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How to Say Hello in 100 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!

Contents

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.”

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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.

2. Japanese

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.”

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3. Korean

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. 

4. French 

Formal: Bonjour

Informal: Salut

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.

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5. Spanish

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.

6. German

Formal: Hallo

Informal: Hi

Hallo is suitable for just about every situation, but you can also say Hi or Hey when greeting people in informal settings. 

7. Italian

Formal: Salve

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Informal: Ciao

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”.

8. Hindi

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.

9. Greek

Formal: Χαίρετε (Herete)

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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. 

10. Russian 

Formal: Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte)

Informal: Привет (Privet)

While Здравствуйте is mostly used in formal situations, Привет is suitable for greeting a friend or your peer. 

11. Portuguese

Formal: Olá 

Hi, I'm Alan! I became obsessed with learning Chinese, Japanese, and Korean in 2001, and managed to get good enough to work professionally in those languages as a management consultant.

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Informal: Oi

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. 

12. Arabic 

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. 

13. Latin

Formal: Salve

Informal: Heus 

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.”

14. Inuktitut

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:

LanguageFormal HelloEnglish ReadingInformal HelloEnglish Reading
AfrikaansGoeie dagGoo-uh deyHalloHah-lo
AlbanianTungjatjetaToon-jat-yeh-taTungToong
AmharicSelamSe-lam
ArabicSalam aleikoumAss-suh-lah-muh alay-kumMarhabaMar-ha-ba
ArmenianBarevBah-revPari yegakPah-ree yeh-gak
AzerbaijaniSalamSah-lam
BasqueKaixoKie-shoEgun onEh-gun on
BelarusianДобры дзеньDoh-bri dzinПрывітаннеPri-vee-tan-nye
Bengaliনমস্কারNo-mo-shkar
BosnianZdravoZdrah-voĆaoChao
BulgarianЗдравейтеZdra-vei-teЗдрастиZdra-sti
Burmeseမင်္ဂလာပါMin-ga-la-barဟယ်လိုHai-lo
CatalanHolaO-la
CebuanoKumustaKoo-moos-tahHiHi
Chinese (Simplified)你好Nee how
CroatianDobar danDo-bar danBokBok
CzechDobrý denDob-ree denAhojAh-hoy
DanishGoddagGoh-dahgHejHey
DutchGoedemiddagGoo-duh-mih-dahgHalloHah-lo
EstonianTereTeh-reh
FilipinoKamustaKah-moo-stahHiHi
FinnishHyvää päivääHoo-vaa pie-vaaHeiHey
FrenchBonjourBon-zhoorSalutSa-loo
GalicianOlaOh-la
GeorgianგამარჯობაGah-mar-joh-ba
GermanGuten TagGoo-ten tahgHalloHah-lo
GreekΓεια σαςYah sas
Gujaratiનમસ્તેNah-mahs-tay
Haitian CreoleBonjouBon-jooSalutSa-loo
HausaSannuSan-nuSalamaSa-la-ma
HebrewשלוםSha-lomהייHi
Hindiनमस्तेNah-mas-tay
HungarianJó napotYo nah-potSziaSee-ya
IcelandicGóðan dagGoh-than dahgHallóHal-lo
IgboNdewoN-deh-wohKeduKeh-doo
IndonesianSelamat siangSe-lah-mat see-yangHaiHi
IrishDia duitDee-ah gwitHaighHay
ItalianBuongiornoBwon-jor-noCiaoChow
JapaneseこんにちはKon-nee-chee-wahどうもDoh-moh
Kannadaನಮಸ್ಕಾರNam-as-karaಹಾಯ್Haay
KazakhСәлеметсіз беSah-leh-met-siz beСәлемSah-lem
Khmerសួស្តីSoo-aste
Korean안녕하세요Ahn-nyeong-hah-se-yo안녕Ahn-nyeong
KurdishSilavSee-lavSelamSe-lam
KyrgyzАссаламу алейкумAs-sa-la-mu ah-lay-kumСаламSah-lam
LaoສະບາຍດີSa-bai dee
LatinSalveSal-vay
LatvianLabdienLab-dee-enSveikiSwey-kee
LithuanianLabasLah-bahsSveikiSvey-ki
LuxembourgishMoienMoy-enSalutSa-loo
MacedonianЗдравоZdra-voЧаоChao
MalagasyManao ahoanaMah-now ah-wah-nahSalamaSa-la-ma
MalaySelamat tengahariSe-lah-mat ten-gah ha-riHaiHi
Malayalamനമസ്കാരംNah-mas-kah-ram
MalteseBonguBong-goo
MaoriKia oraKee-ah or-ah
Marathiनमस्तेNah-muh-skar
MongolianСайн байна ууSain bai-na uu
Nepaliनमस्कारNam-as-tay
NorwegianGod dagGoh dagHeiHey
PashtoଶୁଣିବେSa-lam
PolishDzień dobryDzyen dob-riCześćChesht
PortugueseBom diaOh-laOiOi
Punjabiਸਤ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲSut sree a-kalਹੈਲੋHello
RomanianBună ziuaBoo-nah zee-wahSalutSa-loot
RussianЗдравствуйтеZdra-stvooy-tyeПриветPree-vyet
SamoanTalofaTah-lo-fah
SerbianЗдравоZdra-voĆaoChao (Chao)
SesothoDumelaLoo-meh-lah
ShonaMhoroMho-ro
SindhiسلامSa-lam
Sinhalaආයුබෝවන්Hay-lo
SlovakDobrý deňDob-ree denAhojAh-hoy
SlovenianDober danDoh-ber dahnŽivjoZhee-vyo
SomaliMaalin wanaagsanIs-kah war-anSida wadankaSee-da wuh-dank-a
SpanishBuenos díasBway-nos dee-asHolaO-la
SwahiliWilujeng enjingHa-ba-reeHujamboHoo-jam-bo
SwedishGod dagGohd dahgHejHey
TajikСаломSa-lom
Tamilவணக்கம்Vah-nak-kamஹாய்Hi
Teluguనమస్కారంNa-mas-teyహాయ్Hi
ThaiสวัสดีSa-wat-dee
TurkishMerhabaMer-ha-baSelamSe-lam
TurkmenДобрий деньSah-lem
UkrainianВітаюVi-ta-yuПривітPri-vit
UrduسلامSa-lamہیلوHello
UzbekSalomSa-lom
VietnameseXin chàoSin chowChàoChow
WelshBore daHe-loSut maeSit my
XhosaMoloMo-lo
YiddishהעלאHa-lo
YorubaBáwo niBah-woh
ZuluSawubonaSa-woo-boh-nah

Hello in Fantasy Languages

From Middle Earth to Westeros, check out how to say hello in some fun fantasy languages:

LanguageFormal HelloEnglish ReadingInformal HelloEnglish ReadingOrigin
Elvish (Sindarin)SuiladSoo-ladMae govannenMy go-van-nenJ.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
Elvish (Quenya)Auta i lomeOw-ta ee lo-mayMalallo leMa-la-lo layJ.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
Elven RunesᛋᚢᛁᛚᚨᛞSooladᛗᚨᛖ ᚷᚩᚡᚨᚾᚾᛖᚾMay go-van-nenJ.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
DwarvishKhazâd ai-mênuKha-zad eye-may-nooBaruk Khazâd! Khazâd aimênu!Ba-ruk Kha-zad! Kha-zad eye-may-noo!J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
Dwarf RunesᚺᛖᚱᚨHairaᛖᛖᛈ! ᚺᚨᛋᚱᛖᛞᛏᚨ!Ay-ya! Har-ed-da!J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
Dragon TongueLok dovahkiinLok do-vah-keenZu'u fen fahliil do naanZoo fen fah-leel do nanThe Elder Scrolls series
KlingonnuqneHNook-nehQapla'Kup-lahStar Trek
ValyrianPryjatPri-yatRytsasRit-sasGame of Thrones
DothrakiM'athchomaroonMahth-cho-ma-roonHash yer dothraeHash yer doth-rayGame of Thrones
High ValyrianAōha ēngosAh-oh-ha eng-osValar morghulisVa-lar mor-ghoo-lisGame of Thrones
Na'viKaltxìKal-tseeEywa ngahuAy-wa ngah-hooAvatar
FaeDia duitDee-ah gwitHaighHayFolklore
GnomishGnufrotzGnoo-frotzHellosirHel-lo-sirFantasy literature
OrcishLok'tarLok-tarDabuDa-booWarcraft
TrollishGurubashiGoo-roo-bah-sheeVodoo! Voodoo!Voo-doo! Voo-doo!Warcraft
GoblinLok'tar ogarLok-tar oh-garSnikt! Snikt!Snikt! Snikt!Warcraft
Draconicᛚᛟᚲ ᛞᛟᚹᚨᚺᚲᛁᛃᛁᚾLok do-wah-keenᛉᚢ'ᚠᚾ ᚠᛖᚾ ᚠᚨᚺᛚᛁᛚZoo fen fah-leelFantasy 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.

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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

Ciao!

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