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A word for a very specific--and complex--human relationship
Thread poster: xxxalohajerseyg
xxxalohajerseyg
English
Dec 16, 2007

I am a fiction writer, and I'm looking for a word that, as far as I know, does not exist in the English language. I'd love to know if anyone knows of a foreign word for a particular type of relationship. This is a student-teacher relationship in which the teacher is much older, perhaps even a parent figure to the student. The two become friends and lovers, perhaps even marrying. I'm not talking about pedophilia here or molestation. These are two people above the age of consent. Is there a word for this? I think it's so taboo in English-speaking cultures that we don't even have a word for it. But perhaps other languages are a bit less prudish? Any help offered is appreciated.

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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 13:17
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Isn't it called love? Dec 16, 2007

alohajerseygirl wrote:

... This is a student-teacher relationship in which the teacher is much older, perhaps even a parent figure to the student. The two become friends and lovers, perhaps even marrying. I'm not talking about pedophilia here or molestation. These are two people above the age of consent. Is there a word for this? I think it's so taboo in English-speaking cultures that we don't even have a word for it. But perhaps other languages are a bit less prudish? Any help offered is appreciated.


Hi,
I don't know any special word for this and I wonder if any special word is really needed: isn't it just love (between 2 adults)?

I also doubt about it being a taboo - first, taboos typically have *many* different words describing it (e.g. homosexual relationships), second - it was actually never uncommon or unaccepted, I think, to the contrary, you will probably find many famous professors married to their students, assistants, etc. In the history books there are plenty teenage princesses becoming queens by marrying a king in the age of their fathers.

Magda

[Edited at 2007-12-17 00:57]


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Juliana Starkman  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
If part of the taboo is the age difference Dec 16, 2007

you could refer to a "May-December" relationship, but that doesn't address the teacher-student aspect...

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xxxalohajerseyg
English
TOPIC STARTER
No, not just love Dec 16, 2007

I'm looking for something much more specific than just "love." I was hoping there might be just one word for it. This is a complex type of love. A father-daughter or mother-son feeling mixed with the professional teacher-student relationship and the sexual attraction and intimacy all rolled into one. Maybe there is no word for it.

And yes, May-December is close, but that does just refer to the age and not the rest of it.

Thank you both for your replies.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not one word Dec 17, 2007

I do not think the lack of a single word reflects any taboo; I know various real-life cases, and at least one of them is very famous.

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xxxalohajerseyg
English
TOPIC STARTER
Not a taboo Dec 17, 2007

Okay, a couple of you make a good point. Perhaps it has nothing to do with taboo. I was just musing. The main question is, does anyone know of a word or even expression for this?
Thanks!


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 08:17
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Don't miss this Dec 17, 2007

I'm not precisely thinking of "the" word to name it... but the feelings awakened by this novel I happened to read in my teens are more than revealing. Tim: A love between a mature woman and a childlike man, which in its essence resembles the asked example of a teacher and a pupil. When reading this novel, you never get the feeling that what you are reading is "bad", "impure" or "undesirable".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colleen_McCullough
Her writing career began with the novel Tim (which was made into a movie starring Mel Gibson and Piper Laurie).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080024/
Tim is a young man with below average intelligence. He works as a builder's labourer, and is often taken advantage of by his fellow workers and other people. Mary asks Tim to work around her yard for a day. The day stretches into a few weekends, and the two soon become good friends. Some people, however, are suspicious of their friendship which seems to be continually strengthening, accusing Mary of taking advantage of Tim's innocence. Will changing circumstances in Tim's family life change his relationship with Mary?


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xxxalohajerseyg
English
TOPIC STARTER
Tim Dec 17, 2007

That's interesting. I read The Thorn Birds many years ago, but I hadn't heard of Tim. That's sort of the idea I'm getting at. I still need a word, though!
Thanks for sharing!


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 08:17
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Looking for further inspiration Dec 17, 2007

GoodWords wrote:
I do not think the lack of a single word reflects any taboo; I know various real-life cases, and at least one of them is very famous.

Look if some of these words (I put them in black) are inspiring:
http://www.booksandcollectibles.com.au/book.php3?book_id=215441051&&PHPSESSID=25b808a76db642388d97d07d9334e8f0
Colleen McCullough
Tim
Pan 1978 Paperback Good Mary is a middle aged spinster with a successful career and financial security. With all of the trappings of her success she feels that her life is quite satisfactory and she has no desire to have her perfectly organised life disrupted by a relationship. Then, through chance, she meets a young labourer whose phyisical beauty appears unmarred by the experiences of the modern world. It is only when Mary gets to know Tim that she realises why. For all his beauty, Tim is simple. Although they are worlds apart in age, background and intelligence, Mary and Tim discover a love that transcends convention and prejudice. Colleen McCullough has taken a controversial subject and turned it into one of the most beautifully written and moving love stories of our time. Absolutely wonderful!


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 07:17
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
An Oedipal complex? Dec 17, 2007

Are you talking about that? The Electra complex for girls.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_complex
http://psychology.about.com/od/oindex/g/def_oedipuscomp.htm

In this case, these feelings are transferred to the parent substitute, i.e., the teacher. Maybe a little research in that are might be of help?

Nancy


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xxxalohajerseyg
English
TOPIC STARTER
Not Oedipal/Electra complex Dec 17, 2007

No, that's not it. Sigh. This is more difficult than I hoped. It's not any one aspect by itself. It's the whole thing rolled into one. It's the mixing of different types of relationships together.

For instance, a teacher could say, "This student is like a son to me." The student could say, "She is like a mother to me." But then add to this romantic love. That's not motherly/fatherly. Add sex. Definitely not motherly/fatherly. And there is friendship there too, which transcends the teacher/student thing. It's not a pathology or a stage of growth like the Oedipal complex. It's something else entirely.

Maybe there isn't a word for this in any language. I just hoped someone would say, "Oh, yes! Romantic love between older teachers and younger students has a name in X language." BUt perhaps not.

Thanks for all who are trying!


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 19:17
English to Chinese
+ ...
Cet amour-là Dec 17, 2007

Are you talking about such relationship between Marguerite Duras and Yann Andréa Steiner? Well, there isn't a word in all the languages I happen to have learned. That might be the reason why Yann Andréa chose the word "amour-là" for it.

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xxxalohajerseyg
English
TOPIC STARTER
Amor-la Dec 17, 2007

That's interesting. I don't know anything about Duras' life, so this relationship is unfamiliar to me. What's the literal translation of "Amor-la"? Can you tell me any more about their relationship?
Thanks!


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:17
German to English
+ ...
Mentor-love Dec 17, 2007

Seem to be quite a few Google hits for "mentor-love"

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Michael Deliso  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
Italian to English
+ ...
a morbid relation?? Dec 17, 2007

I don't know if this term would fit. It all depends on what level and meaning you are giving the novel.

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