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What is love?
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Linguistic understandings of love

What the word for love connotes to a French speaker may be totally different to a Russian speaker.
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The Argument

We often see language as inherently neutral, built to reflect the world around us. But language has its own biases, and in every different language, 'love' can have different connotations. The Hebrew word for love is ahavah. The word comes from the root consonants h-v meaning "to give". In the Hebrew language, without the action of giving, there can be no love. Thus, in Hebrew, giving is an essential component of loving someone.[1] In Mandarin, the phrase "我爱你" (pinyin: Wǒ ài nǐ ) ("I love you") was previously rarely used. Instead, the more relaxed "我喜欢你" (pinyin: Wǒ xǐhuān nǐ) ("I like you") was used to express romantic feelings. While saying "Wǒ ài nǐ" is becoming more common with younger generations, the use of "Wǒ xǐhuān nǐ" historically was a reflection of the discouragement of romantic love in Chinese culture.[2] Language is a fundamental building block of how we neurologically experience life.[3] By having different connotations and understandings of love linguistically, different cultures will experience love differently.

Counter arguments


Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 19:36 UTC

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