Foreword: this post was originally scheduled to go online on Valentine’s day but once I’m out of the office my brain forgets the concepts of “schedule” and “deadline”, so here it is, going live on a random date! After all, Valentine’s day should be every day, am I right?
The love jargon is a minefield! First of all, defining a relationship is almost impossible: are we going out? No, that’s official…ok, so we are….dating, right? But wait, does that mean you can see other people? Can I keep my Tinder profile? Oh, we are seeing each other! Got it!
But really, I did not get it and I suspect the natives didn’t either: I had spent a whole evening with a British flatmate, talking about the love vocabulary and analysing the different-yet-so-similar phrasal verbs that define a relationship, categorising them by their various level of commitment; then, two days ago, another British friend destroyed all my smugness by swapping them around and re-categorising them all. So I wonder, was it really so hard to create new, specific words? Or maybe you thought that you needn’t invent anything other than snogging and shagging?!
Then you reach the stable phase, you are going out and you are ex-clu-sive, it is time to drop the L word. Except that “I love you” doesn’t sound that dramatic to me because some languages, like, you guessed it, mine, have a very specific and special phrase for that special person; on the other hand, the English language distributes “I love you” indiscriminately to daddies, mummies, besties and the aforementioned special person. This, in my honest and Italian opinion, is called “poverty of language”.
That being said, I am sure any Italian-learner would have something to say about the Italian love vocabulary: how could they not, when our equivalent of snogging is lemoning?