A collage showing Soren, Iggy, Benji, and Pocky saying, “Ich liebe dich,” “Je t'aime,” “Te amo,” and “I love you,” respectively, each holding a related flag to show the language.

Love — a universal language spoken by all — transcends borders and connects hearts. It's a sentiment that we all feel, yet the ways we express it vary widely across cultures and languages. From passionate declarations of romance in Paris to humble confessions of affection in Tokyo, the phrase "I love you" takes on different forms and nuances around the globe.

On this journey of love, we will traverse the globe, exploring the unique ways different cultures express this powerful emotion. We will dive into the languages of love, uncovering interesting linguistic and cultural insights.

Whether you're a globetrotter looking to charm a foreign beau, a linguist studying emotional expressions across cultures, or simply a lover of love, this article promises a heartwarming exploration of “I love you” around the world. So, let's begin!

Learn to Say “I Love You” in a Foreign Language

Before we jump into cultural nuances and alternative ways to confess your affection in other languages, let’s take a look at the table below.

Language“Love”“I Love You”Pronunciation
Afrikaans Liefde Ek het jou lief
Simplified Chinese 我爱你 Wo ai ni
Traditional Chinese 我愛你 Wo ai ni
German Liebe Ich liebe dich
French Amour Je t'aime
Japanese 愛してる Aishiteru
Spanish Amor Te quiero
Italian Amore Ti amo
Portuguese Amor Eu te amo
Swedish Kärlek Jag älskar dig Yah alska dey
Russian Любовь Я тебя люблю Ya tebya lyublyu
Korean 사랑 사랑해요 Saranghae
Indonesian Cinta Aku cinta kamu
Vietnamese Tình yêu Anh yêu em (to a woman), Em yêu anh (to a man)
Thai รัก ฉันรักคุณ Phom rak khun (to a woman), Chan rak khun (to a man)
Turkish Aşk Seni seviyorum
Czech Láska Miluji tě
Croatian Ljubav Volim te
Polish Miłość Kocham cię
Ukrainian Кохання Я тебе кохаю Ya tebe kokhayu
Language“Love”“I Love You”Pronunciation
Afrikaans Liefde Ek het jou lief
Simplified Chinese 我爱你 Wo ai ni
Traditional Chinese 我愛你 Wo ai ni
German Liebe Ich liebe dich
French Amour Je t'aime
Japanese 愛してる Aishiteru
Spanish Amor Te quiero
Italian Amore Ti amo
Portuguese Amor Eu te amo
Swedish Kärlek Jag älskar dig Yah alska dey
Russian Любовь Я тебя люблю Ya tebya lyublyu
Korean 사랑 사랑해요 Saranghae
Indonesian Cinta Aku cinta kamu
Vietnamese Tình yêu Anh yêu em (to a woman), Em yêu anh (to a man)
Thai รัก ฉันรักคุณ Phom rak khun (to a woman), Chan rak khun (to a man)
Turkish Aşk Seni seviyorum
Czech Láska Miluji tě
Croatian Ljubav Volim te
Polish Miłość Kocham cię
Ukrainian Кохання Я тебе кохаю Ya tebe kokhayu

This should serve as a handy reference for anyone looking to say “I love you” in different languages or for those simply fascinated by the diverse expressions of love around the world.

In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at some of the cultural nuances regarding expressing your feelings in some of the countries on this list.

Je t'aime, Paris

Je t'aime. I love you.
Je t'aime. I love you.

The City of Love is renowned for its romantic atmosphere and affectionate culture, so it's no surprise that the French have a whole range of expressions to convey their love.

The most common phrase used to say "I love you" in French is Je t'aime. This phrase is used to express deep love and affection towards someone, whether it's a romantic partner or a close friend.

But, don't be fooled by its romantic connotation; the French can also use "Je t'aime" or other expressions to convey their fondness and appreciation for someone. It's not uncommon for French people to casually say Je t'adore to express their affection towards a friend or family member.

Je t'adore I adore you.
Je t'adore I adore you.
Soren and Iggy are watching an old French black-and-white movie where the main characters say “Mon amour” and “Mon chéri” to each other.

Another thing that makes the French expression of love unique is their use of endearments. These are terms of affection that are commonly used between lovers and close friends alike. For example, here are a couple of the most often-used phrases in French to express love and endearment toward a significant other:

Mon amour My love
Mon chéri My darling
Mon amour My love
Mon chéri My darling

Ich Liebe Dich, Berlin

Ich liebe dich I love you
Ich liebe dich I love you

As we move towards the heart of Europe, we come across Germany — a country known for its rich culture and history.

When it comes to expressing love in German, the phrase Ich liebe dich is commonly used. This phrase translates to "I love you" and is considered to be quite serious and sincere.

But, beware: in German culture, it's considered a serious commitment to say Ich liebe dich to someone. It's a phrase that is only used in romantic relationships and carries a lot of weight. So, if you're planning to confess your love in Germany, make sure you mean it!

A Valentine’s Day card that says “Ich mag dich.”

What's interesting is that German has many words for love, and each one conveys a different level of affection. For example:

German PhraseEnglish TranslationExplanation
Ich mag dich I like you Used to express fondness towards someone.
Ich hab dich lieb I have love for you Considered to be an expression of deep caring and platonic love.
German PhraseEnglish TranslationExplanation
Ich mag dich I like you Used to express fondness towards someone.
Ich hab dich lieb I have love for you Considered to be an expression of deep caring and platonic love.

Te quiero, Barcelona

Te quiero I want you
Te quiero I want you

Our next stop takes us to the land of flamenco and fiesta – Spain. The most common way to say "I love you" in Spanish is Te quiero. This phrase literally means "I want you" and is used to express deep affection and love towards someone. It's often used between romantic partners and close family members.

It's interesting to note that in Spanish, Te quiero, despite its somewhat intense literal meaning, is used more frequently and casually than Te amo (I love you), which is considered to be a much deeper expression of love.

So, while the phrase may seem strong at first glance, it can also be used to express fondness and care towards your loved ones.

What sets Spanish apart is its use of diminutives (ending a word with -ito or -ita), which adds an extra layer of endearment to the expression. So, instead of just saying Te quiero, one can say:

Te quiero muchito I love you very much
Te quiero mucho, mi amor I love you a lot, my love
Te quiero muchito I love you very much
Te quiero mucho, mi amor I love you a lot, my love

Saranghae, Seoul

사랑해요 Saranghae
사랑해요 Saranghae

Moving on to the Far East, South Korea has its own unique expression of love. In Korean, the equivalent of those three words is the phrase Saranghae. This phrase is often used between romantic partners and signifies a deep and sincere love.

But, Saranghae truly special is its cultural significance. In Korean culture, the expression of romantic feelings is not as common or accepted as in Western cultures. The idea of openly expressing one's emotions towards another person can be seen as too bold or even improper.

Therefore, saying Saranghae to someone is not a simple phrase but rather a significant and courageous act of confessing one's feelings. It's a declaration of true love and commitment that is not taken lightly in Korean culture.

Aishiteru, Tokyo

愛してる Aishiteru
愛してる Aishiteru
Benji and Iggy are getting married in Japan under the blooming sakura, saying “Aishiteru” to each other.

In Japan, expressions of love take on an even more reserved and nuanced form.

While there are various expressions of love in Japanese, the most common phrase used is Aishiteru, which means “I love you.” This phrase is often reserved for romantic relationships and signifies a deep and profound love.

What sets Japan apart is its cultural norms around expressing emotions. In Japanese culture, it's considered inappropriate to express one's romantic feelings towards someone else openly.

Therefore, saying Aishiteru is not something that is taken lightly or said casually. It's a phrase reserved for special moments and deep connections.

Concluding Thoughts

Iggy accepts birthday gifts from Soren, Pocky, and Benji, saying, “Gracias, ¡os quiero a todos!”

From passionate declarations in Paris to reserved confessions in Tokyo, love takes on different forms and expressions around the world. But, regardless of language or culture, the sentiment remains the same — a deep and powerful emotion that connects us all.

So, next time you want to express your love, remember that the words may vary, but the feeling is universal. Words truly have the power to transcend borders and bring people together. And, what better way to do so than by saying "I love you" in a different language? Download our Langster app to learn even more words of endearment, and go ahead and spread love in every language!