Skip to main content
How to say ‘I Love You’ in ASL – and other languages

How to say ‘I Love You’ in ASL – and other languages

February 14, 2022
Published by Mineli Goswami

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic time of the year. It’s when Cupid performs his magic – as do marketing teams everywhere – and you feel love so powerful that words fail you. Want to say it another way? Learn how to say “I Love You” in American Sign Language (ASL). This sign is universal!

The Universal Sign for Love

It doesn’t matter whether you sign or whether you can hear. That’s because chances are you have seen the ASL sign for “I Love You” already.

Ring a bell? That’s right, “I love you” in ASL is the very same world-famous gesture used by celebrities to express or reciprocate affection to fans and audiences. You’ve seen Presidents Clinton and Obama do it, along with the Dalai Lama, and probably your favorite sportspeople too.

Richard Dawson – presenter of the original Family Feud TV show – is often credited with first popularizing the ASL sign for ILY. The funny part is, somewhere down the line it got confused with the “sign of the horns,” which looks similar but has the thumb tucked in and hence repeatedly confuses rookie metalheads and rockers.

So popular is this gesture in fact, that the ILY hand sign was finally added to Unicode’s emojis in 2017. It all began with a petition initiated by Western Oregon University professor C.M. Hall and Oregon Association of the Deaf interim president Chad A. Ludwig. Thanks to them, a deaf culture symbol is now daily online culture – and not just for famous people.

The Many Ways to Sign ‘Love’ in ASL

Let’s begin with baby steps. Learn how to sign I Love You in ASL to the cutest of the lot.

Moving on to the Valentine’s Day vocabulary – flowers, chocolates, dates and the works!

Want to take the conversation forward? Ask the love of your life out on a date in ASL?

If you are already in a relationship, this might help smoothe out the nitty-gritties.

Is your love all worked out? Maybe it’s time for a song routine – ‘Marry me’ in ASL!

And what if you want to break up? Ahh, we dug up a cool one for such situations too.

What’s beyond ASL? Why, here you go with I Love You in 60 sign languages from around the world:

Read more: 3 Tips for a Perfect Valentine’s Day Date with Hearing Loss

ASL Gifts for Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day you could also try out some ASL-specific gifts to charm your loved one. Whether from ASL StationSay It In SignDeaf Root, or Deaf Apparel, you can find many shopping initiatives online that can make the day special with the same simple ‘I Love You’ hand sign turned out in uber-attractive creative merchandise.

Want to woo a partner who has hearing loss? How about some suave new hearing tech? Explore the latest from the Phonak collection and you might just find the most appreciated of all gems this Valentine’s.