6 Expressions of Love from Around the World
Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is all about L-O-V-E.
Whereas in English the word “love” encompasses a large variety of meanings — from the deep love for your child to the more casual love for a tasty piece of chocolate cake — other languages have a larger lingo to verbalize love in its many forms.
Here are some ways of expressing your love for someone in another language:
There are multiple ways to express your love for another person in Hawaiian. When you meet someone, you can say ‘aloha kāua,’ meaning ‘may there be friendship or love between us.’ Another Hawaiian phrase, ‘ma’ane’i no ke aloha,’ translates to ‘for love is here and now.’ Check out the full list here!
Ancient Greek (Ancient Greece)
Ancient Greece has six diverse ways of expressing love in their language. One of the most meaningful is ‘agape,’ a form of universal and unconditional love; such as the love between God and human beings. Agape “transcends and persists regardless of circumstance,” reaching beyond a single person and beyond emotions to a place of giving to and loving all people. Agape could be described as “living for the sake of others,” a well known concept in the Unification tradition.
Learn about the other Greek words for love here!
The Japanese expression for I love you is ‘aishite imasu’ (愛しています). In conversation, it is more common to use the gender neutral word ‘aishiteru’ (愛してる); however, ‘aishiteru’ is generally only used for your partner.
Saying ‘I love you’ in Japan is culturally less common than it is in the West. Love is expressed differently, often through manners and gestures. ‘Suki,’ which translates to ‘I like you,’ is more similar to the casual or familial ‘I love you’ in English.
American Sign Language
There are two ways to communicate your love for someone in American Sign Language (ASL). One involves pointing to yourself, crossing your arms across your chest with your hands in fists, and then pointing at the person you love. Learn both ways to say “I love you” with this illustrated how-to guide. This is also a great way to show your baby how much you love them!
Swahili (East Africa)
Two ways to say ‘I love you’ in Swahili are ‘ninakupenda’ or ‘nakupenda.’ They can be used to express love for a family member or significant other. Conversational Swahili speakers will say ‘nakupenda,’ dropping the prefix ‘ni,’ which translates to ‘I.’ Both are accurate, but the shorter version is more casual and more likely to be used by native speakers. The latter half of the phrase, ‘-kupenda,’ means love. ‘Ninakupenda’ and ‘nakupenda’ can also be affirmations of deep affectionate or caring.
‘Jab mei aap ki taraf daikhta hun tou, mei apni ankhon ky samnay apni baqi zindagi daikhta hun’ (جب میئ آپ کی تعراف دیکہ ہن بھی) is an Urdu expression of commitment and devotion. Translated, it means ‘when I look at you, I see the rest of my life in front of my eyes.’ This is a way of conveying your love to the person you are committing to forever.
So on Valentine’s Day, express your love in a brand new way! Show someone how much you care today; whether it’s a friend, a family member or a significant other.