October 15, 2012

How To Talk To Someone You Love(?)

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What is the issue?

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.

Morse code includes the entire English alphabet, in addition to some Latin letters and a few Arabic numerals.

In Latin, I love you is te amo. In Arabic, it’s bahebbak – or bahebbik, if you’re speaking to a woman.

I love you in Morse code is difficult to write and even harder to read, if you’re unfamiliar with Morse code.

What’s more difficult than that is saying I love you aloud, especially if someone else is listening.

Harder still, is meaning it. At least for some people. For some of us, that’s the easiest part.

Sanskrit has 96 words for love — the most of any language, as far as I know.

The Chinese character for love looks quite complex; I have to wonder if that was strategic.

If you were interested, I love you in Morse code would look something like this: .. .-.. — …- . -.– — ..- (I told you it was difficult.)

A word the Chinese have that we don’t is yuanfen, which means ‘the invisible thread that connects some people, especially romantic couples, determined by fate.’ I don’t believe in fate and I’m pretty sure you don’t, either, but I still sometimes wish we could have this word just in case.

The term love comes from the Sanskrit lubhyati, which means “desire.” We had 96 options and we chose desire. Maybe that’s our problem, or maybe that was strategic, too.

It might be a good thing that we don’t have yuanfen, though, because fate and destiny are not one and the same. Fate can be fleeting but destiny is more forever than that, more permanent, and I can’t say that I want that word more than I want you to be something that stays for a long time. Some words are just not worth having.

Greek has four words for love: Agápe, éros, philía and storge. Occasionally a fifth kind of love will slip into the equation, people think there might be five Greek ways to love rather than four, and yet no one seems to agree on which word it is. I’m under the impression that the fifth word, the missing one, the one we can’t agree on is the closest to being the truth.

In English, instead of four words, we get just four letters. 15.4% of the alphabet, roughly.

If all the letters, words, and languages in the world are not enough to tell you how I feel when you walk into a room, I’m not sure four letters will ever suffice. TC mark

image – Corbin Corbin

Stephanie Georgopulos

Steph is a former editor at Thought Catalog and a current writer at Studio@Gawker. Her work has appeared on Glamour, …

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