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  • Writer's pictureJuliet Ugo

Greetings in Different Languages

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

Languages are important in society because it is a way for people to communicate and express themselves. In the world today, it is estimated that there are about 7000 spoken languages. However, only about 23 languages account for more than half of the population and therefore are more recognised.


Every language has a way of starting a conversation with another person, which is known as a greeting. In these languages, every conversation, whether formal or informal, starts with a greeting. You must learn the greeting methods of different languages to communicate with people at any time and place.


When you meet someone for the first time, first impressions are important. So, you need to understand the various ways to say “welcome” or “hello” in different languages. Even if you cannot say anything else in the language, the person will realize you are trying to communicate in a positive way.



This is a picture of a light-up neon sign. It's a pink speech bubble with the word "hello" inside, written in cursive.
Saying "Hello" will get you far in social situations.

Image from Unsplash by Adam Solomon


If you wanted to say “farewell,” “hello,” “good morning,” or any other form of greeting to every person in the world, you would need to learn those words from over 7,000 languages. Fortunately, just by reading this article I have put together for you, you will be able to say your greetings to over 90% of the world’s population.


No matter the country or continent you find yourself in, I’ve got you covered. Make sure you save and bookmark this post for future use and ease of reference. But first, what is greeting all about?


What is a greeting?

A greeting is an act of communication in which human beings intentionally make their presence known to each other. According to Wikipedia:

Greetings are used to show attention to someone, and to suggest a type of relationship or social status whether informal or formal, between individuals or groups of people coming in contact with each other.


So who greets first? Generally, the younger person greets first. Again, the person who enters a room or joins a group will be the first one to greet. Greeting someone doesn’t make you superior or inferior to them; it’s just a courtesy that fine-tunes the personality of individuals. You can greet people younger than you, but it is essential to greet our elders.


Greetings are usually done with spoken words and gestures. Sometimes, only the spoken word is enough, but other times, gestures need to accompany the words so that the other person will understand you. The gestures normally used are shaking hands, waving, prostrating, light kissing, hugging, bowing, etc. The type of gesture to use depends on the culture and the relationship you have with that person. The usual one in most cultures and languages is shaking hands.

Greet everyone you meet warmly and sincerely. Picture walking into a restaurant or cafe and being greeted as a friend or member of the family. The greeting shows that the owner is grateful to have you walk into their place. No matter the taste of the meal, you would still be happy you went there. The experience would have been positive enough that you would gladly give them another chance.


Importance of greeting

The importance of greetings in daily life cannot be overemphasized. Learning to greet is a crucial part of life because it helps us establish and maintain personal relationships. When you greet someone, you massage their ego, show them respect, give them a sense of belonging and an air of importance. Greeting makes you a likeable, respectful person.



This is a picture of two Black men hugging each other.
Knowing how to greet someone will help you to make a good first impression.

Image from Unsplash by Erika Giraud


Some people only recognize the importance of greeting when they are in an office setting. Or they realize they should greet their customers to make sales. Even though greeting your customer sounds so simple, you will be amazed to see how often people fail to do this properly, leaving the customer feeling ignored and poorly treated. Remember, you only have about five seconds to create an impression. Make sure it is a good one! A greeting is an excellent way to start conversations with people you meet on your travels. A good greeting starts things off on the right foot and builds a strong foundation for the future.


So, what makes a good greeting? First, do an attitude check before you start your day. Take a personal inventory to find out how you are feeling. Are you tense or rested? You’ll find it is difficult to automatically treat others well when you are battling with bad feelings. Secondly, recognize people immediately. Don't wait until you acknowledge someone’s presence. If you are in proximity of a new person, say hello. A simple nod of the head, eye contact, or a brief comment will let the person waiting know that you have seen them.


Thirdly, make the greeting warm and sincere. It’s more attractive and makes you likeable. It is usually standard practice to shake someone’s hand at the first meeting. However, many cultures find a handshake offensive. With the world getting more culturally diverse, the best tip is to wait with your hands at your side until the person makes the first move and then respond by doing what they do, whether it’s a handshake, a hug, or a bow. Following these tips will help you build a better rapport and trust with the people you meet in your daily life.


How to say “Hello” in different languages

With thousands of languages spoken in the world today, saying “hello” is one of the simplest things. “You had me at ‘hello’” is not just a love story cliché. It is also a valid point about the importance of greeting others. The words we use for greeting and the way we say them set the tone for the entire conversation. It can also affect our relationship with the other person.


For greetings, many people use something like a formal “Good day” in official situations or when they are unsure of the time and then use an informal “hello” or “hi” in others. The first step in learning a new language is knowing how to say hello and which conversation opener to use. Most of us would agree that “hello” or some variation of it is one of the most important phrases and expressions you should learn when you’re just starting out picking up a new tongue.


So when it comes to learning how to say hello in different languages around the planet, don’t worry; this article has you covered. Here’s a list of the formal and informal ways to say “Hello” in some languages to get you started. You can use the formal hello when talking to an older person or when you are in an office setting. You can use the informal hello when you are talking to someone your age or in an informal setting.


French

Formal: Bonjour

Informal: Salut


Spanish

Formal: Hola

Informal: ¿Qué tal?


Russian

Formal: Zdravstvuyte

Informal: Privet


Chinese

Formal: Nǐn hǎo

Informal: Nǐ hǎo


Italian

Formal: Salve

Informal: Ciao


Japanese

Formal: Konnichiwa

Informal: Yā, Yō


German

Formal: Guten Tag

Informal: Hallo, Hi


Portuguese

Formal: Olá

Informal: Oi


Korean

Formal: Anyoung haseyo

Informal: Anyoung


Arabic

Formal: Asalaam alaikum (Peace be upon you)

Informal: Ahlan


Danish

Formal: Goddag

Informal: Hej, Halløj


Swahili

Formal: Shikamoo

Informal: Habari, Hujambo


Dutch

Formal: Goedendag

Informal: Hoi, Hallo


Greek

Formal: Yassas

Informal: Yassou


Polish

Formal: Dzień dobry

Informal: Cześć, Witaj


Indonesian

Formal: Selamat siang

Informal: Halo


Hindi

Formal: Namaste, Namaskar

Informal: Hai, Helo


Turkish

Formal: Merhaba

Informal: Selam


Hebrew

Formal: Shalom

Informal: Hey


Swedish

Formal: God dag

Informal: Hej, Tjena


Norwegian

Formal: God dag

Informal: Hei



When planning a vacation, learning the basics of a new language can completely change your days and make your travel a pleasurable one. The language will make it easier to connect with people in everyday situations. It'll also help you practice the fundamentals so that you can have smoother interactions with locals in all the places you plan to visit.


How to say farewell/goodbye in different languages

Goodbye is one word charged with a whole lot of emotions. It is said to express farewell wishes when leaving or parting ways with someone. Goodbye is one of the most regularly used travel words around the world, in addition to “hello,” “thank you,” and “I love you.” And knowing how to say goodbye in different languages is a life skill worth having.



Afrikaans - Totsiens


Arabic - Ma'a as-salaama


Bengali - Bidāẏa


Bosnian -Zdravo!


Cantonese - Joigin


Cherokee - Donadagohvi


Croatian - Doviđenja


Czech - Sbohem


Danish - Farvel


Dutch - Tot ziens


Estonian - Nägemist!


Finnish - Näkemiin


French - Au Revoir


German - Auf Wiedersehen


Greek - Yasou


Hawaiian - Aloha


Hebrew - L'hitraot


Hindi - Namaste


Hungarian - Viszlát!


Icelandic - Vertu sæll!


Indonesian - Sampai Jumpa


Irish - Slan


Italian - Arrivederci


Japanese - Sayōnara


Korean - Annyeong


Latin - Vale


Latvian - Uz redzēšanos!


Lithuanian - Atsiprasau


Mandarin -Zài jiàn


Nepalese - Namaste


Norwegian - Ha det bra


Persian - Khodaa haafez


Polish - Żegnaj - Portuguese - Adeus


Punjabi - Alweda


Romanian - La revedere


Russian - Do svidaniya


Serbian - Zdravo!


Slovak - Dovidenia!


Slovene - Nasvidenje


Spanish - Adios


Swedish -Adjö


Tamil - Poitu varein


Thai -Laa Gòn


Turkish - Görüşürüz!


Ukrainian - Do pobachennia!


Urdu - Khuda hafiz


Vietnamese - Tạm biệt


Welsh - Hwyl fawr


Zulu - Hamba kahle



How to say good morning/afternoon/evening in different languages

These are phrases you use when you want to greet people at different times during the day. It could be in the morning, the afternoon, or the evening. When exactly you use these phrases depends on the country. Note that in some languages, the same words are used for “good afternoon” and “good evening.”


Language

Good Morning

Good afternoon

Good evening

French

Bonjour

Bon après-midi ​

​Bonsoir

Danish

​god morgen

​God eftermiddag

​god aften

Igbo

​Ututu oma

​Ndewo


​Ka chi bo

Italian

Buon giorno

Buongiorno

​buona serata

Norwegian

​god morgen

​God ettermiddag

god kveld

Portuguese

Bom dia

Boa tarde


Boa noite

German

Guten Morgen

Guten Tag

Guten Abend!

Hausa

barka da safiya

Barka da yamma

barka da yamma

Spanish

​¡Buenos Días!

¡Buenas Tardes!

​¡Buenas noches!

Chinese

Zao Shàng Hao

​Xià Wu Hao

​Wan Shàng Hao!

Yoruba

e karro

​Ẹ ká àsán

​ka a ale

Arabic

​Subha Ba-Khair

​Salam Alekum

Hebrew

Yom Tov

Erev Tov

Japanese

Ohayou Gozaimasu

Konbanwa

Hindi

​suprabhat


नमस्कार

​सुसंध्या


Indonesian

​Selamat siang

​Selamat sore

Selamat sore​

Let's see more ways to greet each other in different languages. For this section, we will learn how to say thank you and welcome in different languages. “Thank you” is used to express gratitude to someone who has helped you or after having a meal.



This is a picture of a group of people milling about at a dinner party.
Knowing how to say "Thank You" is beneficial.



English– Thank you, Thanks


Spanish– Gracias


French– Merci (Thank you very much= Merci Beaucoup)


Italian– Grazie


Japanese– (Domo) Arigato (ah-ree-gah’-toh) or written ありがとう


Chinese – do jeh, daw-dyeh


German– Danke sehr


Thai – Khop Khun Mak Kha


Russian – Spasiba (spah-see’-boh)


Korean – written 감사합니다 gamsahabnida


Icelandic – Takk


Hawaiian – Mahalo


Hebrew – Toda (toh-dah’)


Greek – Efharisto (ef-har-ris-tou’)





Albanian - i mirëpritur


Bosnian - dobrodošli


Croatian - dobrodošli


Czech - vitejte


Dutch - welkom


Estonian - tere tulemast


Finnish - tervetuloa


French - bienvenue/bienvenu


German - herzlich willkommen


Greek -καλως ΗΡΘΑΤΕ (kalos irthate)


Hungarian - üdvözöljük


Icelandic - velkominn


Irish - fáilte


Italian - benvenuta/ benvenuto


Macedonian - добредојден (dobredojde)


Maltese -merhba


Norwegian - velkommen


Polish - witamy


Portuguese - bem-vinda


Romanian - bine ati venit


Hausa - barka da zuwa


Russian - добро пожаловать (dobro pozhalovat)


Spanish - bienvenidas/bienvenidos


Swedish - välkommen


Welsh - croeso


Yiddish - באַגרי (hela)


Armenian - ողջույն (bari galust)


Burmese - ကြိုဆို (kyaosopartaal)


Chinese (mandarin) - 欢迎 (huanying)


Georgian - მისასალმებელი (mogesalmebit)


Hindi - स्वागत हे (svaagat he)


Japanese - ようこそ (yokoso)


Korean - 환영 (eoseo osibsio)


Mongolian - тавтай морилно уу (tavtai morilno uu)


Nepali - स्वागत (svagatam)


Persian - خوش آمدی (khosh amadid)


Igbo - Ibiala


Turkish - hosgeldiniz


Urdu - خوش آمدید (kher mqadam)


Uzbek - xush kelibsiz


Vietnamese - chào mừng


Afrikaans - welkom


Chichewa - olandiridwa


Sesotho - amohela


Somali - soo dhawow


Swahili - karibu


Yoruba - ekaabo


Zulu - wamukelekile


Cebuano - maayong


Hawaiian - welina


Filipino - maligayang pagdating


Indonesian - selamat datang


Jamaican - welcome


Javanese - sugeng rawuh


Malagasy - tonga soa


Malay - selamat datang


Maori - haere mai


Samoan - afio mai


Tahitian - maeva/manava


Tongan - talitali fiefia


Apache - da’anzho


Cherokee - ulihelisdi


Navajo - yá'át'ééh


Sioux - Taŋyáŋ yahí/Taŋyáŋ yahípi



Conclusion

Do you want to transform your life? Learning a new language can help you do that. It opens you to a world full of professional and personal possibilities, expands your thinking, and gives you new confidence. As technology shrinks our world and we become members of a global community, the ability to learn a new language becomes an essential part of how we interact and succeed.


Are you worried about the time commitment or how difficult it might be for you to learn a language as an adult? Don’t worry about these misconceptions. All you need to learn a language is determination, discipline to practice, build confidence through speaking, and contextualize your learning. And here at Redefiners World Languages, we have made it simple and easy to learn English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic for kids and adults. Our classes teach you how to converse in the language, as well as how to navigate cultures. For more information or to register, please visit www.redefinerswl.org or email us at info@redefinerswl.org.


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