The French have a reputation for romance. While it is a stereotype, it is one that the people of France rarely deny. So it might surprise you to learn that French lovers don’t often say “I love you” (“je t’aime”). Oh yeah, they communicate the sentiment in a lot of other ways, but those words don’t come easy.
The French don’t say, “I love you” because they don’t have a verb to express heartfelt sentiments for the people they care about. There is only the verb “aimer”, which means both “to like” and “to love”. As a result, a French person is not exaggerating when they conjugate “aimer” to explain their relationship to rugby, a warm baguette or the smell of lilacs. Naturally, then, it feels trite and rather mundane to use the same word when describing intense feelings of love for one’s newborn baby, a childhood friend or a life partner.
The upshot is that the language is insufficient to express the true depths of love. That sounds sweet, but why don’t they come up with words that are sufficient? Maybe because the French know that actions speak louder than words. And there are still plenty of other words that hint at true love, too. Read more at BBC Travel.
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