Saranghae is one of the essential terms to express „love“ in Korean. In Korean writing, saranghae corresponds to the Korean spelling [사랑해]. While the English concept of love can be contextualized differently, Koreans also have the ability to express the concept of love differently – depending on the context.
What does „saranghae“ mean? Meaning, definition, explanation
In Japanese, there are also formal and informal ways of speaking and expressing. When we look specifically at the expression saranghae, it’s worth taking a little grammatical excursion into Japanese:
Saranghae namely goes back to the word sarang. Sarang describes the interpersonal love from person to person. A person who wants to express his love and affection to another person chooses the term saranghae. The Korean „hae“ – or [해] in Korean spelling – is a conjugated verb form of the Korean verb ha-da, which is written [하다] in Korean. The verb can be translated as „to do“ in English.
Literally, saranghae or [사랑해] therefore means „I do love“ accordingly. But be careful: the term is used in Japanese to express affection. Thus, the term cannot be translated as „making love“ but means „I like you a lot“ or „I love you“ in the always non-intimate context.
Synonyms alternative for the word Saranghae
Like Western languages, the Korean and Japanese languages are riddled with numerous synonymous uses of different words and terms.
This is also true of the word saranghae: the latter is also used by the Japanese in informal speech when expressing affection or interpersonal, non-partner love in peer groups or among siblings. It is important to emphasize here that these are also forms of affection and love that are not characterized by intimacy.
Other variants of the term Saranghae
As described earlier, the word saranghae is an informal word that is used especially among the younger generation. The more formal version of the term, on the other hand, is used by people of the older generation and is SarangHaeYo and is written in Korean transliteration [사랑 해요].
Again, it is important to note that the type of love or affection expressed via this term is friendly or interfamilial affection that does not have an underlying sexual or intimate component.
A final arguably more formal version of the term, reserved especially for the educational language context, is SarangHapnida or in Korean transliteration [사랑 합니다].
Sarang as distinguished from Yeanjeong
If saranghae or sarangHaeYo refers to the non-intimate form of affection in particular, the question arises as to what is meant by passionate love in the differentiation of the terms and how Koreans verbalize it.
Passion in Korean means yeonjeon and is spelled [연정] in Korean. The probably more affectionate expressions are Ejeong and Echak or in Korean spelling [애정] and [애착]. All three terms can be literally translated as „attachment“ in English.
The mere feeling of a classical liking of the other person can be expressed by the term nee-ga jo-ah. This is a formal expression that, depending on the situation, can be both romantic in character but also used informally in everyday life.