Show some love: How different cultures say "I love you" (2023)

Learning how to say “I love you” in another language is not always as simple as translating the phrase and practicing its pronunciation. Like much of language learning, culture plays an immense part in knowing how to put what you’ve learned into practice. Now add in the very complex matter of love, and we’ve got a lot to navigate!

Show some love: How different cultures say "I love you" (1)

Is "love" a universal language?

In English, we use the verb love to express our fondness for practically anything. I can say that I “love” my new boots just as I can say that I “love” my mother. Though the language used here is the same, English speakers can infer that the love I have for my newly purchased footwear probably pales in comparison to the love I have for the woman who raised me. We might only have one verb for “love” in English, but we can also express intensity by playing with grammar (I’m loving my new boots!) or reducing the phrase (Love ya!). As is often the case with language, what works in English doesn’t necessarily, well, translate to other cultures.

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In Spanish, there are two main ways someone might declare their love. There is “te amo,” which uses the verb “amar” which means “to love,” and there is “te quiero,” which uses the verb “querer,” which technically translates to “to want.” While “te quiero” can be used more widely, with significant others, friends, and family, “te amo” is a deeper, more intense, often romantic love, and this phrase might be saved for one’s spouse or significant other. If you’re sending out Valentine’s texts this year, instead of writing ILYSM (“I love you so much”), you might want to try tqm, which stands for “te quiero mucho.”

Now, let’s consider three kinds of love! In Japanese, a speaker might use 好き (suki) the way we use “love” in English– to describe a favorite meal, a significant other, or maybe a favorite musician. But 恋 (koi) is more strictly used for romantic relationships, and is commonly used to describe a crush or more selfish kind of love that may one day develop into 愛(ai). This more mature love, 愛(ai), is used to describe love for others, like the love one has for a significant other, friends or family.

Japanese speakers might prefer to use 好きだ (suki da) “I like you” over the more weighty 愛してる(ai shiteru). Similarly in Mandarin, some might be hesitant to declare 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ), or “I love you,” and find themselves more comfortable expressing love in a more reserved way with 我喜欢你 (wǒ xǐhuan nǐ), which also means “I like you.” But younger generations may feel more comfortable saying 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ) these days. This is a great example of how language usage changes over time!

In China, instead of presenting a loved one with a thick red envelope stuffed with cash, a tradition known as 紅包 (hóngbāo), people are now sending digitized versions of red envelopes to their loved ones. The amount of money given is often a significant number, such as 520, which has a pronunciation similar to “I love you,” in Mandarin.

(Video) Culture Of Love - Mayestra

Other ways to show love

But you don’t always need to say “I love you” to express your love. In Russia, parents might not say “I love you” as often as American parents might, but they show their love and affection by adding diminutives to the ending of their children’s names. So Анна (Anna) might be called Аня (Anya) by her friends, but Аннечка (Annechka) by her mother, this endearing "chka" being commonly used for small children. Spouses in Korea might not use each other’s first names but prefer the term 여보 (yeobo) which means something similar to “honey” or “darling.” And sometimes even an emoji can do. A simple ❤️ in a text can say “thinking of you!” And that is often just the thing we need.

How to say “I love you” in other languages

There are so many ways to say “I love you” this Valentine’s Day. Take a look at some common translations below!

Language"I love you"
Arabicأحبك
Bengaliআমি তোমাকে ভালবাসি
Chinese我爱你
FinnishMinä rakastan sinua
FrenchJe t'aime
GermanIch liebe dich
GreekΣ'αγαπώ
HungarianSzeretlek
IndonesianAku mencintaimu
IrishIs tú mo ghrá
Japanese愛してる
Korean사랑해
PolishKocham cię
PortugueseEu te amo
RussianЯ люблю тебя
SpanishTe amo
SwahiliNakupenda
TagalogMahal kita
Thaiฉันรักคุณ
TurkishSeni seviyorum
Urduمیں تم سے پیار کرتا ہوں
Yiddishאיך האָב דיך ליב

Of course, there are many more ways to say “I love you.” How do you show, or tell, people that you love them?

Español: Hay amor en cada idioma

(Video) Jesus Culture - Love Has A Name (Live) ft. Kim Walker-Smith

Aprender a decir “te amo” en otro idioma no siempre es tan simple como traducir una frase y practicar su pronunciación. Tal como sucede con varios aspectos del aprendizaje de idiomas, la cultura juega un papel central a la hora de entender cómo poner en práctica lo que aprendiste. Si además sumamos el complejo tema del amor, ¡tenemos mucho que tener en cuenta!

Show some love: How different cultures say "I love you" (2)

¿Es el amor el idioma universal?

En español hay dos formas principales de declarar nuestro amor. Tenemos “Te amo”, que usa el verbo “amar” y “Te quiero”, que usa el verbo querer. Mientras que “Te quiero” puede usarse más ampliamente, para referirse otros, a amigos y familiares, “Te amo” tiene un significado más intenso, en general ligado al amor romántico, y es por eso que algunas personas podrían reservar esta frase para su pareja o persona especial.

Tal como sucede en los idiomas, lo que funciona en español no necesariamente se traduce bien en otras culturas. En inglés se usa el verbo love (amar) para expresar el cariño para prácticamente todo. Puedes decir que “amas” tus nuevas botas de la misma forma que dirías “amo a mi mamá”. A pesar de que el idioma que se usa es el mismo, los hablantes de inglés pueden darse cuenta de que el amor que siento por mi nuevo calzado probablemente palidece en comparación con el amor que siento por la mujer que me crió. Quizás el inglés solo tenga el verbo “love”, pero también puede expresar diferentes grados de intensidad al jugar con la gramática (“I’m loving my new boots”, es decir, “Amo mis botas nuevas”) o al acortar la frase (“Love ya!”, “¡Te amo!”). Tal como sucede con los idiomas, lo que funciona en inglés no necesariamente se traduce bien en otras culturas. Si vas a enviar un mensaje de San Valentín este año, en lugar de decir TQM ("Te quiero mucho"), ¿qué tal si escribes ILYSM ("I love you so much")?

(Video) Unstoppable Love (Lyric Video) - Jesus Culture feat. Kim Walker-Smith - Jesus Culture Music

¡Ahora veamos tres diferentes tipos de amor! En japonés, un hablante podría usar 好き (suki) tal como se usa “love” en inglés: para describir nuestra comida favorita, a nuestra persona especial o quizás a nuestro músico favorito. Por otro lado, 恋 (koi) se usa más estrictamente para relaciones románticas y suele ser utilizado para hablar de un amor no correspondido que podría algún día convertirse en 愛(ai). Este amor más maduro, 愛(ai), es el que se usa para describir el amor por otros, como el amor que uno siente por una persona especial, familiares o amigos.

Es posible que los hablantes de japonés prefieran utilizar 好きだ (suki da) “Te quiero” en lugar del más serio 愛してる(ai shiteru). Algo similar pasa con el mandarín, ya que muchos podrían dudar entre usar 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ), “Te amo”, o una forma más reservada de expresar su amor, 我喜欢你 (wǒ xǐhuan nǐ), que también significa “Te quiero”. Sin embargo, estos días es posible que las personas de las generaciones más jóvenes expresen 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ) con más comodidad. ¡Este es un gran ejemplo de cómo cambia el uso del idioma con el tiempo!

En China, en lugar de darle a tu amado o amada un gran sobre rojo lleno de dinero, siguiendo la tradición del 紅包 (hóngbāo), hoy en día las personas envían a sus amados versiones digitalizadas de esos sobres rojos. El monto de dinero que se envían suele ser un número importante, como 520, que en mandarín tiene una pronunciación similar a “Te amo”.

Otras maneras de expresar amor

No siempre necesitas decir “Te amo” para expresar tu amor. En Rusia, quizás los padres no dicen “Te amo” con tanta frecuencia como en tu país, pero demuestran su amor y cariño añadiendo diminutivos a los nombres de sus hijos. De esta forma, Анна (Anna) podría ser Аня (Anya) para sus amigos, pero su madre le podría decir Аннечка (Annechka). Ese "chka" es un diminutivo utilizado con frecuencia para niños pequeños. Las parejas en corea quizás no usen sus primeros nombres, sino que pueden preferir el término 여보 (yeobo), similar a “cariño”. ¡Otras veces, incluso un emoji alcanza! Un ❤️ en un mensaje puede decir “¡Estoy pensando en ti!” y muchas veces eso es justo lo que necesitamos.

(Video) USA vs Europe - Love Culture

Cómo decir “Te amo” en todo el mundo

¡Hay tantas formas de decir “Te amo” este Día de San Valentín! Estas son algunas de las traducciones más comunes:

Idioma"Te amo"
AlemánIch liebe dich
Árabeأحبك
Chino我爱你
Coreano사랑해
FinésMinä rakastan sinua
FrancésJe t'aime
GriegoΣ'αγαπώ
HúngaroSzeretlek
IndonesioAku mencintaimu
InglésI love you
IrlandésIs tú mo ghrá
Japonés愛してる
PolacoKocham cię
PortuguésEu te amo
RusoЯ люблю тебя
SwahiliNakupenda
TurcoSeni seviyorum
Yiddishאיך האָב דיך ליב

Por supuesto, hay muchas formas más de decir “Te amo”. ¿Y tú? ¿Cómo demuestras o dices a alguien que lo amas?

FAQs

How do you say I love you in different cultures? ›

Here's a list of ways to say “I love you” in different languages
  1. French. Je t'aime. (I love you.) ...
  2. Italian. Ti amo. ...
  3. Chinese (Mandarin) 我爱你 [Wǒ ài nǐ ] (I love you.)
  4. German. Ich liebe dich. ...
  5. Japanese. 愛してる [Aishiteru] (I love you. ...
  6. Korean. 사랑해요 [Saranghaeyo] (I love you.)
  7. Polish. Kocham Cię. ...
  8. Portuguese. Eu te amo (I love you.)
Feb 8, 2023

How do other countries say I love you? ›

How to say “I love you” in other languages
Language"I love you"
FrenchJe t'aime
GermanIch liebe dich
GreekΣ'αγαπώ
HungarianSzeretlek
18 more rows
Feb 10, 2022

How do you say I love you in 15 different languages? ›

Contents
  1. French: Je t'aime.
  2. Spanish: Te amo.
  3. German: Ich liebe Dich.
  4. Chinese: 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ)
  5. Japanese: 愛してる (aishi teru)
  6. Korean: 사랑해 (saranghae)
  7. Arabic: ٲنَا بحِبَّك (ana bahebak)
  8. Hindi: मैं तुमसे प्यार करता हुँ (main tumse pyar karta hoon)
Dec 28, 2022

How do you say I love you in 20 different languages? ›

How To Say 'I Love You' in 20 Different Languages
  1. Afrikaans: Ek het jou life.
  2. Bulgarian: Obicham te.
  3. Mandarin: Wo ai ni.
  4. Czech: Miluji te.
  5. Danish: Jeg Elsker Dig.
  6. Dutch: Ik hou van jou.
  7. Finnish: Mina rakastan sinua.
  8. French: Je t'aime.

How can you show your love to your culture? ›

Embrace your country's art, culture and values. Listen to local music and watch local movies. Make it a priority to visit your own country's destinations before traveling to other countries. Youth can also teach and encourage children to love and respect their countries, in order to grow their national pride.

What is I love you in Africa? ›

Ways to Say “I Love You” in Africa

If you want to say “I love you” in Swahili, “nakupenda” is the word that you need.

What is the prettiest way to say I love you? ›

Cute Ways to Say “I Love You”
  • I'm crazy about you.
  • You're my dream come true.
  • You take my breath away.
  • Since you've been around I smile a lot more than I used to.
  • There is no one I'd rather steal blankets from.
  • You're my partner in crime.
  • You look great today and every day.
  • I'm jealous of people who get to see you every day.
Feb 10, 2014

How do you say I love you in 100 different languages? ›

(Judith Viorst, Author)
  1. Bambara: M'bi fe. Bengali: Ami tomake bhalobashi. (pronounced: Amee toe-ma-kee bhalo-bashee) ...
  2. Danish: Jeg Elsker Dig. Dutch: Ik hou van jou.
  3. Gaelic: Ta gra agam ort. Georgian: Mikvarhar. German: Ich liebe dich. ...
  4. Icelandic: Eg elska tig. Ilonggo: Palangga ko ikaw. Indonesian: Saya cinta padamu.

How do you say I love you without saying those words? ›

Nine Ways To Say I Love You
  1. I adore you. Happy anniversary, Cheryl. I adore you.
  2. You complete me. I'm so happy with you. You complete me.
  3. You fill my heart with love. Happy Valentine's Day! You fill my heart with love.
  4. You're everything to me. The past few months have been wonderful. ...
  5. I'm crazy about you.

How do you say I love you in 30 different languages? ›

So if you want to say that to your lover, you should definitely use “te amo”.
  1. I love you in Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou!
  2. I love you in Arabic: انا احبك! ...
  3. I love you in Bulgarian: Обичам те! ...
  4. I love you in Portuguese: Eu te amo!
  5. I love you in Czech: Miluji tě!
  6. I love you in Danish: Jeg elsker dig!
Feb 1, 2023

What is one word for love? ›

OTHER WORDS FOR love

1 tenderness, fondness, predilection, warmth, passion, adoration. 2 liking, inclination, regard, friendliness.

Do all cultures say I love you? ›

The phrase “I love you” is universally understood and used across all cultures, but how it's used, when, and in what context tends to vary widely.

What is the culture of love? ›

A culture of love is defined by leaders that empower their people by creating access to wisdom, tools, and processes necessary to succeed (or safely learn from mistakes).

How do you show someone you love the world? ›

you love them without saying anything.
  1. Be an Active Listener.
  2. Ask Your S.O. How They Are Doing.
  3. Don't Scroll and Talk.
  4. 4. Make Time for Them.
  5. Hang Out with Their Friends.
  6. Send Them Random Cute Messages.
  7. Leave a Love Note.
  8. Show Affection in Public.

How do Nigerians say I love you? ›

A Hurum Gi N'anya” loosely translates to “I love you” in Igbo, the principal native language of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria.

What is I love U in Ghana? ›

Me dɔ wo - I love you

Me (I) + dɔ (love) + wo (you). Note: The letter “ɔ” is unique to the Akan language. It is pronounced like a combination of the English “oh + uh.”

What is I love you in Zimbabwe? ›

Ndinokuda

What do British people call their love? ›

Spouses and long-term relationship darlings

'Dear' is the only real addition to the standard 'darling' that most couples will need, with perhaps a 'love' and a standard 'darling' thrown in here and there. Come the 60-year anniversary, many British couples are content with a few grunts over the breakfast tea and toast.

How do you say I love you in Canada? ›

Canadian French

Je t'aime.

How do you say I love you in secret code? ›

2. 143: I Love You. This one is easy. I (1) Love (4) You (3).

How do you say I love you in unique style? ›

There is something about you. I am scared to lose you because I know I will never find you in someone else. If I loved you lesser, I might have been able to talk about it more. If I had to pick the favorite moment of my life, I would pick the moment I first met you.

What is 143 in love? ›

What does 143 mean? 143 is code for I love you, especially used on pagers back in the 1990s.

How do you say I love you so much in other words? ›

Idiomatic Ways to Say I Love You

You have my heart. You mean the world to me. I'm crazy about you. I'm head over heels for you.

What language has the most love words? ›

Sanskrit has 96 words for love; ancient Persian has 80, Greek three, and English only one.

How do you show love in language? ›

What are the love languages? We all give and receive love in 5 different ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. These are called 'love languages' - a concept created by Dr. Gary Chapman through his long-time work as a marriage counsellor.

How do you say I love it in different ways in English? ›

  1. I enjoy it.
  2. I love it.
  3. I am passionate about it.
  4. I am fond of it.
  5. I am a fan of it.
  6. I am interested in it.
  7. I am into it.
Feb 7, 2023

How do you express deep love in words? ›

Deep Expressions and Words for Love
  1. I cherish you.
  2. I want a lifetime with you.
  3. I adore you.
  4. I am better because of you.
  5. I need you by my side.
  6. I cannot stop thinking about you.
  7. My love for you is unconditional and eternal.
  8. All of the good in my life is because of you.

What is the most romantic word for love? ›

- “Amour”, the French word for love, has been voted the most romantic word in the world in a pre-Valentine's Day survey of language experts.

What word is stronger than love? ›

Being enamored of something or with someone goes far beyond liking them, and it's even more flowery than love. Enamored means smitten with, or totally infatuated.

What is a deep love? ›

Deep love may be referred to as unconditional love or a soulmate connection. Although it can take time and effort to find this connection, it is often possible.

How do you say I love you in 100 languages? ›

(Judith Viorst, Author)
  1. Bambara: M'bi fe. Bengali: Ami tomake bhalobashi. (pronounced: Amee toe-ma-kee bhalo-bashee) ...
  2. Danish: Jeg Elsker Dig. Dutch: Ik hou van jou.
  3. Gaelic: Ta gra agam ort. Georgian: Mikvarhar. German: Ich liebe dich. ...
  4. Icelandic: Eg elska tig. Ilonggo: Palangga ko ikaw. Indonesian: Saya cinta padamu.

What is the most beautiful language to say I love you? ›

French. French is often considered to be the most romantic language in the world. It is another Romance language that originated from Latin.

Videos

1. Your Love Never Fails - Chris Quilala / Jesus Culture - Jesus Culture Music
(Jesus Culture)
2. Your Love Never Fails - Jesus Culture
(TheCommissioned)
3. Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationships ft. Frank Love (IKG WW - Dec. 2022)
(IKG Cultural Resource Center IKG)
4. How To Say " I Love You " From Different Countries With Voice
(Next Cool Comparison)
5. " I Love You " From Different Countries With Voice
(Pure Data Comparison )
6. It's Not the Tweet, It's the Humanity | Ep. 1120
(Andrew Klavan)
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