Only one word for love in English?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    English seems to require adjectives/adverbs to express different types of love: Brotherly love, romantic love, mother love, unconditional love, et cetera. Lust is the only single word I can think of & it does not seem to suggest some variant of love.

    Ancient (or maybe modern) Greek has agape which means (I think) unconditional or unselfish love or something like that.

    What about other languages & vocabularies of words meaning various types of love?
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    One word? There are many- adore, smitten, crush, affection, fondness, infatuation...
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    English is a little like Chinese, we tend to put words together to describe new concepts. Although we also coin plenty of new ones from Latin and Greek roots, something Chinese cannot do.

    Eros is sexual, or at least romantic, love. It's obviously the source of our word "erotic." Agapē can be used for the love between a husband and wife, but also between parents and children, between fast friends, or between a god and his people.

    The dictionary-Spanish word for "to love" is amar, but in colloquial speech people almost always say querer, which literally means "to want." It's not just restricted to romantic or sexual love. You can say Yo quiero a mi abuela, "I love my grandmother," or even Yo quiero mi cachorro, "I love my puppy."
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
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  7. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    'Yo' means 'I' ? Hmm..
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2009
  8. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    I would not agree at all.

    I feel like that could apply to German or French (what do the french have 10,000 words in the vocabulary?) but we have close to a million individual words.
  9. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

  10. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    So when rappers yell "Yo yo yo!" or something like that, they are really yelling "Me, me me!" ?
    Figures.. lol
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    French rivals English or may even exceed our word count. They have all the same Latin and Greek words that we do.

    But the size of the dictionary is not a good indicator of how speakers of a language express concepts. Most of those Latin and Greek words are only used by scientists or specialists in other disciplines such as philosphy or the law. As the citation points out, most people have an everyday speaking vocabulary of just two or three thousand words.
  12. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

  13. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I'm mad about you.
    I'm crazy about you.
    I've fallen for him.
    as just a few examples of the unbelievable number of ways we convey romantic love.
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    24,690 says that the interjection "yo" was used by English hunters and sailors in the early fifteenth century, right around the transition from Middle English to Modern English. Its renewed popularity is traced to the U.S. armed forces in WWII, when it became an acceptable response at roll calls, and its precise point of origin may have been Philadelphia.
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    From Latin ego. The same word as Italian io,, Portuguese and Romanian eu, French je, etc. In fact it's (almost?) universal in the Western Indo-European languages. German ich, English "I," Swedish jag, Greek ego, etc.

    Cognates even appear in the Eastern Indo-European languages, e.g., Lithuanian as and Sanskrit aham. It appears to go all the way back to the ancestral proto-Indo-European language, as does another pronoun "thou," du, tu, ty, etc.
  16. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Those describe the feelings of love but do not express different types of love. If you are smitten you have a crush which is an infatuation whereby you feel affection and fondness which leads you to believe that you adore someone.
  17. Search & Destroy Take one bite at a time Moderator

    yeah exactly. You can't look at the number without looking at how they arrived there. My guess is that since it is such a high number they must have counted every combination of words and parts of words.

    ie. hunt, hunted, hunter, hunting, season, hunting season, etc. Are all classified as individual words or meanings or something like that.

    Or they looked at all the words throughout history.

    each as an individual word. There's no other way to reach such a high number. Either that or it's just an urban myth.

    Cause seriously there is no way I know even close to 1.2 million different words.
  18. ejderha Exhausted Registered Senior Member

    Dinosaur, do you mean that there is only one word with first and only definition of 'love'? When I say, "I am crazy about him", I don't use crazy in the first real meaning.

    In my mother language -Turkish- there are; to love is 'sevmek'. There are a few words only used for love. 'Aşk', 'sevgi', 'sevda'... But many others used for describing the one in love. For example, the love you can't get over with is 'Kara Sevda'= Dark Love ,lol. But 'sevda'' is always used for deep passionate love. So you can use only one word to describe it.
  19. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    English uses various adjectives to describe different types of love: Romantic love, mother love, brotherly love, selfless love. There seems to me to be definite difference in these concepts.

    I believe Greek has several actual words: Eros (romantic or sexual love), filos (love between brothers), & agape (some concept of selfless love adopted by modern Christians).

    Of course idiomatic expressions like “crazy for him” mean a person loves somebody. I do not think such usage makes crazy a synonym for love.

    The closest words I can think of are: Crave, desire, lust, like.

    Note that there are various antonyms for love: Hate, despise, loathe, detest, abhor.

    I was merely wondering about other languages which might have words for different kinds (or degrees) of love .

    When I started this post, I even thought that English might have some vocabulary unknown to me, or that there might be pertinent archaic words no longer used.

    I thought that perhaps French might have some vocabulary for different degrees of romantic love.
  20. birch Valued Senior Member

    there is no such thing as "sexual love." love implies you care about an individual, idea, value, thing etc and it's well-being and of itself or themself. sexual love is basically lust. you can love someone and be physically attracted too but still real love by itself has no basis in sexual desire. that's why you can love someone and can forever but lust has nothing to do with whether you actuallyl regard that person because it's totally based on the physical, it's much more looking on the other as an object. it's like saying, i love ice cream.
  21. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Why do we need more than one anyway? Duplication of ordinary meanings would seem to me to be doubleplusungood.
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The love we feel for a mother, son, friend, teacher, leader, pet, creative partner, loyal servant, etc., is qualitatively different from the love we feel for a spouse, fiance/fiancee or boy/girlfriend. There is a sexual component to the latter that is absent from the former. It's undeniable that hormones affect our psychology, and lust has an effect on the nature of love.
  23. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    The following seems to be a common view.
    The above impies that if there is sexual desire, it is not true love. I consider the above POV as silly romantic fantasy.

    There is a big difference in the meaning of lust and the meaning of sexual desire. Some people do not seem to know the difference.

    BTW: I recently realized there are two words meaning love other than sexual love or romantic love (which are terms that I consider approximately equivalent).
    • Necrophilia, which I consider weird, but not evil. There is a limerick on this subject.

    • Pedophilia, which I consider both pathological & evil.
    My Spell Checker does not include the above two words, but I are very sure that they exist.

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