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The same feelings different love ?

  1. Apr 21, 2006 #1
    Hi everybody,

    ----------------------SCENE 7---EPISODE 11---------------------------

    In a soft small voice talking to your father/mother who is now on bed in a hospital: "Dad, I love you".

    In a soft small voice talking to your girlfriend/boyfriend who is now sitting with you on a rock at a beautiful beach, looking deep into her eyes then you say:
    "Honey, I love you"


    Now please tell me in your native language, do you find something different in you when you say I LOVE YOU to the person before you.

    I know the love you have for your father/mother and for your girlfriend should be different. But please loo at tthe word "YOU" I write in bold, English and many other language systems do use only one word to aim at the listener. I wonder if you could share your feelings when you say something like that to your mom-dad and your lover.

    In some other language systems, you social classification leads to different word use especially in asian countries, one has to consider age, position, abilities etc of the listener when he starts the conversation. I don't know why that exists..

    thanks for any ideas
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2006 #2


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    Love is a passionate commitment of yourself to the other. It comes in all sorts of flavors, but the degree of commitment can be the same although the flavors differ.

    Just my take.
  4. Apr 21, 2006 #3


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    Drimar, are you talking about social deixis? For example, in French, the different uses of tu (informal you) and vous (formal you), and in SLQ Zapotec, the difference between the verb endings -ëb (formal) and -iny or -ni' (reverential)?

    I can't think of any way that English uses that regularly. You might find some examples in very formal settings in English, like using your honor or Your Majesty instead of you when addressing a judge or the Queen. I'm not sure that that's quite the same thing though. A better example, from writing instead of from speech, might be the capitalization of he (his, him) when it refers to the Christian God, or wherever god would be capitalized.
  5. Apr 21, 2006 #4


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    Yes, because the relationships are different. In my case, I have a wife, and my love for her different than the love I have for anyone else, because of the uniqueness of that relationship. The love I have for my children is different than the love I have for my wife, because the relationship between my children and myself is different than that with my wife.

    The love I have for my siblings, is somewhat different than the love I have for my parents - again because the relationship is different. My parents created me and nutured me. My siblings are of the same parents and are part of my direct family, so I care about them.

    The love I have for my closest friends is different than the love for my parents or siblings, and in some cases, my love is stronger for certain friends than family, because of the strong bond I have with those friends.

    Love may involve passion, but it can simply be a fondness among equals, where both have a mutual care, concern, respect, affinity for the other.

    You is simply a pronoun, second person, singular - in the context of "I love you."

    Say "I love you" (assuming it is stated honestly) is another way of saying "I care (very much, or with strong emotion) about you."
  6. Apr 21, 2006 #5


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    Drimar, would you mind telling us what your native language is? (Is it Chamorro?) Knowing that might help us to avoid some misunderstandings.

    Languages might contain or lack built-in rules for this kind of distinction for various reasons. The distinctions might have had a purpose at some point and have survived as a mere formality as the structure of the society changed. In other cases, the usage might die out when it's no longer useful or even be actively eliminated if 'politically incorrect' or such. It probably depends on how exactly the distinction is built into the language, i.e., how easily it can just be deleted.

    (I'm not sure, but English's thou/thee/thy(/thine)/thine/thyself might have been the more formal you/you/your/yours/yourself. I haven't noticed any consistent distinction in any of the Middle or Early Modern English that I've read, but they might have already been on the way out.)

    There might also already be several ways of expressing these ideas of status, respect, formality, familiarity, distance, and such in a language, so they don't show up as a few obvious patterns.

    In your example, I think the psychological states of the speakers, which would probably reflect some typical social roles of the speaker and addressee, would be manifested not in a single word of I love you but in the entire expression, perhaps as a certain intonational melody. But these patterns, if they existed, might be too peculiar to each individual to show up in just any sample of utterances across individuals. Or rather, you would look at it from more of a psychological perspective than from a purely linguistic one, i.e., how psychological states manifest themselves in utterances.

    These are just some first thoughts, by the bye. I haven't studied these topics much yet.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2006
  7. Apr 21, 2006 #6
    I'll pitch in the old saying that "actions are speak much louder than words" because when you say you love your dad you're not necessarily making the same sort of actions that you would when you say you love your girl friend.

    This is one way to distiquish the differing quality of the love for a parent and the love for a mate.:biggrin:
  8. Apr 22, 2006 #7


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    Funny story. It turns out that thou and French tu are cognates -- they both come from PIE *tu. Did you ever notice that we use you when addressing both one person and more than one person, while we make distinctions with the other pronouns?

    1st person: I/me/my/mine/myself -- we/us/our/ours/ourselves
    3rd: it/it/its/its/itself -- they/them/their/theirs/themselves


    2nd: you/you/your/yours/yourself -- you/you/your/yours/yourselves

    Well, way back when, it was

    2nd': thou/thee/thy(/thine)/thine/thyself -- ye/you/your/yours/yourselves

    Ye&co. was the plural and was used as the more formal, respectful form when addressing a single person. So thou&co. became disrespectful when used in many situations, and due to some other things, you ended up replacing ye and all of thou&co. in most dialects, though some still make limited use of thou&co. and some have adopted you all or you guys as plural forms. :smile:
  9. Apr 28, 2006 #8


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    lol, nobody speaks, or grew up speaking Chamorro natively anymore. Its kind of like how no body really natively speaks Hawaiian anymore (well, a few). Before WWII they spoke Spanish, and during and after they spoke English. Unless his parents or grandparents were really into "preserve your culture," than he wouldn't natively speak.
  10. Apr 28, 2006 #9


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    Hm, interesting. Its Ethnologue entry says "14,205 in Northern Mariana Islands (1990). Population includes 11,466 on on Saipan (1990), 1,502 on Rota (1990), 1,231 on Tinian (1990); 62,500 on Guam (1991 Bender and Rehg). ... Population total all countries: 76,705... 90,000 including second-language users." In 1990, 62,500 would have been almost half of Guam's population, 133,152 according to that year's Census. Do people not speak it at all or speak it in addition to another language? What do most people speak? Do you speak Chamorro?
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