Monday, July 10, 2017

We need so many words...

English needs a lot more words.

Take the word "love", for example.  Its quite the overused word, asked to fill in for a rainbow of feelings.  I love my dogs in a way that's very different from the way I love, say scotch.

And when it comes to people, well, now love becomes more of a timebomb.  A nuclear ka-boom!  Take a long term relationship.  It is highly improbable that you "love" your newborn baby and that same child at the age of twenty in the same way, but there we are, English sticks us with only that one lackluster word.

I guess what I'm saying is that there is a long way between "like" and "love", like the distance between purple and red in a rainbow, but we're stuck with only these two words, "like" which is anemic and powerless and "love" which is super-charged and loaded up with baggage like the Beverly Hillbillies.

I have a further problem. I use the word "like" a lot - probably too much. I have come to learn that some people will only use it toward people who have passed some sort of vetting process. "Yea, I like him." means that they have judged him to be worth of their attention. That's not the way I use it. I use "like" to mean that I find no reason to dislike someone. Like is an "opt out" for me, but for many people, liking someone is an "opt-in" activity.

Where it really gets sticky for me, personally is that I also use the word "love" on an "opt-out" basis. I've learned through some rather odd experiences to stop According to computer people, there are 16 million colors. We don't have words for each of them (or at least I don't think we have words for each of them.) But we also don't have just purple and red, either. I would think that expressing feelings should be at least as worthy of a few useful words as expressing the difference between "teal" and "cyan".

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