According to the US Census Bureau, 21 percent of married-couple households in the United States have at least one foreign-born spouse. Are you set to join them in the near future? Did you fall for a beautiful girl in Tokyo or a gorgeous guy in Naples and you’re excited to take your friendship further?
Now, how can you show your love that they mean the world to you?
Get to know their culture and language, of course! A good place to start is learning how to say, “I love you.” Once you’ve learned basics like “I love you” or “I am thinking of you,” you can surprise your sweetheart by using pet names in his or her language.
“Meu chuchu,” for example, is a very sweet way to express your love in Brazil. The chuchu is actually a squash-like vegetable served widely throughout Brazil and elsewhere across Latin America.
The Dutch love licorice: They eat the most licorice per capita of any people in the world. It’s no surprise, then, that your Dutch girlfriend would love to be considered your “dropje” (licorice).
Russians might love cherries, since they call their loved ones “vishenka” (cherry). It’s often girls who choose an animal as a pet name for their boyfriend. How could you not love hearing yourself being called “orsacchiotto” (little bear) by an Italian, “spatz” (sparrow) by a German, or “myszka” (little mouse) by your Polish girlfriend?
A beautiful pet name the Chinese use is “chen yu luo yan.” It’s based on an old Chinese anecdote and means a woman with overwhelming beauty, who makes the fish sink and wild geese fall.
Last but not least, the French would say “mon petit chou,” referring to a French pastry called “chou à la crème” (a cream puff)—thus, something sweet and delicious, like your love.
Once you’ve learned the words to express your sentiments, it’s time to focus on the right present to make your Valentine’s Day a success. Be aware of the different customs in different cultures. In Germany, for instance, flowers are the main gift. In Japan, women give men chocolate on February 14; one month later, on “White Day,” they’ll get white chocolate from their men in return. In South Korea, there’s also “Black Day.” First, chocolate is given, as in Japan; then, whoever doesn’t receive chocolate is destined to have a very sad day on April 14 and will eat jajangmyeon, noodles with black bean sauce. In Brazil, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on June 12—this year coinciding with the beginning of the 2014 World Cup in soccer.
Learning a language for your partner will not only be fun, but might be the start of an exciting journey together. With Rosetta Stone you can get started right away: Simply immerse yourself in a new language from your tablet or smartphone.