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How To Say “I Love You” In 20 Popular African Dialects

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(Photo credit: Pixabay.com)

It is the most romantic time of the year once again, a time to show how much you love your partner or the special people in your life. Many people opt for gifts. However, priceless gifts are usually those that are intangible. Words like “I love you” said with a deep conviction can spin heads. So why not add a little twist to your “I love you” this year? Say those cherished words or even text them to your loved ones in an African dialect and see how they respond.

Interestingly, some of the dialects are so simple that you don’t need to be a linguist to learn these magic words. Here are different ways to say “I love you” in various African dialects. If your native language is not on our list, kindly educate us using the comment box below.

#1. Mo nifẹẹ rẹ

Language: Yoruba

The Yoruba language: one of the African dialects

Traditional marriage in Yoruba land (Photo credit: Musicafricawakemedia)

“Mo nifẹẹ rẹ” is the Yoruba way of saying “I love you,”. Literarily, it translates to “I have your love”. The Yoruba language is one of the most popular dialects in Nigeria. The Yoruba is popularly spoken in the southwestern part of Nigeria and the Benin Republic. This language is over a hundred years old. The Yoruba people are predominantly in the southwestern part of Nigeria. However, smaller groups of Yorubas live in Benin and northern Togo. However, there are other communities in other countries where the Yoruba language is spoken as a native language, including Brazil.

#2. Neguedete

Language: Gikuyu/Kikuyu

The Kikuyu language: one of the African dialects

Two Kikuyu couples (Photo credit: Mukuyu on Pinterest)

Neguedete” is Kikuyu or Gikuyu for “I love you”. The Gikuyu language is one of the most popular African dialects today and dates as far back as the 13th century. This language is popular in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in East Africa. Also, the Kikuyu language is of the Bantu family, spoken primarily by the Kikuyu people.

#3. Ina son ka

Language: Hausa

The Hausa language: one of African dialects

Two Hausa couples (Photo credit: WeddingDigestNigeria on Pinterest)

If you want to say I love you to a female, it’s “Ina son ki,” and if it is to a male, it’s is “Ina son ka”. The literal meaning of these phrases is “I want you”. It is essential to know that the main Hausa-speaking area in northern Nigeria and Niger. Hausa is also widely spoken in northern Ghana, Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, the Ivory Coast. You can also find Hausa speakers among the following ethnic groups, Tuareg, Kanuri, Gur, Shuwa Arab, and other Afro-Asiatic speaking groups. The Hausa language dates back to the 11th century.

#4. Ma dzing wama gnôre wa

Language: The Ewondo or Kolo 

Traditional marriage in Ewondo tribe

Ewondo wedding traditions (Photo credit: theculturetrip.com)

Ma dzing wa or ma gnôre wa means “I love you” in the Ewondo or Kolo language. The language is popular in Cameroon and Gabon and had 577,700 native speakers in 1982. However, Ewondo has several languages, including Badjia (Bakjo), Bafeuk, Bamvele (Mvele, Yezum, Yesoum), Bane, Beti, Enoah, Evouzok, and Fong. These are distinct clans within the tribe. The Beti-Pahuin tribe is in the rainforests of Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and São Tomé and Príncipe. However, they speak the same language and also Yaunde Fang, which is a dialect of Kolo.

#5. Nalingi bino mingi

Language: Lingala

The Lingala language

The Lingala People (Photo credit: ancestorswatching on Tumblr)

“Nalingi bino mingi” means “I love you” in Lingala. However, Lingala is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a large part of the Republic of Congo. Lingala development goes back in time to the late 19th century from Bobangi (Bangi). It was one of the trade languages along the Congo River. Lingala is a popular African dialect because it serves as the main vernacular of both Kinshasa and Brazzaville. They are Lingala speakers in Angola, southern South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

#6. Nopp na la

Language: Wolof

Wolof people

Wolof people and a new bride (Photo credit: weddingtin.com)

If you want to say “I love you” in Wolof, you say “Nopp na la”. Wolof is one of the most popular African dialects. However, this language is spoken widely throughout Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania. It is also the native language of the Wolof people. The Wolof people are found in Senegal but are particularly concentrated in its northwestern region near the Senegal River and the Gambia River. The Wolof language traces its origin to the mid-14th to mid-16th century CE.

#7. Nya Raakna

Language: Kanuri

Kanuri people

A Kanuri bride (Photo credit: loveweddingsng.com)

“Nya Raakna” is Kanuri for “I love you”. However, Kanuri is an African dialect spoken in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad amongst the Kanuri people. It also essential to know that Kanuri contains two dialects Manga Kanuri and Yerwa Kanuri (also called Beriberi, which its speakers consider pejorative). The Kanuri people are part of the many Nilo-Saharan groups indigenous to the Central South Sahara. The language traces its origin to the late 7th century. You can currently find the Kanuri people in Borno state, Nigeria.

#8. A fuulu m gi n’anya”/ Ahuru m gi n’anya

Language: Igbo

The Igbo language: one of the African dialects

Igbo traditional wedding (Photo credit: etsy.com)

These will probably be your first words in the Igbo language because they love to profess love. The Literal translation of these phrases means “I see you in my eye”. Igbo is also one of the most popular African dialects in Africa. It is one of the four official languages in Nigeria. People that speak Igbo are called Ibo people, and they live in the southeastern part of Nigeria.

#9. Mono ke zola nge

Language: Kikongo/Kongo

couples from Congo

Traditional wedding in Congo (Photo credit: weddingstreet.in)

The Kikongo or Kongo is popularly spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the Republic of Congo. This language is one of the Bantu languages spoken by the Kongo people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Gabon. Kongo has a link with Swahili, Shona, and Bembe. Kikongo is the name for the speakers. However, the Kikongo language is more than a thousand years old.

#10. Ndiya kuthanda

Language: Xhosa

The Xhosa language: one of the African dialects

Xhosa couples (Photo credit: makeupwd.com on Pinterest)

If you want to say “I love you” in Xhosa language, you would say Ndiya kuthanda. The Xhosa language is commonly spoken in South Africa and Lesotho. The Xhosa language is a Nguni Bantu language and one of South Africa and Zimbabwe’s official languages.

The people who speak Xhosa are the Xhosa people, and they are of Nguni ethnic group in Southern Africa whose homeland is primarily within the modern-day Eastern Cape. Xhosa and Zulu are similar. However, both language speakers consider them to be different. According to predictions, the Xhosa language traces its origin to before the 16th century.

#11. Ndinokuda

Language: Shona

Shona bride

Shona bride (Photo credit: semakerschool.com)

Shona is popularly spoken in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Shona language is a Bantu language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. It is also referred to as one of the most popular Bantu languages today. However, Shona was a written language with a grammar that was codified during the early 20th century and fixed in the 1950s.

#12. Ani sin Jaaladha

Language: Oromo

The Oromo language

Two Oromo couples (Photo credit: Oromo and Oromia on Pinterest)

Oromo is an Afroasiatic language popularly spoken in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, by close to 40 million people, making it Africa’s fourth most widely spoken language after Hausa, Arabic, and Swahili. Oromo achieved the status of a literary language of Ethiopia in 1992.

#13. Nakupenda/Begg naa la 

Language: Swahili

The Swahili language: one of the African dialects

Two Swahili couples (Photo credit: the-star.co.ke)

When you want to say “I love you” in Swahili, you say, “Nakupenda or Begg naa la.Swahili is a Bantu language of the Swahili people spoken mainly in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Mozambique, Oman, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa by more than 50 million people. It is also the official language of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Swahili language was created early in the 18th century.

#14. Ana uħibbuk

Language: Arabic

Arabic language: one of the African dialects

Arab couples (Photo credit: Traditions.wedding)

If you want to say “I love you” to a male in Arabic, you say “Ana uħibbuk,” and to a female, you say “ana baħibbik”. Arabic is also one of the most popular African dialects. Countries like Chad, Morocco, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Sudan, and Western Sahara speak Arabic.

Arabic is one of the ancient languages of the world. It is a Semitic language that was first created in the 1st and 4th century CE. Now, it is the primary language of the Arabs. You can find Arab people in Egypt, Chad, Libya, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea, and Western Sahara Africa.

#15. M’bi fe

Language: Bambara

The Bambara language: one of the African dialects

Bambara people (Photo credit: mobilevirgin on flickr.com )

To say “I love you” in Bambara, you say “M’bi fe”. Bambara is usually spoken in Mali. People who speak Bambara are called Bambara people. These people are the Mandé ethnic group native in West Africa, primarily southern Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Senegal. They are also the largest Mandé ethnic group in Mali, as they make 80% of people that speak Bambara. The Mandé ethnic group—formed 7,000 years ago—were the founders of the Mali Empire in the 13th century.

#16. Mi dowapaa

Language: Twi

The Twi language: one of the African dialects

Akan people of Ghana (Photo credit: factrepublic.com)

Twi is one of the most popular African dialects spoken in Ghana. Twi is also called Akan kasa, and it is a dialect of the Akan people. The Akan people are the largest of the seventeen major ethnic groups in southern Ghana. Written forms of Asante, Akuapem, and Fante (formally considered to be Twi) were developed in the 19th century.

#17. Me lonwo

Language: Ewe

The Ewe language: one of the African dialects

Ewe couples (Photo credit: fnn.24.com)

To say “I love you” in Ewe language, you will say “Me lonwo”. The ewe language is popularly spoken in southern Ghana, the southern half of Togo, and southern Benin. People who speak Ewe are the Ewe people, and their original homeland is believed to have been in Oyo, in western Nigeria, a major Yoruba Kingdom. Also, Ewe people are majorly in the coastal regions of West Africa. You will also find a good population of these people in southeastern Ghana (formerly British Togoland), southern Togo (formerly French Togoland), in the southwestern part of Benin. A smaller population is in the southwestern region of Nigeria. This language’s ancient history is not recorded. However, the Ewe people had some presence in their current homelands earlier than the 13th century.

#18. Mi Yidi ma

Language: Fulani

The Fulani language: one of the African dialects

Fulani couples (Photo credit: Nairaland)

The Fulani language is widely used in Guinea, Nigeria, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, and Cameroon, due to the nomadic traits of the Fula or Fulani people (people who speak Fulani). The Fulani people are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa. Also, they are dispersed around the region. It is generally believed that they are descendants of nomads from both North Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. The Fulani people live mainly in West Africa, northern parts of Central Africa, and northern parts of Central Africa. Due to the Fulani people’s obscure origins, it is believed that the language is more than a thousand years old.

#19. Cale sa duie ca upeif

Language: Mende

The people of Mende

Mende people (Photo credit: AfricaOTR)

Mende is a major language in Sierra Leone. People from neighboring countries such as Liberia also speak the Mende language. Mende is a language belonging to the Mande language family found in West Africa. The Mende tribe is located n the Southern Province and the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. Some major cities with Mende people are Kenema, Bo, Kailahun, and Moyamba. The written form of this language was invented in 1921.

#20. Aheri

Language: Dholuo

The Luo language: one of the African dialects

A Luo bride (Photo credit: Antony Trivet Weddings)

The Dholuo is a dialect of the Luo group of Nilotic languages. Also, people speak it in Tanzania and Kenya. This group occupies parts of the eastern shore of Lake Victoria and areas to the South. The foundations of the Dholuo’s written language and the language’s present literary tradition began in 1907.

Conclusion

That rounds up our list of different ways to say “I love you” in different African dialects. So, if you want to impress your partner on Valentine’s Day, learn more than just one. Before we go, how do you say “I love you” in your favorite language? Share with us in the comment box below.

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