I love you, ich liebe dich, te quiero, je t‘ aime! The feeling is the same, however each language uses different words to express love.
Travel changes the world. We are more and more interconnected and cross-border love has been no rare phenomenon for a while now. Often enough, the new love paves the way for a new language, since what could be more beautiful than to be able to tell your partner ‘I love you’ in his or her native language?
Interested in learning how to say ‘I love you’ in different languages?
How different does ‘I love you’ sound in other languages?
In Hollywood movies, they like to refer to it as ‘the three magical words’: I love you. However, depending on which national language we are looking at, sometimes one expresses their love in one single ‘magical word’, so that in Zulu, for example, ‘I love you’ would be ‘Ngiyakuthanda’.
‘I love you’ in many languages – a lot of languages, a lot of confusion
‘I love you’ is not the same as ‘I love you’! While in some languages there is only one way to say ‘I love you’, no matter to whom or under which circumstances, in others things may get much more complicated. There are certain languages in which the way we say ‘I love you’ varies, depending on whether the context is a romantic one or whether it implies family, friends or a sexual dimension. Let us take German, for example: for family members and close friends one would use ‘ich hab dich lieb’, while ‘Ich liebe dich’ is almost exclusively used for partners.
Things can be different in many languages also depending on whether a man is expressing his love to a woman or a woman is the one expressing her love to a man or whether one expresses love to people of the same sex. For example, in Arabic, a woman would say ‘Ana behebak’, a man would say ‘Ana behebik’ and one would say ‘Benhibik’ when saying ‘I love you’ to someone of the same sex as themselves.
Indeed, saying ‘I love you’ in various languages can be pretty complicated! Things are different from one country to another not only with regards to how we say ‘I love you’, but also to when we say it. While for some cultures it is easier to verbalise it, in others it seems to take an eternity until love is being expressed for the very first time.
And then there are also languages like Luxembourgish, in which there exists such a noun as ‘love’ (Léift) and one can also be ‘in love’, however, there is no such verb as ‘to love’! So that the Luxembourgish language is being denied the chance to say ‘I love you’ word-for-word. One would rather declare his love along the lines of ‘Ech hunn dech gär’, which means something like ‘I care about you’ or ‘I like you’.
‘I love you’ in 60 languages
Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou oder Ek het you lief
Albanian: Te dua
Arabic: Ana behebak (said by a female)
Ana behebik (said by a male)
Benhibik (said to someone of the same sex)
Armenian: Yes kez sirumen
Bengali: Aamee tuma ke bhalo aashi
Bosnian: Volim te
Bulgarian: Obicham te
Chinese (Mandarin): Wo ai ni
Corsican: Ti tengu caru (said by a female)
Ti tengu cara (said by a male)
Croatian: Volim te
Czech: Miluji tě
Danish: Jeg elsker dig
Dutch: Ik hou van jou
English: I love you
Esperanto: Mi amas vin
Estonian: Ma armastan sind
Farsi: Doost dâram
Filipino: Mahal kita
Finnish: Minä rakastan sinua
French: Je t’aime
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Gaelic: Tá grá agam ort
German: Ich liebe Dich
Hawaiin: Aloha wau ia oe
Hebrew: Ani ohev otach (said by a female)
Ani ohevet otcha (said by a male)
Hindi: Mai tumase pyar karata hun (said by a male to a female)
Mai tumase pyar karati hun (said by a male to a female)
Icelandic: Eg elska þig
Indonesian: Saya cinta padamu
Italian: Ti amo
Korean: Saranghee yo
Latin: Te amo
Latvian: Es tevi mīlu
Lithuanian: Tave myliu
Luxembourgish: Ech hun dech gär
Malay: Saya cinta padamu
Maltese: Jien inhobbok
Norwegian: Jeg elsker deg
Philippines: Mahal kita
Polish: Kocham cię
Portugese: Eu te amo
Romanian: Te iubesc
Russian: Ja ljubljù tibjá
Serbian: Volim te
Slovakian: Ľúbim ťa
Slovenian: Ljubim te
Spanish: Te quiero oder te amo (te amo ist bedeutungsvoller als te quiero)
Swedish: Jag älskar dig
Tamil: Naan unnai kathalikaraen
Thai: Ch’an rak khun (said by a female)
Phom rak khun (said by a male)
Turkish: Seni seviyorum
Vietnamese: Em yeû anh (said by a female)
Anh yeû em (said by a male)
Yiddish: Ikh hob dikh lib