Querer and amar. What's the difference
I'm sure one refers to romantic love, the other to love of family members or love of country. Am I right? And which is which?
In Spain "Te quiero" is the most common sentence (and that's too much romanticism for some) for lovers, wives and the like. "Te amo" sounds to most people in my country like a cheesy romantic novel, and they normally avoid it. The verb "amar" gives the feeling that you are about to use very profound words, and probably make a sonet out of it. This is probably different in other countries.
You also say "Te quiero" to your parents when you are feeling very sentimental (or drunk).
James' explanation is quite good in general, but let me add a few things: "amar" is also your native country, along with "querer", but in a more profond way. Sometimes it is used with arts, foods, nature,... again, when it expresses a deep love for any of these things.
I get the point, in more than one way, haha... Though, it sounds nice, te amo, in the profound and poetic way for a creative, artistic person like me...but anyways, a cultural choice it is. Very important to know. As in english, danish only has one word for 'love' - very simple, either you love someone or not.
It's a bit funny...
When you use a internet translation-tool
from english (or any other language) to spanish:
I love you --> te quiero, never te amo
from spanish to english:
te quiero --> often: I want you - some translates: I love you
te amo --> I love you
In movies and "here and there" I've always heard and learned Te quiero is 'I love you' in spanish. Te amo is in general not used at all? Or only in private with your significant other (as in not saying it out loud while others can hear it? hehe...)
- well, lazarus is a faster typer (or thinker) than me, so I got my answer to this last part
Thanks you guys!! Just reading your discussion has helped me.
Of course, context and non-verbal communication often say more than words. And in this case, the context of learning about spanish culture adds more to it. Just in that sence, I find it giving to discuss.
Seeing it from a foreigners point of view - the word 'querer': want, will; wish; like; feel like; desire. All very nice 'good-feeling' meanings, but to me, in my understanding of 'love' as a word and in cultural references(danish), none of them have the meaning 'love', considering a relationship. But you are right, those other words/meanings/ways of putting it (can) express love, no doubt.
There is nothing wrong with "Te amo", except for it is avoided in Spain for romantic love, unless you want to exaggerate or pretend to be a poet. However, this verb is accepted (but still very deep), nevertheless, for some noble or high concepts and values.
For many Spanish men (from Spain), the sentence "Te quiero" to a lover or wife is often considered as a very deep way to express ultimate love (even though "te amo" goes even beyond that). I don't think "Te amo" is used even in private for this.
So how do you say, "I love you"? to a lover or wife'
I knew you would come through for me.
Querer has a broader meaning. It can be used for a lover, children, parents, a pet, etc. Amar is mainly used for romantic love.
My point is:
The word 'querer': want, will; wish; like; feel like; desire - and then translated into danish, with it's definitions and meanings of those words - no, it doesn't mean 'to love'. And cultural, to say 'i love you' in danish, one would you use the verb 'love', which according to the dictionaries fits with 'amar', but with the spanish cultural understanding 'querer'.
So I was refering to the linguistic and cultural meaning of the word 'love' in my, the danish culture.
Yes, all those words (want, will, desire, etc.) in itself, linguistically, doesn't mean 'to love' - but of course, put in a context, they sure can express love. Just like a touch or a look can express it.
- love is so much more than (just) words, love is in your actions. If your actions don't express your love, then what is the word 'love' worth''!
Dont' forget that, even though some languages may have only one word for it, "love" is probably the word with the most number of definitions in the world, if you ask one person at a time. We're not talking maths here. Even in English, if you consider nuances and contexts, the world love could easily be split into dozens of other sub-words, each one focussing on one aspect of the concept. Words mean very little without a context, an intonation, and a background reference... regardless of the language.