The Language of Love

Published on 17th March, 2010 in Global Bloggers by Amy Jost

At the risk of repeating myself, can I start by telling you how lucky I am to be an English teacher? If I haven’t made that clear in my earlier blogs, please allow me to officially say it now. It’s a real privilege and an honor to teach adults in Switzerland and I love my job, especially when we talk about interesting ideas brought up in Global and today those were time… and, no, not ‘money’, but ‘love’.

We started off innocently enough in unit 7 discussing time and time zones. Prepositions of time (in, on, at) were learned, comprehension questions were answered, but after those relevant issues, we stumbled on to the `What’s the best time to…’ discussion.

After another discussion about (when’s the best time to go on) vacation, we moved on to the best time to get married. Love was in the air!

In Switzerland spring and summer are ideal times to tie the knot. My students suggested that this was due most likely to the weather and the abundance of local flowers. They hadn’t heard of `June brides’, of which I’m one, and that surprised me a bit. Most cultures seem to have a month in which people get married. I’d always heard of the `Maibraut’ in German, which means a `May bride’. Maybe the fact that my class is all men has to do with the lack of interest or knowledge there!

We had a lot of fun talking about love, marriage and weddings. One student got married twice to the same bride. Once in his home country of Switzerland, and once at 42 degrees below zero (Celsius!) in her home in Finnland. He had the `whitest’ wedding of us all!

Last week we had spoken about the men telling their moms that they love them. (Being a mom, I tend to get as many “love your mom” plugs in that I can.)

In German one can say `I love you’ only to a romantic partner using `Ich liebe dich’. If you want to tell your parents or a good friend that you love them, it’s better to use `Ich habe dich gern’ or `Ich kann dich gut leiden’, which both translate to `I like you a lot’, more or less.

In Switzerland you can say `Ich liebe dich’ (from high German), but my students, and a resource quoted in a recent article in a German newspaper we looked at that morning, said that even in a romantic partnership it’s better to say `I ha di gärn’ (the Swiss German version of `Ich habe dich gern’).

Just getting the business men to all say `I love you’ in some form or another in class was a lot of fun. Of course I made them repeat `I love you’ out loud several times.

Teaching is a labor of love, isn’t it?


  • Yes,it is.Moreover I think that love and passion are the “ingredients” of a good lesson and the main features of a good teacher.

    titti on 17 March, 2010
  • I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for the comment.

    Amy Jost on 19 March, 2010
  • I think it is very important for us as teachers which love language we use as we are teaching. Since we have been in good relationship with them, we need and expect to be appreciated by them. I think this is also mutual.Both teachers and students must express their affection to each other in the most meaningful way.This is the primary love language we must speak, which teaching and learning must be built on.

    Muhsin Karas on 11 April, 2010