Cantonese: Love

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Sophi3, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. Sophi3 New Member

    United States
    There was one thing I never understood. As far as I'm concerned, there truly is no way to say "love" in Cantonese. You can say "I really like...", "I want...", etc. However, I've never seen a true "love" in Cantonese.

    So why is it that "I love you" in mandarin translates to "wou ai ni". Doesn't this literally mean "I want you"? So when you translate "wou ai ni" to Cantonese, you get "ngoh oy ney/ley" (depending on your dialect). Basically, "I love you" is "I want you"...? It doesn't make sense that "to want" is equivalent to "to love". I'm just very confused about it all. Thanks for any help!
  2. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    to want and to love can often be the same word. Look at French: aimer
  3. MingRaymond Senior Member

    HK Cantonese
    Hellp Sophi3 and linguist786,

    In my opinion, I think it is a cultral problem. In Chinese culture, it is not common to say 我愛你 (I love you). Some people may say it, but it is more common to say 我很喜歡你(Mandarin) or 我好鍾意你(Cantonese). These two sentences both mean 'I like you very much'. Maybe Chinese people are a little bit shy, so we don't want to say 我愛你。Does 'I love you' mean 'I want you'? I think it is okay to say this. But it is certain that in Chinese, 愛(love) and 要(want) have two different but related meanings.

  4. Boljon Senior Member

    It should be above all clear that "ai" in "wo ai ni" does mean "to love", not "to want".
    However, as far as I know, "I want you" does take the place of "I love you" in some languages, like "te quiero" in Spanish and possibly the same occasion in Turkish also though I've forgotten the words.
    Hope this will help.

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