Te Amo, Te Quiero, Je T’aime: Discovering the Depth of Love in Multiple Languages
Love is a universal language with no boundaries. From the enchanting streets of Paris to the serene temples of Kyoto, this feeling is whispered and proclaimed in countless tongues, each with a unique flair. Today, we will not only tell you how to say I love you in different languages but also explore all the cultural nuances, special customs, and global conceptions of saying the three main words.
Whether you are a linguistic enthusiast, a hopeless romantic seeking to impress your loved one, or simply curious about the diverse expressions of love, this article is for you. Get ready to fall head over heels into the enchanting realm of romantic expressions from all over the world.
7 Types of Love
Let us ask you a question – what do you think love is? And don’t get us wrong, we don’t want to go all philosophical; just looking for diverse opinions. We believe love is a kaleidoscope of emotions with various shades and hues, each painting a distinct picture of affection and connection. Before learning the linguistic ways to say I love you in different languages, let’s dive deeper into the psychology of love and explore the seven main types of this powerful feeling.
- Eros – passionate or romantic love. It involves intense desire, attraction, and a sensual connection between two individuals.
- Philia – love between friends or deep companionship. It is characterized by loyalty, trust, and mutual respect.
- Agape – selfless, unconditional, and universal love. It is often associated with a compassionate or altruistic love that extends beyond personal interests or desires.
- Storge – familial or parental love. It is a natural affection and deep bond between family members, including parents, children, and siblings.
- Ludus – playful or flirtatious love. It refers to the lighthearted and carefree love experienced in the early stages of a romantic relationship or through casual interactions.
- Pragma – practical or enduring love. It is a mature, long-lasting feeling that evolves based on shared values, mutual understanding, and compromise.
- Philautia – self-love. It encompasses a healthy sense of self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-care, promoting a positive relationship with oneself.
In some languages, different words describe all these types of love. The best examples come from Japanese; native speakers have two terms that can be translated as “love” in English. The word “koi” (恋) describes ludus, and “ai” (愛) refers to pragma.
Romance Around the World: How to Say I Love You in Different Languages
Just think about it for a second – there are over six thousand languages in the world, all related to several language families. And, of course, each language has its way of saying I love you. So why don’t you bear with us and learn what words people in different countries use to express their romantic feelings? Take a look at this extensive list of various options for saying I love you in foreign languages!
- Romance Languages
French – Je t’aime – /ʒə tɛm/
Spanish – Te amo/Te quiero – /teː ˈa.moː/; /te ˈkjɛ.ɾo/
Portuguese – Eu te amo/Amo-te – /ew teː ˈa.mo/; /ˈa.mo te/
Italian – Ti amo/ Ti voglio bene – /ti ˈa.mo/; /ti ˈvɔʎ.ʎo ˈbɛ.ne/
- Asian Languages
Japanese – 愛してる (Aishteru) – /aɪ.ɕi.te.ɾɯ/
Korean – 사랑해 (Saranghae) – /sa.ɾaŋ.ɦɛ/
Mandarin Chinese – 我爱你 (Wǒ ài nǐ) – /wɔː aɪ niː/
Arabic – أحبك (Uhibbuka) – /ʔu.hib.bu.ka/
Vietnamese – Anh yêu em – /ʔaŋ jɜːʊ̯ ɛm/
Thai – ฉันรักคุณ (Chan rak khun) – /t͡ɕʰan rák kʰun/
- Germanic Languages
German – Ich liebe dich – /ɪç ˈliːbə dɪç/
Dutch – Ik hou van je – /ɪk ɦɑʊ vɑn jə/
Swedish – Jag älskar dig – /jɑː ˈɛlːskar dɪj/
Norwegian – Jeg elsker deg – /jɛɪ̯ ˈɛlskər deɪ̯/
- Balto-Slavic Languages
Lithuanian – Aš tave myliu – /aʃ taːvɛ mɪlʲʊ/
Latvian – Es tevi mīlu – /ɛs tɛvi miːlu/
Czech – Miluji tě – /ˈmɪlʊjɪ tjeː/
Polish – Kocham cię – /ˈkɔxam t͡ɕɛ/
Ukrainian – Я тебе кохаю (Ya tebe kohaiu) – /ja tɛbɛ kɔˈɦɑjʊ/
- Balkan Languages
Albanian – Të dua (tə du.a) – /tə du.a/
Bulgarian – Обичам те (Obicham te) – /ɔ.bit͡ʃ'am te/
Macedonian – Те сакам (Te sakam) – /tɛ sa.kam/
Romanian – Te iubesc – /te ju.besk/
How to Say I Love You in Fiction Languages
If you’ve thought that we’re just gonna stop there, no, we don’t! You already know some different languages to say I love you, so why shouldn’t we add a few more? But this time, let’s make them fictional! There are (unexpectedly) many foreign tongues created for various novels and movies, and even they contain special words to express romantic feelings.
- Klingon – qamuSHa – /qɑ.muʃ.ɑ/
You don’t have to be Sheldon Cooper to recognize this legendary language. It comes from Star Trek, an extremely famous sci-fi media franchise from the 80s that is still quite popular nowadays. While the main idea of these movies and TV shows is hard to call romantic, there is enough love between the characters. And if they wanted to show it, they would definitely use this phrase.
- Dothraki – Anha zhilak yera norethaan – /ˈɑn.hɑ ʒi.ˈlɑk ˈjɛ.rɑ ˈno.rɛ.θɑn/
In the fictional world of Game of Thrones, the Dothraki language’s purpose was to give life to the nomadic horse-riding warriors who went by the same name. Although their culture may be fierce and war-oriented, love can still bloom amidst the rugged landscapes. And when it happened, they used this phrase to their loved ones. (Shout out to Jason Momoa, who played the role of Khal Drogo, for nailing this language because it’s hard to imagine how complicated it was.)
- Na’vi – Nga yawne lu oer – /ŋɑ ˈjɑw.nɛ lu ɔr/
This language appeared in the breathtaking world of Pandora from the Avatar movies. Na’vi is spoken by indigenous humanoid species. They are known for their bond with nature, which is as strong as their capacity for love.
- Elvish – Melin le – /ˈmɛ.lin lɛ/
The Elvish languages hold a special place within the extensive world of J. R. R. Tolkien. From Quenya to Sindarin, these tongues embody the elegance and ethereal nature of the elves. There are numerous dialects of Elvish, but this phrase is almost universal. It creates a heartfelt expression that captures the sentiment of love.
Famous Romantic Quotes in Different Languages
Now you know how to say I love you in multiple languages, real and fictional. Yet, it is important to note that it’s not the only way to express your feelings toward your special someone! Like English, other languages contain many phrases, sayings, and famous quotes about love. Below, we’ve collected the best ones.
- “C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour” (French) – That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without waiting for anything in return. – Albert Camus
- “La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel” (French) – Life is a flower of which love is the honey. – Victor Hugo
- “Si yo pudiera darte una cosa en la vida, me gustaría darte la capacidad de verte a ti mismo a través de mis ojos. Sólo entonces te darás cuenta de lo especial que eres para mí” (Spanish) – If I could give you one thing in life, I would like to give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes. Only then will you realize how special you are to me. – Frida Kahlo
- “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction” (French) – Love is not looking at each other, but looking together in the same direction. – Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry
- “Siamo angeli con un’ala sola, solo restando abbracciati possiamo volare” (Italian) – We are angels with only one wig; only embracing each other we are able to fly. – Luciano De Crescenzo
These quotes are so beautiful; we’re screaming, crying, throwing up. But don’t you think they are still not enough to fully immerse yourself in the world of love in foreign languages? If you want to delve fully into the atmosphere, here’s something we can offer – a list of famous romantic songs in foreign languages and our favorite quotes from them. Turn up the volume, and let’s go!
Lara Fabian – Je T’aime
Original French lyrics:
Je t'aime, je t'aime
Comme un fou comme un soldat
Comme une star de cinéma
Je t'aime, je t'aime
Comme un loup, comme un roi
Comme un homme que je ne suis pas
Tu vois, je t'aime comme ça
I love you, I love you
Like a madman, like a soldier
Like a movie star
I love you, I love you
Like a wolf, like a king
Like a man I am not
You see, I love you like this
Måneskin – Torna a Casa
Original Italian lyrics:
Prima di te ero solo un pazzo, ora lascia che ti racconti
Avevo una giacca sgualcita e portavo tagli sui polsi
Oggi mi sento benedetto e non trovo niente da aggiungere
Questa città si affaccia quando ci vedrà giungere
Before you I was just a lunatic, let me tell you now
I wore a creased jacket and cuts on my wrists
Today I feel blessed and can't find anything else to add
This city will look out when it sees us arrive
Marc Anthony – Tu Amor Me Hace Bien
Original Spanish lyrics:
Te quiero así deliciosa insospechada
Porque creo en tu palabra
Porque yo siento que aún te necesito
Porque me alteras las ganas
I love you in this way, delightful and unsuspecting
Because I believe in your word
Because I feel that I still need you
Because you alter me the desires
Gjon’s Tears – Tout l’Univers
Original French lyrics:
Nos deux cœurs sous la terre
Au milieu des failles où tout éclate
Se trouver au point d'impact
The whole universe
Our two hearts under the ground
At the centre of the rifts where everything explodes
Being at the point of impact
Cute and Funny Terms of Endearment from Different Countries
Terms of endearment are an integral part of love and romance. Some people use traditional flattering words; others stick with unique nicknames, but they all have one purpose – to express love and strong feelings to their spouses. You might be surprised, but some typical English terms of endearment might be considered offensive in foreign countries.
For example, when you call someone “honey,” they will probably be flattered. However, if you use the same word for a person from France, they will think you’re calling them a sticky mess. To avoid such misunderstandings, look at these cute and sweet terms from around the world.
- Petit choux – France
While Americans are used to calling each other pumpkins, French people prefer a different vegetable – little cabbage. But don’t be scared; even though this phrase translates exactly like that, it has a different meaning – an excellent and delicious dessert. The best alternative to this term in English is “sweetie.”
- Honigkuchenpferd – Germany
We can almost see the confusion on your face, and there is no wonder why – not only does this term look a bit terrifying itself, it has a very unexpected definition; verbatim, it means “honey cake horse.” If you are thinking about how it could be a cute and funny term of endearment, let us give you a brief explanation. Germans have a tradition of making honigkuchen – gingerbread shaped like a horse. So when locals call someone this way, they just tell them how sweet they are and how they remind them about their favorite holiday treat.
- Tamago gata no kao – Japan
Ah, Japan, a land of rich culture and unique expressions of affection. This term is a charming and playful way to express endearment. However, translated literally, it means “egg with eyes” or “face like an egg.” While it might sound unusual at first, the term actually carries a positive connotation. In Japanese culture, oval-shaped faces are considered extremely attractive, so “tamago gata no kao” is the greatest compliment.
Learning How to Say I Love You in Different Languages with Promova
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Love is a powerful feeling every person experiences at least once in their life. That is why it is important to share it with people who are significant to you. And luckily, it will be much easier to do with today’s expressions and phrases! We hope that this article was helpful. By the way, what is your favorite love song of all time? Don’t be shy, tell us in the comments!
What is the distinction between “te amo” and “te quiero”?
These phrases are both expressions of love in Spanish. Yet, they are used in slightly different contexts and convey different degrees of intensity. The phrase “te amo” is a stronger and more passionate declaration of love. It expresses deep, romantic love and a profound emotional connection. “Te quiero” is a more general expression that shows love towards family members and close friends.
What are some common phrases for expressing love in romance languages besides the simple “I love you”?
Yes, there are many of them! For example, in French, you can also say “Je t’adore” (I adore you) or “Je sui fou/folle de toi” (I’m crazy about you). Spanish people use phrases like “Eres mi vida” (You are my life) and “Eres el amor de mi vida” (You are the love of my life). Italians prefer the expressions “Ti amo da impazzire” (I love you like crazy) and “Sei la mia anima gemella” (You are my soulmate).
Are there any romantic terms that don’t have alternatives in English?
Of course! Almost every language contains many such terms that, unfortunately, don’t have direct English alternatives. One of our favorite examples is the Japanese phrase “honmei-choco,” which describes sweets and chocolates you give a person because you love them. Another example is the Italian phrase “cavoli riscaldati” – literally, it means “reheated cabbage,” and it reminds you that it’s not always a good idea to reignite that old flame.
What are the best movies to learn how to express love in different languages?
It all depends on the language you want to learn. The first piece of advice we can give you is to choose love-related genres, like dramas, romcoms, etc. And, of course, we will gladly share some of our favorite movies in foreign languages. If you are keen to learn French, look no further than Amélie. To memorize some romantic phrases in Spanish, choose Vicky Cristina Barcelona. And for those eager to practice Italian, we offer our all-time favorite movie, Cinema Paradiso.