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How to Say “I Love You” in 10 Common Languages

The days are getting longer, the sun’s bows shooting arrows of light into our lives, lifting our spirits and putting an amorous spring into our steps.  It’s no wonder this is the time for lovers, as winter’s nip is still in the air, making our eyes wander to people with whom we might want to snuggle for the next few cold months.  All over the world people’s feelings are the same, but the ways of saying it are many.

At Gululu, we celebrate all cultures, and realize the beauty of our world balloons from the diversity of all the different lovebirds in it!  Love- one of our core values- is something to be shared with the people in our families, at work, and in our communities.  Cherishing Valentine’s Day this year, we’d like to introduce you, our friends and fans, to the most common and affectionate ways to say, “I love you.”

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1) Mandarin Chinese: “我愛你” Phonetic: wo eye nee

Nearly 1.2 billion people worldwide speak some form of Chinese. Mandarin Chinese, with more than 960 million native speakers, is the most-spoken language in the world. Chinese has been around for a very long time, with writing going back 5000 years. Ancient spoken Chinese was very diverse with thousands of dialects.  Old Mandarin developed around 1324 AD, but wasn’t accepted as a national language in Taiwan until 1932, and in Mainland China until 1949. That’s a whole lot of love!

image92) Spanish: “Te amo.” Phonetic: tay ah-moe

There are over 427 million native speakers of Spanish worldwide, which makes Spanish the second most-commonly spoken language in the world. Formed from Latin in the Iberian Peninsula, Old Spanish- known as Castilian- developed around the 10th century AD. Over the years it changed, and around 1500AD, finally became the Spanish we know today.  Spanish is called a “romance language” because of its Romanic heritage. Oh, how romantic!


image83) English: “I love you.” Phonetic: ahyee luv yew

I bet you didn’t expect to see English on the list!  But yes, this post’s mother language is spoken by over 339 million native speakers worldwide, making it the third most-common spoken language! Old English (Anglo-Saxon), was first spoken around 450AD in England, Scotland, and by some Germanic tribes. Middle English lasted from 1150-AD until the development of early modern English at the end of the 15thcentury. Finally, modern English flirted up around the year 1650 AD.

image54) Hindi: “मैं तुमसे प्यार करता हूँ” Phonetic: (to female) may toom say pyar kar ta-hoon (to male) may toom say pyar kar tee-hoon

Hindi emerged in India around the 7th century AD and was fully established by the 10th century. Considered to be a direct descendant of early Sanskrit, Hindi is one of the official languages of India, and also Fiji. Hindi has been influenced by other languages, too! Portuguese, English, Arabic, Turkish and Dravidian have all lent a few words.  Hindi boasts more than 310 million native speakers worldwide.

 

image65) Arabic: “أحبك” Phonetic: (to male) ana beh ka (to female) ana beh ke

Arabic was first spoken in the Iron Age (1200-600 BCE). Wow! That’s a long time ago! Springing up in northwestern Arabia, Arabic has influenced many languages: Persian, Turkish, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Tagalog, and Indonesian- just to name a few! Latin and Greek- the origins of most European languages- borrowed much vocabulary from Arabic, too. Classical written Arabic follows the standards of the Quran, written around 610AD. Modern Arabic differs in style and vocabulary.  Globally, there are over 295 million devoted native speakers of Arabic.

 

image46) Portuguese: “ Eu te amo.”  Phonetic: eeyew chee ahmoe

Another one of the romance languages, Portuguese developed around 300 BCE in the Western Iberian Peninsula.  Roman soldiers brought with them Latin, which later gave birth to Portuguese.  The first written documents of Portuguese are dated from around the 9th century AD. Today, the majority of Portuguese speaking people are from Brazil, with a worldwide population of more than 215 million native speakers.

 

image37) Bengali: “আমি তোমায় ভালোবাসি” Phonetic: ahmee toemAy bhAhlo bAshee

From the exotic region of South Asia, Bengali-also known as Bangla- has over 210 million native speakers worldwide.  Developed from Sanskrit over thousands of years, Bengali emerged around 1000 AD, with the modern form becoming stable in the late 19th century. Bengali is the official national language of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the second most-spoken language in India and Pakistan.

 

image28) Russian: “я люблю тебя” Phonetic: yah teh-byah loo bloo

The largest native language in Europe, Russian is the main language spoken in Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and many smaller East European territories, with more than 160 million native speakers worldwide. Modern Russian arose in the 1700’s under the rule of Peter the Great.  An Aramic language like English, not much is known about the pre-history of the Russian language. Scholars suggest it came from tribal dialects, mixed with Greek and other European dialects.

image19) Japanese: ”をいしてます” Phonetic: ah ee shee tay mah soo

Little is known about the Japanese language’s pre-history. Although Japanese and Chinese have no lingual relationship, Chinese has had a huge influence on Japanese, and most written Japanese comes from Chinese characters. Modern Japanese, developed around 1600, has many loanwords from English as well.  With about 125 million native speakers, Japanese is mostly spoken in Japan but can also be found in large communities in Brazil, the U.S. (Hawaii), and Canada.

image710) Punjabi: “ਮੈਂ ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਪਿਆਰ ਕਰਦਾ ਹਾਂ“ man ten-oo pyar kar da hAan

Punjabi developed in northern India from Sanskrit, which changed to Prakrit, and then again to Apabhramsha. Modern Punjabi, influenced by Arabic and Persian, solidified around the 7th century AD. With over 100 million native speakers, Punjabi is the most spoken language in Pakistan, and is also widely spoken in India, the United Kingdom, and-believe it or not- Canada, after English and French.

 

Beloved friends and fans, we hope you will have many opportunities to say, “I love you” this Valentine’s Day. As we share these words with you, we also share our devotion to keeping kids healthy around the world.  No matter what language you speak, love is a constant that knows no borders or boundaries, no color or race.  Let your heart guide you , and keep sharing the Gululove!

* We are sharing the Gulu-Love and offer 10% off for any purchase on Amazon Exclusive with this Promo Code: “GULULOVE” ( The offer is valid until 2/15/2017). 

Lovingly,

Team Gululu