How to Say “Hello” in 100+ Different Languages
It’s the word that starts it all.
A friendly conversation between two strangers. A business meeting with clients. A beginning to a romantic encounter.
“Hello” is often the very first vocabulary word uttered in any language course, podcast, textbook or YouTube instructional video.
So it’s only a boon to learn as many ways as possible to say this lovely little word. Let’s go over 100 of them!
- A Close Look at Hello in 15 Languages
- Hello in 95 Languages Around the World
- Hello in Fantasy Languages
A Close Look at Hello in 15 Languages
1. Chinese (Mandarin)
Formal: 您好 (nín hǎo)
Informal: 你好 (nǐ hǎo)
The Chinese greeting is 你好, pronounced as nǐ hǎo.
你 means “you” and 好 means “good.”
您好 is more formal and should be used when greeting a person more senior than you. Otherwise, you’d come off as haughty and disrespectful. Chinese is big on respect, and not just for persons of authority, but most especially for elders.
Formal: こんにちは (Konnichiwa)
Informal: やあ (Yā)
Konnichiwa is the general, widely-used term to say “hello” in Japanese. You can use it at any time during the day or night, and it would be appropriate for both formal and informal settings. However, if you want to say the equivalent of “hi” or “yo” or “hey” in English to greet a close friend, you can use やあ.
But if you want to be time-specific, you can use “お早うございます” (ohayō gozaimasu) in the morning, “今日は” (konnichiwa) in the afternoon and “今晩は” (konbanwa) in the evening.
When meeting a person for the first time, you want to say “初めまして” (hajimemashite), which roughly translates as “nice to meet you.”
Formal: 안녕하세요 (Anyeonghaseyo)
Informal: 안녕 (Annyeong)
안녕하세요 (anyeonghaseyo) is the standard Korean greeting for practically any occasion and any time of the day—morning, afternoon or night. 안녕 (Annyeong) is a casual greeting you can use with friends, family and those younger than you.
Bon means “good”—as in bon appétit (good appetite) and bon voyage (good journey).
Jour means “day”—as in soupe du jour (soup of the day)—and so bonjour literally means “good day.” The term is flexible and can be used both for formal and informal settings.
Both Formal and Informal: Hola
But not to worry, saying “hello!” in Spanish is simple enough. We almost all know to say “hola.“ Just remember that the letter h is silent in this case, just like it is in the English word “heir.”
To be time-specific, you can use buenos dias (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) and buenas noches (good night). But, of course, you can use hola in both formal and informal settings, at any time of day or night.
Hallo is suitable for just about every situation, but you can also say Hi or Hey when greeting people in informal settings.
Saying Salve is a safe option when you don’t know what setting you’re in and falls more into the formal side. Ciao is probably the most recognized Italian greeting. It’s an informal interjection and can mean both “hello” and “goodbye”.
Formal: नमस्ते (Namaste)
If you’re in the Indian subcontinent, you can get away with greeting everybody with just one word: Namaste.
Hindi greetings are not time-specific, so you can use this one any time of the day or night. You use it to begin and end interactions with both friends and strangers, young and old. The expression is paired with a slight bow of the head. Place both palms in front of the chest in a prayer-like position. As you say “namaste,” bow your head slightly. This gesture is called the pranamasana gesture.
Formal: Χαίρετε (Herete)
Informal: Γεια σου (Ya Sou)
Χαίρετε is not that widely used and mostly in formal settings when talking to politicians, teachers etc. Γεια σου is a very common form of greeting in Greece.
Formal: Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte)
Informal: Привет (Privet)
While Здравствуйте is mostly used in formal situations, Привет is suitable for greeting a friend or your peer.
If you want to say “hello” to someone you don’t know in Portuguese, saying olá is the safest option. A casual, informal way to say “hi” is Oi.
Formal: مرحباً (Marhabaan)
Informal: مرحبا (Marhaba)
The most commonly used word for “hello” in Arabic is Marhaba while Marhaban is a little bit more formal.
Latin was the dominant language of the Roman Empire from 6th century BC to 600 AD.
When the Roman Empire collapsed, Latin evolved in the former constituent nations into the various languages that we know today. Romance languages like French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian consider Latin as their parent tongue.
That being said, would you like to know what it would be like to greet someone during Roman times? You’d say, “salve.”
That’s hello when talking to one person. If you were talking to several people, you’d say, “salvete.”
Both Formal and Informal: ᐊᐃᓐᖓᐃ (Ainngai)
Inuktitut is an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in Arctic territories and the topmost span of North America including Alaska and Northern Canada.
The nearest equivalent to hello in the language is ainngai, which can be used to signify both “hello” and “goodbye.”
15. Tsalagi (Cherokee)
Both Formal and Informal: ᎣᏏᏲ (Osiyo)
The Cherokee are a Native American tribe indigenous to Southeastern states like Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Osiyo is how the Cherokee say “hello.”
Hello in 95 Languages Around the World
Want more? Here’s a long list of ways to say hello in many different languages:
|Language||Formal Hello||English Reading||Informal Hello||English Reading|
|Afrikaans||Goeie dag||Goo-uh dey||Hallo||Hah-lo|
|Arabic||Salam aleikoum||Ass-suh-lah-muh alay-kum||Marhaba||Mar-ha-ba|
|Armenian||Barev||Bah-rev||Pari yegak||Pah-ree yeh-gak|
|Basque||Kaixo||Kie-sho||Egun on||Eh-gun on|
|Belarusian||Добры дзень||Doh-bri dzin||Прывітанне||Pri-vee-tan-nye|
|Chinese (Simplified)||你好||Nee how||嗨|
|Croatian||Dobar dan||Do-bar dan||Bok||Bok|
|Czech||Dobrý den||Dob-ree den||Ahoj||Ah-hoy|
|Finnish||Hyvää päivää||Hoo-vaa pie-vaa||Hei||Hey|
|German||Guten Tag||Goo-ten tahg||Hallo||Hah-lo|
|Greek||Γεια σας||Yah sas|
|Hungarian||Jó napot||Yo nah-pot||Szia||See-ya|
|Icelandic||Góðan dag||Goh-than dahg||Halló||Hal-lo|
|Indonesian||Selamat siang||Se-lah-mat see-yang||Hai||Hi|
|Irish||Dia duit||Dee-ah gwit||Haigh||Hay|
|Kazakh||Сәлеметсіз бе||Sah-leh-met-siz be||Сәлем||Sah-lem|
|Kyrgyz||Ассаламу алейкум||As-sa-la-mu ah-lay-kum||Салам||Sah-lam|
|Malagasy||Manao ahoana||Mah-now ah-wah-nah||Salama||Sa-la-ma|
|Malay||Selamat tengahari||Se-lah-mat ten-gah ha-ri||Hai||Hi|
|Maori||Kia ora||Kee-ah or-ah|
|Mongolian||Сайн байна уу||Sain bai-na uu|
|Norwegian||God dag||Goh dag||Hei||Hey|
|Polish||Dzień dobry||Dzyen dob-ri||Cześć||Chesht|
|Punjabi||ਸਤ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ||Sut sree a-kal||ਹੈਲੋ||Hello|
|Romanian||Bună ziua||Boo-nah zee-wah||Salut||Sa-loot|
|Slovak||Dobrý deň||Dob-ree den||Ahoj||Ah-hoy|
|Slovenian||Dober dan||Doh-ber dahn||Živjo||Zhee-vyo|
|Somali||Maalin wanaagsan||Is-kah war-an||Sida wadanka||See-da wuh-dank-a|
|Spanish||Buenos días||Bway-nos dee-as||Hola||O-la|
|Swedish||God dag||Gohd dahg||Hej||Hey|
|Vietnamese||Xin chào||Sin chow||Chào||Chow|
|Welsh||Bore da||He-lo||Sut mae||Sit my|
Hello in Fantasy Languages
From Middle Earth to Westeros, check out how to say hello in some fun fantasy languages:
|Language||Formal Hello||English Reading||Informal Hello||English Reading||Origin|
|Elvish (Sindarin)||Suilad||Soo-lad||Mae govannen||My go-van-nen||J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth|
|Elvish (Quenya)||Auta i lome||Ow-ta ee lo-may||Malallo le||Ma-la-lo lay||J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth|
|Elven Runes||ᛋᚢᛁᛚᚨᛞ||Soolad||ᛗᚨᛖ ᚷᚩᚡᚨᚾᚾᛖᚾ||May go-van-nen||J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth|
|Dwarvish||Khazâd ai-mênu||Kha-zad eye-may-noo||Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd aimênu!||Ba-ruk Kha-zad! Kha-zad eye-may-noo!||J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth|
|Dwarf Runes||ᚺᛖᚱᚨ||Haira||ᛖᛖᛈ! ᚺᚨᛋᚱᛖᛞᛏᚨ!||Ay-ya! Har-ed-da!||J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth|
|Dragon Tongue||Lok dovahkiin||Lok do-vah-keen||Zu'u fen fahliil do naan||Zoo fen fah-leel do nan||The Elder Scrolls series|
|Valyrian||Pryjat||Pri-yat||Rytsas||Rit-sas||Game of Thrones|
|Dothraki||M'athchomaroon||Mahth-cho-ma-roon||Hash yer dothrae||Hash yer doth-ray||Game of Thrones|
|High Valyrian||Aōha ēngos||Ah-oh-ha eng-os||Valar morghulis||Va-lar mor-ghoo-lis||Game of Thrones|
|Na'vi||Kaltxì||Kal-tsee||Eywa ngahu||Ay-wa ngah-hoo||Avatar|
|Fae||Dia duit||Dee-ah gwit||Haigh||Hay||Folklore|
|Trollish||Gurubashi||Goo-roo-bah-shee||Vodoo! Voodoo!||Voo-doo! Voo-doo!||Warcraft|
|Goblin||Lok'tar ogar||Lok-tar oh-gar||Snikt! Snikt!||Snikt! Snikt!||Warcraft|
|Draconic||ᛚᛟᚲ ᛞᛟᚹᚨᚺᚲᛁᛃᛁᚾ||Lok do-wah-keen||ᛉᚢ'ᚠᚾ ᚠᛖᚾ ᚠᚨᚺᛚᛁᛚ||Zoo fen fah-leel||Fantasy literature|
Now you have a list of how to say “hello” in over 100 different languages! If you’re just starting your language learning journey, knowing how to greet people in their native language is a great start.
You can learn any language faster if you try to fully immerse yourself. You can do some of your own research on the culture and learn about the social expectations. Try some of the unique culinary dishes.
The easiest way to achieve full immersion is to watch videos made by real native speakers.
However, native media like TV shows, series and movies aren’t necessarily tailored to be language learner-friendly. So, if you want to watch your favorite TV shows in the language you want to learn, you can try a program like FluentU that can craft an educational experience from the content.
So now you’ve got more than 100 diverse ways to say a hearty “hello.” Don’t stop there—feel free to get out there and learn even more about these languages. Also, check out our post on the coolest foreign names from around the world.