Thursday, November 17, 2005

Terms of Endearment

A few weeks ago we were eating lunch with a mixed group of expats and Albanians and near the end of the meal I said something like "Ok honey, I think we should be going now". One of the Albanian men turned to me and said "You know, it's sad but we really don't use those kind of words in Albanian". I was a bit puzzled but then he explained it to me. Apparently Albanians rarely use words like honey, dear, or sweetie. I also read recently that there is no word for love in this language. I'm not sure if that's true. I know there is a word that I hear a lot which is related to things of love and it is 'dashur', related to the verb 'do'. Dashur means wanted, desired, liked or loved, and 'do' means to want or to need. I've looked it up in my Albanian dictionary and there is something a bit strange about it. Several of the phrases listed under 'do' have to do with wanting something in a bad way.

Here are some examples:
E do me dru= to want it (a blow)(to one's head) with a thick stick, which means to be asking for severe punishment.
E do me kobure= to need a gun to one's head, meaning to need to be shown force.
E do me myke= to want a blow to one's head with a blunt instrument (you get the meaning)
and lastly... do qofte, and here's a phrase I love "to want it like a meatball"!

So you can see that this little word 'do' (pronounced DOE), isn't really the word I'd use if I loved someone. Two sweet Albanian girls were recently trying to teach me some Albanian and they said "when your husband comes home you should say "hello dashuri", and everytime I repeated the word they giggled and giggled. At the time I had no idea why they reacted like that, but now I do. Albanians just don't say sweet things to each other, especially not to those they do love.

Now my sweet Albanian readers, I invite you to shed some light on this subject!

8 comments:

ITS said...

God, there are so many misconceptions with this post, I don't know where to begin the clarification process.

Well, I do know where to begin. You should find some better Albanian friends, and better Albanian language teachers besides the two giggly girls.

There so many "sweet" words that only loved ones are addressed with, such as "shpirt, zemer, rrush, e dashur". So the guy who claimed that there aren't such metaphors was either really drunk after dinner, or an idiot. (pardon my French)

There are completely two different verbs. Te duash- To want. First meaning. I want some bread - Dua buke, The second meaning is more in the sense of love - E dua vendin tim (I love my country). However this could be used in the sense of platonic love and a romantic one as well.

Te Dashurosh = to Love – conjugated:
Une dashuroj,
ti dashuron,
ai-ajo dashuron,
Ne dashurojme,
Ju Dashuroni,
Ata ato dashurojne

This verb it's only used to express loving somebody that you are romantically involved with. I would say that here we have CLEAR CUT winner opposed to the English version of the verb. After all, in English you use the same word to indicate that you LOVE sausage pizza, as well as you LOVE your significant other. -- So there Albanian Language 1 - English Language 0.

Which brings me to my last point. Albanian is a very ancient and powerful language. It carries a tremendous amount of expressionism. The only problem is that most people are oblivious to the richness of the language, including most Albanians (the guy you had dinner with and the two giggly girls).

So there, it's 2 a.m. in Canada and I am going to bed, eh? (Why is everything a question in Canadian language, eh? It’s because of national insecurity, eh?)

Cynthia Rae said...

You made me laugh its! I am always joking about the "eh" at the end of the Canadian sentence. I told my husband (who is Italian) that if he was to sound Canadian while speaking English just say eh at the end (hehehehe just a joke of course).

Good luck Kim! If you need to borrow some "kind words" you can use tesoro, carino or amore mio (I love the Italian language)!

Cyn

traveller one said...

I knew I could count on you ITS to clear things up for me :-)
Good boy!

Róka said...

Hi,

Thanks for the input:

http://www.expatanchor.net/2005/11/23/expatanchor-blog-digest-week-46-central-european-edition/

Dezso

Anonymous said...

Albanains do use the lovely terms to describe thier partner.

Such as 'O shpirt o zemra te dua shume'- I love u wit all my heart and soul.

A simple way of saying 'i love you' woud be 'te dua'. If u want to tell sum1 you love them very much u would say 'te dua shume'.

sweet_princess190 said...

Te dua shume
Un vdes per ty
Te kam shpirt
Te kam zemer

Dzhess'ei T'va'katra said...

"Unë vdes për ty" is "I die for you". Very strong words. The "të kam xyz" construct is roughly "I have you, my xyz". Shpirt is soul or spirit. Zemër is heart. Xhan is sweetheart. I'll a saying of my own: Të dashurofsha për gjithmonë. May I love you forever. Another version of that statement would be: dashurofshim për gjithmonë. May we love forever. The first is directed to the listener, while the second refers to both speaker and listener. The optative is different from the indicative, but with the structure of statement, a wish is better than a statement of fact. At least in my mind, so you are welcome to dispute it. In the indicative present or future, it also makes sense. The indicative present for the two statements is të dashuroj or dashurojmë. The indicative future would be do të të dashuroj or do të dashurojmë. Unë shpresoj fjala e mia ju ndihmonin! (I hope my words help you!)

PS: my Albanian is not perfect, I am learning.

Dzhess'ei T'va'katra said...

"Unë vdes për ty" is "I die for you". Very strong words. The "të kam xyz" construct is roughly "I have you, my xyz". Shpirt is soul or spirit. Zemër is heart. Xhan is sweetheart. I'll a saying of my own: Të dashurofsha për gjithmonë. May I love you forever. Another version of that statement would be: dashurofshim për gjithmonë. May we love forever. The first is directed to the listener, while the second refers to both speaker and listener. The optative is different from the indicative, but with the structure of statement, a wish is better than a statement of fact. At least in my mind, so you are welcome to dispute it. In the indicative present or future, it also makes sense. The indicative present for the two statements is të dashuroj or dashurojmë. The indicative future would be do të të dashuroj or do të dashurojmë. Unë shpresoj fjala e mia ju ndihmonin! (I hope my words help you!)

PS: my Albanian is not perfect, I am learning.