Words have the power to bring life or death; joy or sadness; clarity or confusion; liberty or captivity. It is just amazing how much of our lives are built upon the words we have said and the words we have heard.
It is true then, that to know which words are better to use, and when to use them, is not an easy business. Now, if you happen to know more than one language you will find it very interesting to see how some words that are not part of your mother tongue are the perfect fit for a certain occasion, and no matter how hard you try to find a substitute for them in your own language, all seem too short.
For me this has been true, especially with one phrase, a powerful one: I love you
In English we love our cars, our new shoes, our country, our brownies, our coffee in the morning. In Spanish we like those (we could even be “enchanted” by those, as in the phrase: “Me encanta el café y el chocolate”).
In English we love our friends, our neighbors, our husband, our God. In Spanish we don’t.
We have two different phrases that help us distinguish between the way we love some of our friends and the way we love, for example, our husband.
In Spanish we have two ways of expressing our love:
Te quiero is a phrase that you would use to express your love for a good friend, for example.
Te amo is a totally different story.
Te amo is special.
Te amo is never said lightly.
Te amo is more intimate.
Te amo are the two words that are spoken softly in the ear of the wife.
Te amo are the words that a wife uses to sign a love letter for her husband.
Te amo are the words that a mom whispers to her baby in the arms, and the ones she says on the phone to her son living in another country.
Te amo are the words we say to our best friend, our brother, our sister who prays and cries with us through the darkest nights.
Te amo are the words a father tells her daughter every night.
Te amo are the words that I say in prayer to my God.
I am thinking that at times two words are better than three. Te amo and I love you will never mean the same. At least for me.
Learning to love,
What a wonderful post and lesson. I have thought of this often and wish there was a distinction in English. I enjoy your perspective on language and words.
It is the same with the German language. I never loved a brownie in Germany, and now, in the US, I love everything. Haha. But I do have to ditto Kim. It shouldn't all melt together — the different types of loves — they mean too much to be slighted. Blessings!
Exactamente. Bien dicho.
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I read this before bed last night and didn't get a chance to comment. Great words. English really abuses the word “love.”