How To Say ‘I Love You’ In 10 Different Languages

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of


Want to see the world? Feel like travelling? Or maybe you just want to appear more cosmopolitan. Well, it seems like you could use this original-and-extremely-useful list of how to pronounce the most important phrase known to mankind in 10 different ways.

Love, *sigh*. Without love, we are all just brain-dead zombies who occasionally eat, drink, and sleep. You might say “I love you” to a friend, your mom, dad, sister, brother, lover, pet, grandma…the list goes on. But if you’re travelling in Thailand, and meet a baby elephant who can only understand the native language, then without this list, you would be stumped.

So, in celebration of this lovely world, here are 10 ways to say those three words that means so many things:


  1. English: “I love you.” This is the easy one. Over text, a simple “ily” is acceptable and gets the message across. Yet even within the English language, cultural variations exist. For example, Australians may refer to a loved one as their “Sheila” while Americans like to call them “Bae”.
  2. Mandarin: “Wo ai ni” (Woh Aye Knee). As the predominant language in China, Mandarin is spoken by over one billion people around the world. This makes Mandarin the world’s most popular language, followed by Spanish (around 400 million), and then English (around 300 million). Chinese has over 200 individual dialects, but most individuals will also understand Mandarin. If you’re looking to experience a completely new culture, with an emphasis on silk clothes, martial arts, beautiful temples, music, and dance, or simply some good dumplings, then China is the place for you.
  3. Spanish: “Te amo” (Teh Ah-mo). Many of us already know this one from Rihanna’s 2009 hit single. Spanish is spoken in 21 different countries, many with beautiful beaches and equally beautiful men (wink). In Spain, men often shake hands using two hands, where the left hand is placed on the right forearm of the other. For females, a kiss on each cheek is appropriate. But Spanish culture varies greatly between each country, so it’s slightly different in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Panamá, Paraguay, and Puerto Rico.
  4. Hindi: Main Tumse Pyar Karta Hoon” (Meh Thoom-seh Pi-yard Kar-ta Hoo), if you’re a man. Main Tumse Pyar Kartee Hoon” (Meh Thoom-seh Pi-yard Kar-tee Hoo), if you’re a woman. The official language of India is also spoken in South Africa, Nepal, and Fiji. Hindu culture is a culture of love, respect, and honor. The concept of karma plays a large role in the Hindu philosophy, characterized by many temples and traditions. If you like the hot weather and appreciate art and architecture (The Taj Mahal!), then India is worth a visit.
  5. Arabic: “Ana uhibbuka” (Ana Oo-hey-book-ah), to a man. “Ana uhibbuki” (Ana Oo-hey-book-ee), to a woman. Spoken by around 150 million people in the Middle East and North Africa, Arabic has many variations, but it’s the predominant language for Muslims. Arabic would be useful to know in countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Israel, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, and Iraq. These countries will give you the opportunity to visit the ancient pyramids, explore the desert on camelback, float in the Dead Sea, or see the futuristic city of Dubai.   
  6. French:Je t’aime” (Juh-tem). When we hear French, most of us think of Paris, the city of love. There’s the Eiffel Tower, crepes, and freshly-cooked snails all ready to be discovered in this artistic city filled with 19th century architecture. What’s not to love? But French is also spoken in 29 other nations (thank you Napoleon), therefore it would also be useful when visiting Canada, Belgium, Central African Republic, Niger, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Madagascar.
  7. Russian: “Ya tebya lyublyu” (Yeah The-byah Loo-bloo). Russia is filled with a rich cultural history, with colorful folk-wear and an emphasis on painting, literature, ballet, and classical music. Russians regard family very highly, and are thus very warm people who value their close friendships. This huge country would be worth a visit even for those who can’t speak fluent Russian, as many individuals speak English as a second language.  
  8. Japanese: “Aishiteru” (I-Shi-Tay-Doo). Not to be confused with Chinese, Japanese is an archipelago of 6852 islands located off China’s East coast. The culture is distinctly different, with the Japanese having highly advanced technologies and an emphasis on nature, harmony, and individual success rather than the focus on the whole society. Bowing is common in Japan as a form of a respect, but not in China. If you love sushi, Buddhism, and learning about ancient traditions (including the Samurai), Japan is the place to go.
  9. Thai: “Phm Rak Khun” (Poom Rak Koon). With 95 percent of the country being Buddhists, the people of Thailand are highly peaceful and easy to love. Their attitudes are non-confrontational and individuals value respect and self-control. Not only is it surrounded by beautiful beaches and islands, but Thailand is characterized by its delicious array of fruits, food, and natural wildlife (elephants, everywhere!).
  10. Sign Language: Since we’re not discriminating here, to sign “I love you” keep your thumb, index finger and pinky up with your ring and middle finger down and wave your hand back and forth. Kind of like a “rock on” sign, but with your thumb up.


Keep on lovin’ guys. Peace.