only one kind of love. But I feel different kinds of love for different people, so if I shout out "I love you!" to one of my friends, it's not going to mean the same thing as me telling a boyfriend "I love you."

I write stories cuz killing is illegal said...

what's in a word, that by any other pronouncation would taste as sweet?

it's all in what you make of it, what you want it to mean. If people want to take it out of context and live blinded by their own freewill of the true meaning, it's their choice, that necessarily shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable.

Taylor-Tot said...

i think that its stupid 2 only have one word for love, we have several dif. words 4 some other words!!! there are so many dif. types of love, i'm goin 2 make up my own words!!! anyway thanx 4 the comment!!! i'll totally read that book!!! its next on my list starting now!!! i have SO many books i want 2 read, i have over 4 pages!!! but that one is next!!! love(lol) ur page!!! its cool!- Taylor Tot

Taylor-Tot said...

WAIT A MINUTE!!! did U write this book????????

Taylor-Tot said...

thats awesome!!! U WROTE THE BOOK!!!!! aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!! thats so cool!!!! how'd u get it published and stuff?!!!!!!! that is SOSOSOSOSOSOSO cool!!!! ok sry i'll be calm now, but thats seriously awesome!!!- Taylor Tot

Marshall Art said...

I'm not sure of the Greek word exactly. It's either phile, or file, but in any case, it's the word from which the city of Philadelphia gets it's name. The "City of Brotherly Love".

Two others of which I'm aware are eros, obviously erotic love, and agape, which is the fatherly love of God for us and the reciprocating love of us for Him. I've also seen it described as a submissive love, wherein the other person is more important or takes priority. This is the version most often, almost exclusively, used in the Bible. I once did a search for each of these three and if I recall, "eros" never showed up in the New Testament. "Agape" is all over the place. Thus, I have a problem when some wish to confuse the two in terms of the notion that "God is Love" means sex in anyway. But I digress.

I don't have a problem verbally expressing love for my male friends. Not at my age, anyway. When I was younger I was a bit more ambiguous in my usage of that term toward anyone with whom I had no physical relationship. But with age, I've become more desirous that those of whom I am fond know the extent of my fondness.

Sookie said...

I agree with you--English completely fails when it comes to the amount of words for love. Even in Spanish there are more than just one.
Thanks for your book suggestion--I'm always on the lookout for another great fantasy book!

Taylor-Tot said...

thanx, i have my home computer 4 a little though, which is good, but ya writng wat u believe is important because if u don't really like of care about it much, it'll show in your writing, my next book is gonna be about a girl with OCD, like me, counts her step, can only step on each tile evenly with each foot, flips light switches 3 times, stuff like that, stuff that i do. wats funny about the book i'm writing now is i put some weird parts of things that have happened 2 me or i did into it, most people would never no, but i just have 2 smile wen i read it, becuz it shows something significant 2 me, but kinda meaningless 2 other people, but thats ok, the people who know me well, really really well no wat i'm talking about, like in the first chapter i wrote " the wilted yellow rose fell from her hand as she stood weeping uncontrolably." well sad but funny story there. i havent told anybody this b4 but u wont get it unless i tell u so... here goes i'm gonna start from the begining.
Angela Renee Herzberg was my moms best freind sinse high-school. Angie was like my mom. we talked about everything, i grew up with her three kids. she got divorced, and remarried Gary Allen, a country singer, he had his own 3 kids, they lived in tennesee so i didnt get 2 see them much anymore, but all 6 of them were all really close 2 me, some of my best friends. unfortionatly, Angie was suffering from major depression, she commited suicide on october 25 2004. it was the saddest day of my entire life. worse then wen my mom took me and colten(my brother) and left my dad, we didnt talk 2 him 4 a long time. well it was worse then all of those time combined. so, wen it came time 4 the funeral, i hadent eaten in days, i was a huge wreck, it was really hot, and in the middle of some1s speech everything started 2 just blend 2gether, sounds, colors, i dropped the flower in my hand and just kept staring at it, it was the only thing that was clear, i could only see that flower, the next thing i no some strange man is carrying me, running 2... i don't no somewhere, i passed out again, i wake up laying down in my moms car. so wen i put that in the story, it ment more than Riley just being sad and dropping a flower, so thats y i put it n there, a twist of me in there. anyway there some other stuff 2 but thats the most important one, alot of my poems are about her 2, fallen Angel was about her, Angie was just a special person, if you type her name in on google stuff comes up 2, i do it alot, anyway so ya, if you read the first chapter, which i posted a while ago, u might be able 2 find some other ones.- Taylor Tot

Taylor-Tot said...

actually Gary Allens Wife works better, if u ever want 2 look her up.

Farrah said...

You have to be very careful with it. Most of us are programmed to associate the word with romance when used on anyone other than close family. Hubby's female friend always signed "love" when writing to him. I actually asked her to stop after we married. It is unfortunate there aren't more words to express such strong affection.