Editorial

How to say I love you in 100 of the world’s most spoken languages

Compiled by Odongo Odoyo

Odongo Odoyo

One of the coolest things about traveling the world is learning a little bit of the local language.

It’s amazing how much you can learn about a culture based on how they express themselves. There’s always an expression or a word that doesn’t exist in other languages, or seems special based on the collective mentality of that particular culture. It’s amazing to think that through all of the years, wars, and our existence as human beings – one thing remains, our method of communicating using language and our ability to love.

 One wonders, how do people say ‘I love you’ around the world? You may have already known it in French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Korean, and English of course, but what about the other languages of the world?

So here it is, after hours upon hours of searching and research, this is how to say I love you in different languages – to be exact the 100 most spoken languages in the world!

Here are the languages in order of how many people speak them, how you say ‘I love you,’ and where it is spoken:

1. Mandarin: WǒàinǐWhere it’s spoken: China, Taiwan, Singapore2. Spanish: teamo, tequiero

Where it’s spoken: Hispanic America, Spain, United States, Equatorial Guinea, Western Sahara, Pacific islands3. English: I love youWhere it’s spoken: Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, Singapore, Philippines4. Hindi: main tumsepyarkartahoon

Where it’s spoken: India, Fiji, Nepal5. Arabic: ahabak

Where it’s spoken: North Africa, Western Asia (Middle East), East Africa6. Portuguese: euteamoWhere it’s spoken: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Timor-Lest 7. Bengali: ĀmitōmāẏabhālōbāsiWhere it’s spoken: Bangladesh, West Bengal (India), Tripura (India), Assam (India)8. Russian: yalyublyutebya

Where it’s spoken: Russia, former Republics of the Soviet Union, Mongolia9. Japanese: watashiwa, anata o aishiteimasuWhere it’s spoken: Japan10. Punjabi: maiṁtuhānūpi’ārakaradāhāWhere it’s spoken: Punjab region (India, Pakistan)The next most spoken language is German, but ‘I love you’ in auf Deutsche has several layers, and can be a lot more specific. For example, to tell someone you love for them more in an ‘I care for you’ kind of way, you would use ‘Ichhabedichgerne’.Next is ‘Ichhabdichlieb’, which is kind of like, ‘I have love for you’ and is used for friends and family. Between lovers, ‘I love you is’ expressed as ‘Ichliebe dich.’11. German: ichliebedichWhere it’s spoken: Austria, Belgium (Eupen-Malmedy), Germany, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, South Tirol (in Italy)berlin

A special place in my heart (photo by Mike Corey   

12. Javanese: Akutresnasampeyanwhere it’s spoken: Java (Indonesia)13. Wu (Shanghainese): (ngu eh nóng) Ngu long hushin long lahWhere it’s spoken: Zhejiang, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu (eastern China)14. Malay/Indonesian: sayasayangawakWhere it’s spoken: Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore15. Korean: salanghaeWhere it’s spoken: North Korea, South Korea16. Telugu: nēnuninnuprēmistunnānu

Where it’s spoken: Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry (India)17. Vietnamese: anhyêuemWhere it’s spoken: Vietnam18. French: je t’aimeWhere it’s spoken: Belgium (Wallonia, Brussels), Canada (particularly Quebec, New Brunswick and Eastern parts of Ontario), France, Switzerland, Francophone Africa, French Caribbean, French Polynesia, various islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Hand in hand in Canada19. Marathi: mītujhyāvaraprēmakaratōWhere it’s spoken: Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat (India 20. Tamil: nāṉuṉṉaikātalikkiṟēṉTamil Nadu, Karnataka (India), Puducherry (India), Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius21. Urdu: m – (meinap say muhabatkartahoon) & f – (meinap say muhabatkartihoon)Where it’s spoken: India, Pakistan

22. Persian/Farsi: (asheghetam) used in poetry and songs – (dūsetdāram)where it’s spoken: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan

So much love!23. Turkish: seniseviyorumWhere it’s spoken: Turkey, Cyprus, Bulgaria24. Cantonese: ngóhoinéih

Where it’s spoken: Guangdong (Canton), southern Guangxi (southern China), Hong Kong, Macau25. Italian: tiamo

Where it’s spoken: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino26. Thai: P̄hmrạkkhuWhere it’s spoken: ThailandkohyaonoiFeeling full of love in Thailand27. Gujarati: HuṁtanēprēmakaruṁchuWhere it’s spoken: Gujarat (India)28. Basque: maitezaitutWhere it’s spoken: Northern Spain29. Minnanhua: wǒàirǔWhere it’s spoken: Fujian, eastern part of Guandong (southeastern China), Hainan (southern China), Taiwan, Malaysia30. Polish: kochamCięWhere it’s spoken: Poland, USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Belarus, western Ukraine, Lithuania31. Pashto: (za la ta sarameenakawom)Where it’s spoken: Afghanistan, Pakistan32. Kannada: NānuninnannuprītisuttēneWhere it’s spoken: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra (India)33. Malayalam: ñānninnesnēhikkunnuWhere it’s spoken: Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé (India)34. Sundanese: abdibogohkaanjeunWhere it’s spoken: Java (Indonesia)35. Chamorro: Hu guiayahao

Where it’s spoken: this is a Austronesian language spoken mainly on the island of Guam, and also in the Marianas Islands.36. Hausa: Ina son kaWhere it’s spoken: Nigeria

37. Burmese: mainnkohkyittaalWhere it’s spoken: Myanmar

Lovely, lovely Myanmar 38. Oriya: mu tumokubhalapaye

Where it’s spoken: Odisha (India)39. Armenian: Yes sirumyemk’yezWhere it’s spoken: Armenia Georgi and Russia

40. Ukrainian: yatebelyublyuWhere it’s spoken: Ukraine

41. Bhojpuri: hum tohsepyaarkareniWhere it’s spoken: Bihar (India)42. Tagalog: IniibigkitaWhere it’s spoken: Manila and Northern Philippinessandbar philippines island

43. Yoruba: monifẹrẹWhere it’s spoken: Nigeria, Benin and Togo44. Maithili: hawmahāṃ se premkarechi

Where it’s spoken: Bihar (India)45. Sindhi: Man tokhepremkaryanti or Man tokhepremkaryan toWhere it’s spoken: Sindh (Pakistan and neighboring areas in India)46. Swahili: nakupendaWhere it’s spoken: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

Swahili is the most widely spoken language in Africa with about 100 million speakers, and is the national language of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Swahili is said to have originated from Arabic, among other languages. It’s possible the language came from interactions between Arabs and East Africans back in the day.

47. Uzbek: Men seniSevamanWhere it’s spoken: Uzbekistan

48. Amharic: ewedihalehuWhere it’s spoken: Ethiopia

49. Fula: mi yidi maWhere it’s spoken: West and Central Africa, from Senegal to Sudan50. Igbo: ahụrụ m gịn’anya

Where it’s spoken: Nigeria51. Oromo: Sin jaalladha’Where it’s spoken: Ethiopia and Kenya52. Romanian: teiubesc

Where it’s spoken: Romania, Moldova53. Azerbaijani: MənsənisevirəmWhere it’s spoken: Azerbaijan and Northern Iran

54. Manipuri/Meitei: əi-nənəng-bunung-shiWhere it’s spoken: North East India, Bangladesh, Burma55. Chichewa: NdimakukondaNdimakukondaniWhere it’s spoken: Chichewa is a Bantu language spoken in parts of Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique56. Cebuano: gihigugma TIKAWhere it’s spoken: Central and Southern Philippines

57. Dutch: ikhou van jeWhere it’s spoken: Belgium (Flanders, Brussels), Netherlands and Suriname

Tell them you love them!58. Kurdish: Ezhejtedikim

Where it’s spoken: “Kurdistan”, northern Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria59. Serbo-Croatian: VolimteWhere it’s spoken: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro60. Malagasy: tiakoianaoWhere it’s spoken: Madagascar61. Nepali: Ma timīlā’īmāyāgarchuWhere it’s spoken: Nepal and neighbouring areas, Sikkim, (India)thurong la pass Nepal 62. Saraiki: mẽtenū̃ piārkardāhā̃Where it’s spoken: Sindh (Pakistan)

63. Santali: ingamingsibilamaWhere it’s spoken: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan64. Khmer: khnhom​ sralanh​ anak

Where it’s spoken: Cambodia65. Sinhalese: mama oyāṭaādareyiWhere it’s spoken: Sri LankaSri Lanka East Coast

Beautiful, beautiful Sri Lanka66. Bambara: M’bife

Where it’s spoken: Bambara is a Mali Mande language with about 3 million speakers in Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ghana

67. Assamese: môiapunakbhalpaûAssam (India)

68. Madurese: Kula tresna / panjengan

Where it’s spoken: Madura, and Java (Indonesia)

69. Somali: WaankujeclahayWhere it’s spoken: Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Yemen

70. Magahi: həmt̪oːraː seː pjaːrkərəhɪjoː/Where it’s spoken: Bihar (India)71. Dogri: MinjoterenaalpyarhegaWhere it’s spoken: Kashmir Jamu (india)72. Marwari: main tannepyaarkaroonWhere it’s spoken: Rajastan (India and Pakistan)

73. Hungarian: SzeretlekWhere it’s spoken: Hungary and areas in neighbouring countries

74. Chewa: ndimakukondaniWhere it’s spoken: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwevilanculosmozambique

Kids in Vilanculos, Mozambique75. Kinyarwanda: NdagukundaWhere it’s spoken: Kinyarwanda, a Bantu language spoken in mainly in Rwanda76. Greek: Se agapó

Where it’s spoken: Greece, Cyprus77. Akan/Twi: Me dorwo

Where it’s spoken: Ghana, Ivory Coast78. Khasi: Ngaieidia phiWhere it’s spoken: Meghalaya state in India by the Khasi people.79. Kazakh: men senijaqsıköreminWhere it’s spoken: Kazakhstan80. Tswana: Ke a go rataWhere it’s spoken: BotswanaA special moment in Botswana81. Hebrew: (man to a woman) –“AniOhevOtach”(woman to a man) –“AniOhevetOtcha”(woman to a woman) –“AniOhevetOtach”(man to a man) –“AniOhevOtcha”Where it’s spoken: Israel82. Zulu: NgiyakuthandaWhere it’s spoken: South Africa83. Czech: MilujitěWhere it’s spoken: Czech Republic84. Kinyarwanda: ndagukundaWhere it’s spoken: Rwanda Lake Kivi85. Kokani: havtujomogkortaWhere it’s spoken: Goa (india)86. Haitian Creole: MwenrenmenouWhere it’s spoken: Haiti87. Afrikaans: Ek het joulife Where it’s spoken: South Africa

88. Ilokano: Ayayatenka, (ay-aya-ten kaw)Where it’s spoken: Northern Luzon in the Philippines89. Quechua: Kuyayki

Where it’s spoken: Peru and Bolivia90. Kirundi: Ndagukunda

Where it’s spoken: Burundi and Uganda91. Swedish: jag älskar digWhere it’s spoken: Sweden and Finland92. Hmong: KuvhlubkojWhere it’s spoken: Laos and neighbouring areas

93. Shona: NdinokudaWhere it’s spoken: Zimbabwe

94. Hiligaynon: PalanggakoikawGuinahigugmakoikaw

Where it’s spoken: Western Visayas in the Philippines95. Uyghur: (Mänsıznisöyümän)Where it’s spoken: Xinjiang (Western China)96. Balochi: Tumanadoostbiyeh

Where it’s spoken: Balochistan (province in Pakistan and Iran)

97. Belarusian: jaciabiekachajuWhere it’s spoken: Belarus

98. Maori: Kei tearoha au ki a koeWhere it’s spoken: New Zealand99. Xhosa: ndiyakuthandaWhere it’s spoken: South Africa100. Konkani: HavtukkaMog KartaWhere it’s spoken: Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra (India)

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