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Hello in Different Languages

When you are visiting a new country, being able to able to communicate with the locals can be very frustrating. Obviously, it can be difficult to become fluent in a language quickly, but knowing some of the different ways to say hello is always a good start and one of the handiest things to know when you are travelling. By being able to say hello in the language of the country you are visiting shows you are making an effort to communicate and trying to be more friendly and respectful to the local people at your destination.

We couldn’t include the ways to say hello in all languages because there are currently 6909 living languages! So instead we have selected a few popular languages which could come in useful whilst holidaying abroad.

In the list below you can see the ways to say hello in many languages in their non-character form with the pronunciation in the brackets afterwards.

15 ways to say hello in different languages:

Hello in French

Bonjour (bohn-zhoor)

Spoken in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and other locations

Hello in Spanish

Hola (oh-lah)

Spoken in Spain and most of Central/South America

Hello in German

Guten Tag (gootan tag)

Spoken in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Hello in Italian

Ciao (chow)

Spoken in Italy

Hello in Portuguese

Bom dia (bom deeya)

Spoken in Portugal and Brazil

Hello in Arabic

Salam (sah-lahm)

Spoken in North Africa and the Middle East

Hello in Chinese

Mandarin: Nín hǎo (neen how)

Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world and is mainly spoken in China

Cantonese: Neih hou (nay hoe)

Spoken in South China, Hong Kong, Macau

Hello in Greek

Yassas/yassou (yah-sas/yah-soo)

Spoken in Greece, Albania and Cyprus

Hello in Hindi

Namaste (nuhm-uh-stay)

Spoken in North India and Nepal

Hello in Japanese

Konnichiwa (kohn-nee-chee-wah)

Spoken in Japan

Hello in Russian

Zdrastvuyte (dram-stood-tee)

Spoken in Russia and many former USSR countries in Eastern Europe

Hello in Vietnamese

Xin chào (sin chow)

Spoken mainly in Vietnam

Hello in Turkish

Merhaba (mehr hah bah)

Spoken in Turkey, Cyprus and other locations

Hello in Punjabi

Sat sri akaal (sat sri akaal)

Spoken in Pakistan and India

Hello in Malay

Selamat pagi (suh-lah-mat puh-guee)

Spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand

Greetings from around the world:

Sometimes just knowing the ways to say hi in different languages isn’t enough, especially when some formal greetings from around the world are very different from our traditional British handshake.

In France, they opt for a similar style of greeting. When saying ‘Bonjour’ you should shake hands and you are expected to greet each person individually even if they’re in a large group. There is also the cheek-to-cheek kiss greeting, which is used in Portugal, Italy and Spain as well, but normally it is only used if you are previously acquainted.

In Japan people greet each other with bowing as a symbol of respect, ranging from a small nod to a deep bow from the waist.

For Malay, the traditional greeting is to touch the other person’s fingertips and then bring your hands back to your heart. The gesture is a sign that you are greeting the other person from your heart.

In China, it’s usual to shake hands, but the firm Western style handshake is uncommon. Instead pay attention to your eye contact and smile.

In India the Añjali Mudrā salute is the best greeting to use. You press your palms together in front of your heart and say ‘namaste’.

Whether you are jetting off to Japan to practice your bow and pronunciation of ‘Konnichiwa’or travelling across Europe to say ‘Bonjour’, ’Guten Tag’ or ‘Ciao’, you are guaranteed a hello and warm welcome at the airport when meeting your I Love meet and greet driver outside the terminal.


By Sarah Anglim at 11 Sep 2017

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