most of us native English speakers know how to tell someone we love
in French or Spanish — but in case you feel like broadening your
linguistic horizons this Valentine's Day, here's how to say “I love
you” in a whole bunch of different languages from around the world.
You never know when you might need to profess your undying affection
for someone in a language you didn't grow up speaking, right? Like, say, Icelandic? Hey, it
British airline booking site Just the Flight did the research on this one — but they didn't just stop at 10 languages. Heck, they didn't even stop at 15 or 20. No, they found out how to say those three little words in a whopping 50 different languages. That may seem like small potatoes at first, considering that there are nearly 200 countries in the world — but you know what? 25 percent of 'em ain't bad. Not only that, but they arranged their findings into a handy dandy infographic while they were at it. How nice!
The infographic lists three piece of relevant information for each different form of “I love you”: The language, the phrase itself, and how to pronounce it. The pronunciation guides aren't perfect — they're written out phonetically, and they don't include accents or clues as to which syllables get specific emphasis — but they're not a bad place to start. Just, y'know, be careful of ending up in a Colin-Firth-at-the-end-of-Love-Actually kind of situation. A for effort, but good gravy, talk about butchering a language. Ouch.
I've compiled my eight favorites below; head on over to Just the Flight to see the full infographic with all 50 languages. Happy Valentine's Day!
1. Scottish (Gaelic)
“Tha gaol agam ort” — pronounced “a-gare-lakam-orst.” Not to be confused with Irish Gaelic, which is a totally different language.
“Miluji tě” — pronounced “me-loo-see-chay.”
“Nagligivagit” — pronounced “na-glee-giv-a-git.”
— pronounced “say-aga-po.”
“Jeg elsker deg” — pronounced “ye-elsker-dye.” Interestingly, it's quite similar in Danish (“Jeg elsker dig,” pronounced “yi-ols-ker-dye”) and in Swedish (“Jag älskar dig,” pronounced “ya-elsker-day”).
“Ami tomake bhalobashi” — pronounced “amee-tomah-kay-balo-ba-she.”
— pronounced “ay-she-tay-ee-roo.”
“Seni seviyorum” — pronounced “say-nyee-say-vee-yor-um.”
Images: tms/Flickr; Giphy (3)