I love gardening.
I love my family.
I also love chocolate, and cute pictures of cats, and my mentor. I love my husband. I love rainy days.
If the Inuit can have 117 words for snow, why can’t we get a couple more nuances on “love?”
I don’t “love” all of these things in the same way, after all. Sexual love, marital love, filial love, parental love. I love my aunt and my mother, but not in the same way or to the same degree. My love for chocolate cannot really be compared to my love for my children. (Okay, bad example. Some days it really can.)
We have words that describe the emotions up to love (to cut and paste from the thesaurus): affection, esteem, fondness; liking; inclination; regard, dilection, admiration, fancy, affection, sympathy, fellow-feeling; tenderness; heart, brotherly love; benevolence; attachment, yearning, gallantry, passion, flame, devotion, fervor, enthusiasm, enchantment, infatuation, adoration, idolatry.
And I suppose I could start using these, let’s see: I fancy gardening. I love my family, I adore my husband, I am benevolent towards chocolate.
Not working for me.
Greek does it a little better: eros, agape, philia, storgos (roughly sexual love, charity or social love, familial love, affection). And in fact, the western languages grabbed two of them as modifiers– erotic love, filial love.
But I don’t want to “modify” my loves– I want them to have their own words. I mean, seriously, chocolate deserves at least that much.