Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Language of Love

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I had the pleasure this week to hear the beautiful voice of Dietrich Fischer-Diskau on the radio singing Lieder.  Then I heard him sing something of which 90% of the words were, "Ich liebe dich"  which he pronounced, "Ish.."  When I learnt German at school, we were taught the more gutteral pronunciation which I am afraid I much prefer although it does remind me what a hard-sounding language German is to a non-German ear, especially the language of love.  How much more soft and gentle does, "Je t'aime," or "I love you" sound to you?  But then, if I were German, "Ich/Ish liebe dich", would be music to my ears. I wouldn't mind finding out how the endearment sounds in all sorts of other languages. It would be interesting to hear which sound rough and which more caressing to the ear. Perhaps though it's all in the eyes and tone of voice and body language rather than the words themselves.


  1. Nice words in any language, of course.

  2. Interesting quest. I have had similar desires but usually involving obscenities. Google or Bing translation is a lovely thing.

    But yes you are right, it would be interesting to have collection of aural "I love you"s in all different languages spoken in earnest by both male and female voices. I wonder if there is a common pattern?

    According to Radiolab, there is a common speech pattern in mothers speaking to their infant children. Even though the languages are different, the tone of voice is the same. Quite fascinating:

    The above segment is a podcast 25 minutes long, but the discussion of infant responding to a common melodic tone verses specific language is within the first few minutes.

    So I wonder are we all programmed to hear a certain melody in the various ways of saying I love you through out the world. Do we respond more to the musicality of our love's voice more so than the actual words? Is there a commonality in the human language of love?

    I have some Irish folk music sang in Gallic and I also have the music of Hildegarde Von Bingen sang in vulgarite Latin. Don't have a clue of what is actually being sang but the lyricisms in the women's voices are very beautiful and the meaning of the words are quite unnecessary.