Losing the Language of ‘Us’


Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but love shouldn’t be sequestered to one measly day. So, bring on the love. This week the World in Words goes down several Internet wormholes to explore the intersection of love and language.

[[entity_id:"84678" entity_type:"node" entity_title:"World in Words Subscribe (StoryAct)"]]

In this episode, Patrick Cox goes on a musical quest to find the most beautiful Danish love song. And Nina Porzucki speaks with linguist and romance novelist Julie Tetel Andresen about her theory on why love and language at their very heart (pun intended) are driven by the same human need. Finally, writer Virge Randall shares her very personal story of losing love and subsequently a very unique and exclusive language.

Any couple develops a shorthand, a series of in-jokes, Randall says. For their 30 years of life together, they used their own terms, like "do an Uncle Joe." "Uncle Joe was a very forthright guy," Randall says. One time her Uncle Joe told them, "You gotta be willing to lose an argument."

They remembered that when an argument would go on — and it was a signal to move on.

Listen to this heartfelt episode the week after Valentine’s Day. Come spend some quality time with us. 

Podcast Contents:

00:00 Dr. Gary Chapman and the 5 Love Languages

00:32 “Schmictionary” by Quarterbacks

1:36 Dr. Gary Chapman’s positive attitude towards multilingualism

2:00 Take Chapman’s Love Language Quiz

2:51 Patrick Cox admits that he loves to talk about romance

3:04 “I’m romantic,” declares Patrick

3:24 Patrick’s explains his obsession with what makes music romantic

4:00 Nina Porzucki on the first language that she fell in love with, Spanish

4:35 Which language is more beautiful, Spanish or Portuguese?  “Ilusión” sung by Julieta Venegas and Marisa Monte

7:07 Patrick set himself the task of finding a beautiful song in a language considered “ugly.”  Patrick trolls internet forums about the world’s ugliest language.

9:08 The internet judges the Danish language

9:32 “Gå gå” by Daimi

10:14 Patrick on the language that he fell in love with, Danish

11:45 An ode to soda love. “Faxe Kondi” by Klumben and Raske Penge

14:09 Patrick turns to Danish wedding planning sites to find the most perfect Danish love song 

15:03 “Uden Forsvar” by Marie Key

17:55 Meet Julie Tetel Andresen, linguist and romance novelist

18:38 Andresen’s theory on the connection between love and language

20:00 What happens when you lose love and subsequently lose a language?

20:20 Virge Randall wrote the essay “Losing the Language of Love” for the online journal Narratively about the death of her husband Michael and losing their language 

21:31 Defining the “Language of Us”

22:54 Defining the term, “do an Uncle Joe”

24:00 Michael was a Renaissance man, a snappy dresser, a computer enthusiast before computers were cool

24:29 When Michael got sick, one phrase became important shorthand: “Just a bump in the road”

26:36 After Michael died Virge continued to speak and hear their language.

27:44 Virge fears losing the “Language of Us”

28:20 “The In Crowd” by Dobie Gray 

Music Heard in the Podcast:

Schmictionary” by Quarterbacks

Days of Our Lives” Theme Song

“Ilusión” sung by Julieta Venegas and Marisa Monte


“Gå gå” by Daimi 


“Faxe Kondi” by Klumben and Raske Penge


"Uden Forsvar" by Marie Key 


“The In-Crowd” by Dobie Gray


You can follow The World in Words stories on Facebook or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Invest in global news with heart!

The World is a nonprofit newsroom powered by listener support. When you make a recurring gift, you’re making an investment that allows The World to cover the most important international stories with nuance and care. Our listeners are at the heart of what makes The World such an invaluable source for global news. Will you create a recurring donation today to power The World all year long?