How To Say ‘Hello’ In 10 Different Languages

Reaching out to others is an inherent human quality and 'Hello' is the word most of us say to get conversation going. Learn how to say 'Hello' in some of the most spoken languages in the world.

By Jasmine Kaur

How To Say ‘Hello’ In 10 Different Languages
You've probably noticed how when someone says hello or smiles at you, your automatic reaction is to say hello or smile back. – Shawn Achor

The author of The Happiness Advantage certainly has a point. Humans are born with the natural urge and the ability to reach out to others. And, whenever we want to engage with someone, we usually begin by greeting the individual. 

Nowadays, cutting across culture and language, the ubiquitous way of greeting, be it a stranger or a friend, is to say 'Hello'. 

The popularity of the phrase 'Hello' is such that a day dedicated to promote dialogue, communication and peace in the world is named World Hello Day.

According to the website of World Hello Day, this day "was begun in response to the conflict between Egypt and Israel in the Fall of 1973. Since then, World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries."

How To Say ‘Hello’ In 10 Different Languages

The creators of World Hello Day wanted to emphasise the importance of communication, instead of force, in order to resolve conflicts. So, this day is not simply about saying ‘hello’, but about taking the first step in starting conversations with those around us. Hopefully these conversations can help us listen better to each other and teach us to move past conflict through communication. 

Taking part in the World Hello Day celebrations is a simple affair. An individual only has to greet ten or more people by saying ‘Hello’.  

How to say hello in different languages?

While 'Hello' remains the most popular way of greeting around the world, there are similar ways of greeting people in other widely spoken languages across the world

Let's go ahead and try them out. It can be the perfect excuse to call up or message your friends who speak these languages!

1. Mandarin: Ni hao (你好)
Pronounced: nee-haow

Mandarin is the most common language spoken in China and the most widely spoken language in the world. ‘Ni hao’ literally translates to ‘you good’.

2. Hindi: Namaste (नमस्ते)
Pronounced: nuhm-uh-stey

Namaste literally translates to ‘bow I you’, which can be read as ‘I bow to you’.

3. Arabic: Salaam (سلام)
Pronounced: sa-laam

Salaam means ‘peace’ in Arabic. Another word for 'hello' is marhaban (مرحبا), pronounced as mur-ha-ba.

4. Russian: Privyet (Привет)
Pronounced: pree-vyet

This is the informal way of saying 'hello', but if you are planning to talk to someone you don't know well, you might want to opt for Zdravstvujtye (Здравствуйте), pronounced as zdras-tvooy-tyeh.

5. Japanese: Konnichiwa (こんにちは)
Pronounced: kon-nee-chee-wah

You can use this phrase to greet anyone in Japanese. Konnichiwa is the shorter version of a longer greeting which loosely translates to: ‘How’re you feeling today?’

6. Punjabi: Satsriakal (ਸਤਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ)
Pronounced: sat-sri-akal

Satsriakal literally translates to ‘the one beyond time (God) is real/truth’. This greeting is more popular amongst the Sikhs, while others in Punjab say namaskar (ਨਮਸਕਾਰ/نمسکار), which is a variation of namaste.

7. Korean: Anyong Haseyo (안녕하세요)
Pronounced: ahn-yo ha-say-yoh

Anyong Haseyo translates to ‘hope you are well’. If you want to be even more formal, you can say ‘Anyeong Hasimnikka’ (안녕하십니까), which is pronounced as ahn-yo hash-im-nee-kah.

8. German: Hallo or Gutan Tag
Pronounced: ha-lo or gu-tun-taag

Hallo is the root word for the English ‘Hello’. Gutan Tag means ‘good day’, where Gutan means 'good' and tag means 'day'. 

9. Tamil: Vanakkam (வணக்கம்)
Pronounced: Va-na-kkam

This greeting is used as a way of showing respect to the presence of another person. It can be used both formally and informally.

10. Italian: Ciao
Pronounced: cha-ow

Interestingly, ‘Ciao’ is used both to greet and to say goodbye.

Now that you know how to say 'Hello' in ten different languages, go ahead and teach them to your child as well and encourage him to use them to greet his friends. And, who knows, some day, you or your child may even strike an interesting conversation with someone who is a native speaker of any of these languages. In fact, you can even ask your child to coin a word of his own to greet an alien, if at all he happens to meet one some day!

About the author:

Written by Jasmine Kaur on 19 November 2018; updated on 26 December 2019

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