According to the Linguistic Society of America, there are more than 6,000 known, living languages spoken throughout the world. Many of these include obscure, highly localized tongues spoken by remote communities. In any case, there are many ways in which to utter the world "love" or the declaration "I love you."
In Spanish, love is "amor."
In French, another Latin language, love translates to "amour."
In the language of Norway, love is "kjærlighet."
Chinese has a complex yet elegant symbol for the word love (see Resources). It is pronounced like "eye" in English. Specifically, the Chinese word means "love with all my heart."
"Love" in Russian is pronounced like "lyoo-bloo" and is written in Cyrillic characters.
The German word for love is "liebe."
"I Love You"
As in English, many languages have unique translations of the common, eternally useful phrase "I love you." In Arabic, it is "ana behibak" (when addressing a male)
and "ana behibek" (when addressing a female). Portuguese speakers say "amo-te" or "eu te amo" (which is more common in Brazil). And if you find yourself in love in Thailand, remember the phrase "chan rak khun."
The Etymology of Love
The word "love" in English has an interesting history that draws on several linguistic influences. The German "liebe" or Dutch "liefde" are part of the word's origin, as is the Latin word "libido," which means "strong desire." Moreover, the German word for "believe," which is "glauben," may have contributed to the evolution of the word "love" we use today.
In the Japanese language, the word "love" has undergone an interesting evolution. Until the late 1800s, Japanese lacked an equivalent word for "love" the way most Western cultures understand the word to mean. This was a product of cultural differences toward love itself. The influence of the West in the 19th century gave rise to the new word for love, "reai."
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