Have you ever tested your native language and felt that it was lacking? Sometimes one word says it all and sometimes one word is well, lacking that full oomph that you need to make a point, express an emotion or describe a situation.
Recently, my husband and I celebrated a wedding anniversary. While trying to write a letter to him that expressed the depth of my emotion at being devoted to him all these years I found myself wishing that English had more than one word for love. Yes, I love my husband but I don’t love him like I love chocolate or traveling or a perfectly grilled hamburger! My four-year-old loves dancing, super heroes and playing outside. But, once again, I needed something stronger to reflect the love I have for my husband.
When I was in college I dabbled in Ancient Greek for a short time. In Greek, there are four words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. Each word has its own distinction, meaning and nuance. If you want to say you love apple pie and you love your boyfriend in the same sentence, Ancient Greek had a word for that!
Here are a few more phrases that I wish had a special word in the English language:
English is filled with synonyms that have become so interchangeable the full force of the word has been removed. Yes, words like pretty, beautiful and gorgeous can describe someone with incredible physical features but I wish there was a word that allowed for something more, something so beautiful that it takes your break away. I wish there was a word for when I saw my children for the first time or stood over the Grand Canyon. I want something that makes beauty special and unique.
My husband is Filipino and there are some great phrases in Tagalog that are just missing in English. One of my favorites is the Tagalog word gigil (pronounced gheegle). Gigil describes the urge to squeeze something that is so cute you just can’t stand it! Think of that cute puppy or that incredibly fluffy stuffed animal at the store. Ever wanted to just gigil something?!?
Have you ever met someone that simply understands people? The kind of person that walks into a room and within five minutes is sitting on the couch, listening as others pour out their life stories? This is a person who has mastered the Korean concept of Nunchi. In English we must pair two words together and call them “emotionally intelligent” but in Korean they are simply Nunchi. They have mastered the art of listening and understanding another person’s mood. Anyone else feel like Nunchi often eludes them?
Whenever I sit down at a nice restaurant and an incredible steak is placed before me I wish I had a word that specifically describes amazing food! It seems profrane to sip a Coke and say, “That tastes so good!” in the way that I would eat a Filet Mignon and say, “That tastes so good!” I wish I had a word to describe a dish or dessert that was so incredibly tasty you just have to stuff yourself beyond the point of no return!