Wednesday, February 5, 2014

There Are Not Enough Words

Traditionally, French is the language of love. But apparently what the French cannot express about passion…well, the rest of the world can supplement. After all, we are talking about something too big to be voiced by any one language. Read on.

Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese): Running your fingers through your lover’s hair.

“Kissing her hair I sat against her feet,
Wove and unwove it, wound and found it sweet”

-          “Rondel” by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego): This is a look between two people each waiting for the other to make the first move. The prolonging of sexual tension hinges on neither giving in to the impulse.

'What do you want, sir" I asked, sitting. I was puzzled—we never sat together. I shivered, although I was not cold…
'Now look at me.'
I turned my head and looked at him over my left shoulder.
His eyes locked with mine. I could think of nothing except how their grey was like the inside of an oyster shell.
He seemed to be waiting for something. My face began to strain with the fear that I was not giving him what he wanted.
'Griet,' he said softly. It was all he had to say. My eyes filled with tears I did not shed. I knew now.
'Yes. Don't move.'
He was going to paint me.

-          “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” – Tracy Chevalier

Onsra (Boro language of Assam; India): Poignant; means “to love for the last time”.

“All’s over, then: does truth sound bitter
            As one at first believes?
…Yet I will say what mere friends say,
            Or only a thought stronger;
I will hold your hand but as long as all may,
            Or so very little longer!”

-          “The Lost Mistress”, Robert Browning

Ya’aburnee (Arabic): It literally translates to “you bury me”; or in other words, you might as well kill me, because life without you is not worth living.

“I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be, when you – O God – would you like to live with your soul in the grave?”

-          Wuthering Heights”, Emily Bronte

Kilig (Tagalog): Being ‘drunk with love’; the ineffable experience of being swept away by the experience, sight, or even the very idea of romance.

“If I may express it, I was steeped in Dora. I was not merely head over heels in love with her, but I was saturated through and through. Enough love might have been wrung out of me, metaphorically speaking, to drown anybody in; and yet there would have remained enough within me, and all over me, to pervade my entire existence.”

-          “David Copperfield”, Charles Dicken

Koi No Yokan (Japanese): Not exactly love at first sight, but rather the presentiment at the very first meeting that the two of you are going to fall in love.

“I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you.”

-          “Clockwork Prince” Cassandra Clare

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