Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Alf's World of Words (Amo, Amas, Amat)
I have found myself retreating into the world of words and bookishness that at one point made me an insufferable snob. Don't worry. Age will stay the hand of snot, and instead i ask you to join with me as I take aa quick journey into la lingua amorosa mundi. Or rather the worldwide language of love. Give or take incorrect latin grammar. I have in the past written about my love affair with words. I used the example of the word "Redatt" which in the paupan language of New Guinea, means "One unlikely to take part in after dinner games". I've also gone on endlessly about the urgic dialects of laplanders, and marveled at the nuances of the !Kung languages of the kalahari. Alow me now, to stray from such torturously lame subjects and adress languages more common and expressions more accessible.
I'll assume that the four greek names (Agape, Eros, Philia, and Storge) are old news to us all, so I'll jump right into less cliche' amorous words:
In Arabic it all begins with "BASABASA" or to make sheep's eyes at someone. I daresay the arabic love for the mutton is well known and we can certainly note the amorous looks of a ewe, and the generally seductive undertones of 'Baa", moreso "BASABASA".
Naturally, the Italians, being classy and not at all over-sexed, have developed a similar word; "PUNTARE" or to stare intensely at the person you are sexually attracted to. Nevermind the discomfort this may caus the object of your lust. Evidently in Italy, this has worked for centuries. Then again, so did vomitoriums.
If your googly eyes, or intense stares go well, and the sheepishness or soul crushing intensity don't creep your potential mate right out of their skin, you may find yourself in the position of flirtation (An excellent english word,if I may say so).
The Japanese have a delightful phrase for flirting; "HIZA O MAJIERU" which means "Intimate chat" but is literally translated to "mingle each other's knees". Unfortunately most Japanese relationships don't move past the knee mingling, which explains the Japanese obsession with Anime' Knee Porn.
If you are a Dutchman, and indeed are not smoking pot, planting bulbs, clogging, putting your fingers in dykes or doing anything else that sounds dirty but isn't, you may look to engage in some "QUEESTING". A slightly more forward version of flirtation, that involves friendly chit-chat under the covers of one's own bed. This is either brilliant or totally retarded. I haven't made up my mind yet.
Love proper, I mean what we Americans understand as that comfy spot somewhere between Agape and Eros, is a somewhat complicated view on the whole matter, but simplistic when compared to the Boro people of Inida. Who have eighty words for different sorts of love, seventy nine of which are depressing. The only one I came across that was in sync with my romantic heart was "ONGUBSY"; to love deeply and from the heart.
Which brings me to the to the Indonesioan word "MENGGERUMUT"; To approach someone quietly in the night for sex. Which usually results in what the Portugese say "Eu tenho um headache".
You can imagine that the words for sex, and the varities therein are enormous and could easily warrant a blog of its own, but I found it amazing that the same people who have seceral words for group sex (The French) had a lovely description of what shakespeare described as "The little death" (Orgasm, you phillistines.) The French refer to it as "Voir les Anges" or "See the angels". Awwwww. how cute. Of course they say it while smoking a gauloise and making a spitting gesture, but i still think its cute.
As many words for love, and flirtaion as exist out there, I've found some rather tragic words for the end thereof. I don't care to explore these quite yet, but I do think the Japanese have a fantastic sensibilty for describing certain moments. A broken heart is "HARAWATA O TATSU" which is of the same family as "HARA KARE" , both mean disembowelment. But the land of the rising sun is ever optimisitc. My favorite term in this mini indulgence came from there as well.
It is a phrase used in the early stages of a relationship, when mutual attraction has been established, and everything has the promise of a new day.
"RAINEN NO KONO HI MO ISSHO NI WARATTEIYOH"
Or "This time next year, let's be laughing together."
A fine sentiment indeed.