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message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) People often claim to be confused about what love is, or what the words "I love you" mean. But are they genuinely confused, or are they just complaining that people often lie when they say these words? We work in linguistics, and we have been thinking for a while that it would be interesting to try and investigate this question objectively. It occurred to us that GoodReads might give us a way to do that. In real life, you never know what people are really thinking, but in literature you are often given more insight, due to the author's privileged position. On GoodReads, we can often find many people who have read the same book, and we can compare how they experienced it.

If you'd like to take part in this project, please start by contributing one or more interesting examples from books and films of people saying "I love you". It can be some slight variant, e.g. "I think I love you". Then for each example, we'd like the people in the group who know the relevant book/film independently to write down what they think the character who said "I love you" meant. When we reach this stage, we will suggest some specific things to think about when people write their reports. Finally, we all compare our answers. We primarily want to discover a) to what extent different readers agree on what they think the characters meant in each specific context, b) to what extent we think different characters mean the same thing in different contexts. So, in other words, when a specific character says "I love you" in a specific book/film, do we readers all think they mean the same thing? And if we compare scenes from different books/films, do we think characters mean different things by "I love you"?

We would like a wide range of examples - there are no "right" or "wrong" ones, just pick things you personally find interesting. Though it will help if the books/films are sufficiently well-known that at least one other person has read them, otherwise it will be harder to compare.

Manny and Beth Ann


message 2: by Manny (last edited Jan 03, 2009 09:19AM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Here's an example to get the ball rolling. In the movie Postcards from the Edge, Dennis Quaid says to Meryl Streep “I think I love you”. Streep replies “When will you know for sure?”


message 3: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) In the movie Splash, there are several relevant incidents. Near the beginning, Tom Hanks is having a fraught telephone conversation with his girlfriend Victoria. “What do you mean, do I love you?” he asks. He’s clearly been put on the spot. “Well, do you love me? Huh? Huh? Well, there you go then!” But this doesn’t work out well, and shortly afterwards we find she’s left him.

Later, after Hanks has met Daryl Hannah, she unexpectedly gives him an enormous fountain as a present. “Why did you do that?” he asks, bemused. “Because I love you,” she answers. Hanks is taken aback by this forthright declaration. “I love… this present!” he stammers, as usual avoiding the fatal words. Then he reconsiders. “I love you, Madison!” He’s surprised he wants to say it.



message 4: by Manny (last edited Jan 03, 2009 11:52PM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Lyrics to Eurhythics track, Ball and Chain:

Well the sound of your voice on the telephone
Make me feel distressed
Make me all alone.
Why do I feel so incomplete?
When you're not here I'm just obsolete.

My bed is burnin' all through the night.
You're the only one that can make me feel right.
Try to lay down my sleepin' head
But I'm tossin' and turnin' around instead.

I love you like a ball and chain.
(Make it alright now.)
Love you like a ball and chain.
(Feels too good.)

I'm a fool I know but I'm stuck on you.
I'm a fool I know and it's makin' me blue.
There's a river of blood.
There's a river of tears
I've been wasting all these years.

Chorus repeats.



message 5: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Jan 04, 2009 10:29AM) (new)

Jennifer (aka EM) Song lyrics are fair game? Cool...

Ok, watched No Country For Old Men last night. I imagine this is slightly richer in the context of the Cormac McCarthy book, but in the film, it occurs early--right after Llewelyn has taken the $2 million drug pay-off and is going out to bring water to the last dying drug runner.

Despite the bleakness of the scenario, this made me laugh:

Llewelyn (to Carla Jean, his wife): If I don't come back, please tell mother I love her.

Carla Jean: your mother's dead.

Llewellyn: Well ... (long pause) ... then I'll tell her myself.




message 6: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Jan 04, 2009 11:01AM) (new)

Jennifer (aka EM) And here's one from Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker, which I know is being panned elsewhere but which is a book (and an author) I adore.

Key recurring theme in SLWW is "how to make love stay." Leading up to the following excerpt, Leigh-Cheri, our red-headed heroine and romantic princess aka dragon-bait, sends a missive to Bernard, aka the Woodpecker and her outlaw lover, now in jail. In it she says:

"We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?

"The next day, Bernard's attorney delivered to her this reply:

"Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free."




message 7: by Manny (last edited Jan 04, 2009 04:19PM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Muse, loved your examples, especially the second one! Here's another:

In Simone de Beauvoir’s Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée ("Memoirs of a dutiful daughter"), de Beauvoir writes to Jacques, quoting the words "Je t'aime. En quoi ça te regarde?" ("I love you. What has that got to do with you ?"). She then waits in an agony of suspense to get his reply, and is bitterly disappointed when nothing arrives.



message 8: by Manny (last edited Jan 05, 2009 01:11AM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) In Ghost, every time Demi Moore tells Patrick Swayze that she loves him, he replies "Ditto". She clearly finds this very irritating.


message 9: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessicaafrank) | 257 comments Mod
As far as obvious songs, there is Olivia Newton John's "I love you, I honestly love you" and the Partridge Family's "I think I love you but what am I so afraid of..."
I don't have either of these so I can't quote them exactly...I don't usually listen to such music.

More to come.



message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessicaafrank) | 257 comments Mod
Meatloaf's Paradise:

Stop right there,
I got to know right now,
Do you love me?
Do you honestly love me? (repeated)

Let me sleep on it, baby, baby,
Let me sleep on it,
I'll give you an answer in the morning.


message 11: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Thanks for the contributions Jess!

Beth Ann and I discussed whether songs were OK. We decided that the critical question was whether or not the song gave enough context that you could then reasonably discuss what the person saying "I love you" meant.

So on that basis, we thought that the Beatles' She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah probably wasn't useful - you are told next to nothing about the unknown girl, and what she meant. But on the same reasoning, I thought Ball and chain was fine, since Annie Lennox gives you a pretty good idea of her feelings. I would say Paradise was somewhere in between.


message 12: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessicaafrank) | 257 comments Mod
I would say that Paradise gives an idea of what love means to the male (entrapment) and the female (marriage). These are clearly implied in the song. :)


message 13: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Ah yes, that is indeed a common topic! I immediately associated to this poem by e e cummings:

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she

(let's go said he
not too far said she
what's too far said he
where you are said she)

may i stay said he
(which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she

may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you're willing said he
(but you're killing said she

but it's life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she

(tiptop said he
don't stop said she
oh no said he)
go slow said she

(cccome?said he
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)



message 14: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Thanks tam! Though annoying enough, this is one of the Movies I Haven't Seen That Everyone Else In The World Has... so one of the everyone elses will have to explain the reference to me :)



message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Hi Manny - looks like we're talking song lyrics here, in which I have a particular interest. Here's one, by the Gang of Four

And I feel like a beetle on its back
And there's no way for me to get up
Love'll get you like a case of anthrax
And that's something I don't want to catch

After that cheerful insight there's this monologue:

"Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about, cos most groups make most of their songs about falling in love or how happy they are to be in love, you occasionally wonder why these groups do sing about it all the time - it's because these groups think there's something very special about it, either that or else it's because everybody else sings about it and always has, you know to burst into song you have to be inspired and nothing inspires quite like love. These groups and singers think that they appeal to everyone by singing about love because apparently everyone has or can love or so they would have you believe anyway but these groups seem to go along with that, the belief that love is deep in everyone's personality. I don't think we're saying there's anything wrong with love,
we just don't think that what goes on between two people should be shrouded with mystery."

Love'll get you like a case of anthrax
And that's something I don't want to catch
Love'll get you like a case of anthrax
And that's something I don't want to catch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NTmgF...

A more traditional attitude is expressed by Leadbelly :

I asked your mother for you
She told me that you was too young
I wish the Lord I never seen your face
I'm sorry you ever was born

and this from Randy Newman is fairly standard

You looked like a princess the night we met
With your hair piled up high
I will never forget
I'm drunk right now baby
But I've got to be
Or I never could tell you
What you meant to me
I loved you the first time I saw you
And I always will love you Marie
I loved you the first time I saw you
And I always will love you Marie
You're the song that the trees sing when the wind blows
You're a flower, you're a river, you're a rainbow
Sometimes I'm crazy
But I guess you know
And I'm weak and I'm lazy
And I've hurt you so
And I don't listen to a word you say
When you're in trouble I just turn away
But I love you and I loved you the first time I saw you
And I always will love you Marie
I loved you the first time I saw you
And I always will love you Marie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xtVZj...

Don't know if this is helpful or hinderful...







message 16: by C. (new)

C. (placematsgalore) I suspect this is too much of a variant, but I find it interesting, so I'll suggest it anyway.

In Chekhov's play The Cherry Orchard, characters shy away from telling one another their true feelings for fear of being hurt. But they don't hesitate to make claims about other people's emotions; Dunyasha, for example, says of Yepikhodov "He loves me, he loves me so much!" and shortly afterwards Anya says to Varya of Lopakhin "he loves you..."

So the real love is never declared, though it could save everyone... feel free to ignore or delete this because I know it's only marginally relevant. In the meantime I'll try and think up some better examples.


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessicaafrank) | 257 comments Mod
Manny wrote: "Ah yes, that is indeed a common topic! I immediately associated to this poem by e e cummings:

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she

(may i touch said he
ho..."


I definitely see the relationship. I'm surprised I didn't see it before, but I haven't read e e cummings in awhile. I was certainly reading it when the song was popular.



message 18: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Paul wrote: "Hi Manny - looks like we're talking song lyrics here, in which I have a particular interest. Here's one, by the Gang of Four

And I feel like a beetle on its back
And there's no way for me to ge..."


Hi Paul! Thanks for the posting. Song lyrics are definitely of interest, as already noted, and all the more so if they are close to the specific phrase "I love you"... the core of this project is to try and use linguistic tools to pin down why it is that people have so much trouble with the three little words. Sounds like you know more examples than just Stevie Wonder :)



message 19: by Manny (last edited Jan 06, 2009 03:29AM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Choupette wrote: "I suspect this is too much of a variant, but I find it interesting, so I'll suggest it anyway.

In Chekhov's play The Cherry Orchard, characters shy away from telling one another their true feelin..."


Yes, I definitely think we're interested in cases where people DON'T say "I love you" when it's reasonable to expect them to do so. As in Patrick Swayze's notorious "ditto", for instance.

Another example is from Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate. John is hurting badly after breaking up with Liz, and unexpectedly finds he's got back together again with his old flame Jan, whom he's considered for years as just a friend. In fact, he realizes that maybe he loved her all along, but he never says anything. Then Jan is suddenly killed in a freak accident, and he nearly drives himself mad wishing that he had had the sense to tell her. It's very powerful.



message 20: by Manny (last edited Jan 07, 2009 03:51PM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) In Sideways, Sandra Oh becomes very upset when she discovers that her lover, Thomas Hadden Church, is engaged to be married to someone else. The film presents abundant evidence that Church's and Oh’s characters have passionate feelings for each other. None the less, Oh shouts "You said you loved me!" and breaks Church’s nose with her motorcycle helmet.


message 21: by Gwenlle (last edited Jan 08, 2009 01:15AM) (new)

Gwenlle | 1 comments In The Empire Strikes Back, Leia says "I love you" and Han replies: "I know". link

According to The Internet, Harrison Ford ad-libbed "I know," when the script called for "I love you too", but that's unsubstantiated.

According to the shooting script, the exchange was to go:
LEIA
... I love you. I couldn't tell you before, but it's true.

HAN
... just remember that, 'cause I'll be back...



message 22: by Beth (new)

Beth (bahockeybahrcnet) | 1 comments From Ian Banks, The Crow Road

Interaction between Prentice McHoan and Ashley Watt

"She squeezed again, four times, the second pulse longer than the other three. Another pause, during which I realised -- it was morse! Then another four pulses, the second one short and the others long.
I. L. Y.


I had raised my head away from her shoulder while I concentrated on what she was doing in there; now I lowered my face to her skin again. I laughed, very lightly, and after a moment so did she, and then I sent the same signal back, with a single long pulse a the end: I.L.Y.T.
And I swear the sending made the signal all the truer.

...

I didn't dream that ... signal last night, did I?
She laughed. 'Nope, Meant every letter; every word. With all my heart' One brow flicked 'Amongst other organs.' She tipped her head to one side, eyebrows raised. 'And you?'
'The same,' I gulped. "



message 23: by Rhonda (last edited Jan 08, 2009 09:03AM) (new)

Rhonda (rhondak) Jessica Frank wrote: "Meatloaf's Paradise:

Stop right there,
I got to know right now,
Do you love me?
Do you honestly love me? (repeated)

Let me sleep on it, baby, baby,
Let me sleep on it,
I'll give you an ..."


Whenever I hear this song, and alas I hear it less and less, I think of using it in counseling classes with men and women. I demand that we stop writing about understanding the differences in the way we speak and start accepting that we have the differences. Oh sorry! That's my idealism peeking out! I always want to fix things!

The difficulty is that, much like philosophers from the 20th century who attempted to reduce language to codification,(eg, Wittgenstein, Frege, Ayer, et al) we use the same words for various things. I don't wish to belabor this point as many would find it tedious.
However,one thing above all others is certain, even if we don't understand what another person does or says: interpreting "I love you" depends on associated activity rather than only the words. Even then, oftentimes the actions may be slightly misgiuided, but that's a different issue.

One might take the meaning to whatever lofty heights of romanticism one wishes, from the back seat of the car to the walking on air feeling of seeing the world for the first time. However, I think one can take no better than the following advice from literature as a guideline to its meaning: "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."
If someone finds what he or she calls true love without that, I don't think I want to know about it.. unless you have made an appointment.





message 24: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) In the humorous video that Catherine Townsend has posted on her blog homepage http://sleeping-around.blogspot.com/ ), she shows a typical seduction, contrasting what she says and what she is really thinking throughout the performance. At the end, she says "I think I love you". She simultaneously thinks "I can’t believe I just said that!"


message 25: by C. (new)

C. (placematsgalore) I have a methodological question. Authors and scriptwriters and songwriters construct dialogue for their characters or lyrics in their songs, but how do we know that are using the phrase in the same sense as in real life? If everyone is so confused over what it means, isn't it possible that our examples are not truly representative? On what grounds can we assume that writers know better than us? I think I understand the answer to this, in practical terms. But I'd like to hear other peoples' takes on my questions.


message 26: by Manny (last edited Jan 08, 2009 12:37PM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) It's a good question. I don't think writers understand the phrase better than other people. As I see it, the advantage of referring to published works rather than personal experience is that we all have access to the same information when we start discussing what was meant.

If we use our own personal experience, the person whose experience it was has a privileged position. They know things that none of the rest of us know, so the discussion isn't being carried out on equal terms. Though on consideration, it seems perfectly OK to me for people to share personal experiences, as long as they don't then participate in discussing the experiences that they have themselves contributed. They are then taking on the role of author, and the rest of us are the readers. The methodologically dubious move would seem to be for someone to participate both as author AND as reader simultaneously.

Do other people think this sounds reasonable? Beth Ann is always so good at methodological issues...



message 27: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (rhondak) Manny wrote: "In the humorous video that Catherine Townsend has posted on her blog homepage http://sleeping-around.blogspot.com/ ), she shows a typical seduction, contrasting what she says and what she is really..."

Guys are like so clueless! Hints never work and most of those "suggestions" have to be repeated in any case.



message 28: by Manny (last edited Jan 08, 2009 12:47PM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Rhonda wrote: "Guys are like so clueless! Hints never work and most of those "suggestions" have to be repeated in any case.
"


Tell me about it! We just don't have equally strong verbal and social interaction skills. It's the way our brains are wired, unfortunately.

If you thought her video was good, you should read Sleeping Around the book. She is so funny about sex and romance.





message 29: by Matthieu (last edited Jun 28, 2017 10:20AM) (new)

Matthieu | 26 comments For this very reason I never argue with my mother or cousins. They always win.


message 30: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) In Vernon God Little, Vern is on the run and out of money. Suddenly, his dream girl shows up with $600! His comment, in his ironic interior monologue:

"One thing to be proud of: I don't respond to the flood of joy-hormones, the ones that make you want to smell flowers, or say I love you. I contain myself like a man."



message 31: by Rhonda (last edited Jan 09, 2009 10:24AM) (new)

Rhonda (rhondak) Manny wrote: "In Vernon God Little, ...his comment, in his ironic interior monologue:

"One thing to be proud of: I don't respond to the flood of joy-hormones, the ones that make you want to smell flowers, or say I love you. I contain myself like a man."


One has to wonder two things about this statement of Vern's.
First, one ought to ask whether this would be something, assuming it were true, of which one, as a male, ought to be proud, in and of itself. Wherein does "containing oneself like a man" have any great merit? This question is rhetorical for those males with a tendency to respond and I hasten to point out that explaining it would perhaps violate the sense of the original statement anyway.

Second, we ought to wonder whether it is not the male species which is using these three words, more often than not, to cover the great range of compacted emotions which he cares not to untangle.

I suspect the latter is true for fear that examination of one's inner self may be taken by others, as well as himself, as a weakness simply because it encourages inaction. Although the reasoning may be somewhat fallacious, it does not prevent this from being widely believed. Hence, though I do not doubt that this statement is believed greatly by the male species as accurate, I doubt that it is even moderately true.

Lest these comments raise greater issues of division between the sexes, I state, without reservation, that I am thankful that you did not bring up a quote concerning these things and women. Nevertheless, all it would enhance, besides my utter embarrassment, would be the differences between us rather than any rectitude, moral or otherwise.



message 32: by Manny (last edited Jan 12, 2009 11:57PM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) In Japanese, there is apparently no expression exactly corresponding to "I love you". According to my friend Yukie, the closest equivalent is tsugi na (literally, "connection"), which indicates approximately that the speaker is, or wishes to consider themselves, in a more or less exclusive relationship with the addressee.


message 33: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) I once spent two months in Japan as a visiting researcher, and decided I'd get proper Japanese visiting cards, with a kanji version of my name on the back. I chose characters with a kanji dictionary, and thought I'd done a nice job.

Except that the first time I tried to use one, the Japanese gentleman started laughing hysterically. When he calmed down, he told me that my version of Man-Ni Rei-Na meant "Person-fond-of-jokes Name-of-a-dead-person".

I had thought the second word just meant "Distinguished-name".


message 34: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Tam, this is getting seriously off-topic, but you have to finish that story. How did you prove it to the election officer's satisfaction? Is there a standard procedure for demonstrating that one is not merely undead?


message 35: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Well, I like the pulse bit. That's actually true!?


message 36: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) OMG. So in fact you could very easily have been undead. The US needs tighter checks on voter registration, no wonder Minnesota is such a mess.



message 37: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) I understand there are many books on this subject, but I haven't read a single zombie survival guide. No doubt it will cost me dear some time. Look what happened to the boyfriend in Shaun of the Dead...



message 38: by Matthieu (last edited Jan 14, 2009 11:50AM) (new)

Matthieu | 26 comments 1. That was a terrific film, Manny!

2. Tam, that story is amazing.

3. I wonder how many of the recent votes were actually cast by zombies.

4. I've never spent time in Minnesota, but it looks like a fascinating place...


message 39: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 2 comments Manny,
I like the idea of putting down song lyrics. One of my favorite's is "The First Taste" by Fiona Apple. Here is it.

"I lie in an early bed, thinking late thoughts
Waiting for the black to replace my blue
I do not struggle in your web because it was my aim to get caught
But daddy longlegs, I feel that Im finally growing weary
Of waiting to be consumed by you

Give me the first taste, let it begin heaven cannot wait
Forever
Darling, just start the chase - Ill let you win but you must
Make the endeavor

Oh, your love give me a heart contusion
Adagio breezes fill my skin with sudden red
Your hungry flirt borders intrusion
Im building memories on things we have not said
Full is not heavy as empty, not nearly my love, not nearly my love, not
Nearly

Give me the first taste, let it begin heaven cannot wait
Forever
Darling, just start the chase - Ill let you win, but you must
Make the endeavor"



message 40: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (rhondak) Whatever you think of the song, you have to admire someone who can rhyme a word with "endeavor." Of course, you have to hope the guy understands what it means too:)


message 41: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessicaafrank) | 257 comments Mod
Manny, Regarding the topic of love and semantics, where would you place all romance novels? Are they at all relevant? Just curious. Jess


message 42: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Yukie, thank you for the correction! I could have sworn you said "tsugi na" when we discussed this a couple of months ago, but either I misheard or misremembered.

So, in a situation where one has strong feelings for someone, where a Westerner might say "I love you", my understanding is that a Japanese person doesn't consider that they need to say anything. They might say "aishiteru", but probably it would feel unnatural. Some questions leading on from that:

- Is there some different way to say you have strong feelings for the other person, which doesn't involve using a word that means anything like "love"?

- If you do say "aishiteru", does the fact that it is so much rarer mean that it is a more serious thing to say than the literal translation "I love you"?

- Do you think the fact that Japanese people typically say nothing, where Westerners would say "I love you", lead to more or fewer romantic misunderstandings?







message 43: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Yukie wrote: "When a person falls in love with someone, one of common expressions must be "tsukiatte kudasai" (be with me), it is a kind of verbal contract to become a couple. Once a couple is made, the rest is ... a secret of them :) "

Oh, but the whole thread is about the expression "I love you". This is very interesting! A few more questions, if you have a moment:

- What are the kanji for "tsukiatte kudasai"?

- Is the other person expected to respond in any particular way? E.g. one of the conventional responses to "I love you" is "I love you too".

- When I mentioned romantic misunderstandings, what I meant is that, in the Western world, they frequently occur because people don't agree on what the expression "I love you" means. Do you think that the meaning of the Japanese expression "tsukiatte kudasai" is clearer?



message 44: by Rhonda (last edited Jan 25, 2009 02:08PM) (new)

Rhonda (rhondak) Literary opinions are impressive usually if the person you quote is dead. How about the opinion of Wobbly Lance on the subject? From the M of V we have:

Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
Reply, reply.
It is engender’d in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle, where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy’s knell;
I’ll begin it – Ding, dong, bell.

Ding, dong, bell.



message 45: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Thank you again Yukie, that was absolutely fascinating! It sounds like Japanese and English are truly different here.

Matthew, if you are reading this, could you please check with your staggeringly multi-lingual mother about conventions in other languages?


message 46: by Matthieu (new)

Matthieu | 26 comments Let's start with Chinese:

我爱你。(I love you) seems to be used quite frequently.

Dating sites (http://www.520.com/) & areas of rampant consumerism (http://www.iloveyou.com.cn/) are just two examples.





message 47: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) Matthew wrote: "Let's start with Chinese:

我爱你。(I love you) seems to be used quite frequently.

Dating sites (http://www.520.com/) & areas of rampant consumerism (http://www.iloveyou.com.cn/) are just two example..."


To the extent I can guess the meaning of the Chinese characters from their resemblance to Japanese ones, it's just literally "I love you"?

But how it is used? What are the conventions? Under what circumstances do people say it, how does the other person interpret it, and how do they typically respond? Is it similar to the model in English and many European languages, or are there important differences?

Having seen that Japanese appears to be genuinely different, I think we'd be wise not to take anything for granted...



message 48: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) I am collecting the examples at http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/3...

More please! And in particular, data for other languages will be very welcome. I loved Yukie's stuff about Japanese.



message 49: by Manny (last edited Jan 27, 2009 01:41AM) (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) From Christer Kihlman's Dyre Prins, a seriously underrated Finnish/Swedish novel. The narrator, not a nice person by any stretch of the imagination, is on a business trip, goes to one of his favorite sleazy night-clubs, and picks up a prostitute. They go back to her place, and spend the weekend there. They find that they get on remarkably well. The sex is great, and, even more surprisingly, they really like each other. Sometime towards the end of the weekend, she suddenly turns to him, and has an unusual question. She wants to know how much he'll pay to have her say she loves him. She says bitterly that, if they were married, she'd say it all the time. But he's paying her by the hour, so he has to pay for that too.

He thinks about it for a moment, then he takes out a thousand-kronor bill, which at that time would represent about a week's salary for a normal person. She crumples it up and throws it into the corner of the room. He knows that she will smooth it out later. Then she says over and over again that she loves him, with "a passion and a burning sincerity that he has never heard before or since".


message 50: by Manny (new)

Manny (mannyrayner) In Lost in Austen, Amanda has just had a very painful conversation with Darcy. All is, apparently, lost. As she walks away, we hear her silent thoughts in the voice-over: "I love you. I love you. I love you..."

By the way: if you like Pride and Prejudice at all, you really should consider seeing this. It's a wonderful piece of homage, done with exactly the right amount of respect for the original. Available on DVD.



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