Is Spanish or English a more romantic language?
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 00:02
Imagine lying on the beach: the seagulls call in the background, the ocean breeze gently tickles your nose as the sun wraps its warm hands around your body. You have a lover sitting beside you; they lean over and breathlessly whisper “Te quiero” into your ear. Now imagine they said “I love you.” Which one sounds more romantic?
According to Mason Cooley, “Romance is tempestuous, love is calm.” Yet, how does one find either of these ever-elusive phenomena? Could it be in a smoke-filled, dimly-lit bar conveniently located near Taco Bell? Or, in a pair of red-hot stilettos with the pouty lips to match? No, better yet, chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate, right?
Maybe love is in the language we speak. Spanish, for some people, is thought of as an intensely passionate language. Perhaps that is why there are three couples—Jeana and Juan Ureña, Gabriela and José Recinos and Pedro and Annette Escamilla—all working within feet of each other in the Spanish department of SFA.
Kim Wells, a Spanish instructor at SFA, believes so. Wells was raised in Mexico and Guatemala and came to the U.S. at the age of 19. When she first started dating, she felt that American males were more work oriented and seemed less interested in her as a person.
“When people first introduce themselves in the U.S. they ask questions like ‘What do you do for a living?’ or ‘Where do you work?’ and this would typically be seen as rude in Latin America,” she said.
She pointed out that there tends to be more of a focus on accomplishments rather than emotions.
Wells also agrees that, generally, the Spanish culture is more romantic.
“It seems the people have more time for love, and there is beauty in that,” Wells said.
She believes that it is the expressiveness and open-mindedness of the language that lends to more expressive and open relationships.
“I admit that I do act differently between speaking Spanish and English,” Wells said. “English is just a harsher sounding language.”
However, Dr. Juan Carlos Ureña, assistant Spanish professor, believes that the Spanish language itself isn’t a factor in relationships.
“I don’t feel Spanish is more romantic than any other language,” Ureña said. “It could be the exotic aspect which makes people say that.”
Ureña, originally from Costa Rica, is married to a person of a completely different culture. Initially he and his wife, Dr. Jeana Paul-Ureña, had to communicate primarily with their feelings through various gestures since Juan spoke little English and Jeana spoke little Spanish.
“They are a great couple, they get along, and share interests both intellectually and conversationally,” Dr. José Neftalí Recinos, friend and colleague of the Ureñas, said.
Ureña attributes the success of his relationship not to his culture but to his ability to express and convey his feelings.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with language. It has to do with the couple,” Ureña said. “If you and that person have the capacity to love, then things are better.”
Ureña argued that the signs for love in the Spanish community are very similar to those in the U.S., meaning that across cultures people feel the love similarly.
However, he believes Latin Americans and Spaniards are “more open to talk about things related to their body” and are more direct in regards to expressing emotions.
Students can learn from other countries and incorporate their cultural differences to develop “an attitude toward fellow individuals that is good and passionate,” as Wells puts it. This could not only be useful in relationships, but in life in general.
One thing both Wells and Ureña agree on regarding love—in order to fully enjoy a relationship, people need to become open-minded and accepting of different cultures and experiences.