1. Acknowledge that the mostly-universal, non-verbal way
to greet others is a simple handshake or wave in the English-speaking
world. However, other gestures such as various forms of bowing,
embraces, or even applause are used as non-verbal greetings in other
parts of the world. Always make sure you are not insulting anyone with
uncommon gestures in that particular country.
2. Look up the language in which you would like to say "hello" or "good morning." You will find suggestions on that line. Pronounce the suggested wording.
Afrikaans — Hallo (hello) pronounced Hu-llo
Alibamu (Southeastern Native American) — chíkmàa
Amharic — "tena yistelegn," which is very formal. You can also say "Selam."
Albanian — Tungjatjeta (pronounced To-ngyat-yeta) means have a long life, or c'kemi (hi)
A'Leamona — Tel nĩdo (good day), pronounced tehl-neye-doe
Arabic — صباح الخير (good morning) pronounced sabahou e l kheir
, مساء الخير (good evening) pronounced masaou el kheir; note
that Kh-خ is pronounced from the back of the throat. mArHAbAN-مرحبا
(Hello) pronounced Mar-ha-ban Other common greetings are Ahalan
American Sign Language (ASL) — To say "hello," squeeze the fingers in your right hand together, touch the tips of your fingers to your forehead, palm facing outward, and move your hand away from your forehead in a sort of saluting motion.
Armenian — barev or parev
Austrian — Grüßgott (formal, pronounced gree'assgott)/ Servus (Informal, said See-ahh-vass, not like the Latin word)
Azerbaijani — salam (hello) pronounced Sa-lam
Bahamian English — hello (formal), hi or heyello (informal), what you sayin', Bui/Bey? (very informal - slang)
Basque — kaixo (pronounced kai-show), egun on (morning; .pronounced egg-un own), gau on (night; pronounced gow own)
Bodo — Wai or Oi or Oye Informal saying of hello to someone.
Like wife saying wai to husband. But formally add title after
wai...e.g, to call sister wai binanao beo fwi (meaning: come
Bremnian — koali (pronounced kowalee)
Breton - Degemer Mad
British Sign Language (BSL) — Dominant hand wave, from core to outside with the palm facing towards recipient as the hand moves bring it into a thumbs up gesture (Formal 'Hello'), Give two thumbs up (Informal Literal Translation 'well?')
Bulgarian — zdravei, zdraveite (to many), zdrasti (informal), Dobro utro (morning), Dobar den (day), Dobar vecher (evening)
Cambodian (Khmer) — Sua s'dei (informal), Jum Reap Sour (formal) good morning, Arun Sua s'dei good afternoon, Tivea Sua s'dei good evening, Sayoan Sua s'dei good night, Reatrey Sua s'dei good bye, Lea Hoy (informal), Jum Reap Lea (formal)
Cape-Verdean Creole — oi, olá, Entao or Bon dia
Catalan — hola (pronounced o-la), bon dia (pronounced bon dee-ah) good morning, bona tarda (bona tahr-dah) good afternoon, bona nit (bona neet)good night. You can also say just bones (bo-nahs) to make it informal.
Cayuga (Northern Iroquois) — sga-noh
Chamorro — hafa adai (hello/what's up?), hafa? (informal), howzzit bro/bran/prim/che'lu? (informal), sup (informal) and all other English greetings
Chichewa — moni bambo! (to a male), moni mayi! (to a female), Muribwanji (moori-bwanji) is used often as a generalized greeting to everyone.
Chubby — Shabe Yabebabe Yeshe
Chinese — In both Cantonese and Mandarin, it is written as 你好. Cantonese is nei* ho or lei ho (pronounced ne ho or lay ho) and Mandarin is nǐ hǎo (pronounced, nee how) (remember the tones). In Mandarin you can also say 早上好 (zǎo shàng hǎo) for "Good Morning" (pronounced dsao shung haw). In Taiwan, this is not common and people informally use the shorter 早 (zǎo, pronounced dsao).
Congolese — mambo
Cook Islands Maori — Kia orana (hello)
Cree — Tansi (pronounced Tawnsay)
Croatian - bok (informal), dobro jutro (morning), dobar
dan (day), dobra večer (evening), laku noć (night)
Czech — dobré ráno (until about 8 or 9 a.m.), dobrý den (formal), dobrý večer (evening), ahoj (informal; pronounced ahoy)
English - American — hello (formal), hi (informal), hey
(informal,) yo (informal)
English - England — How do you do? (formal), Good Morning
(formal), Good Afternoon (formal), Good Evening (formal)
hello (less formal), HowDo? (informal), Watchya
(informal), Alright (informal) hi (informal), Hiya
English - Ireland — hello (formal), hi (informal), hey
(informal,) yo (informal), Hiya (informal)
English - Scotland — hello (formal), hi (informal), hey
(informal,) yo (informal), Hiya (informal), howzitgaun
(informal, means "Hello, how are you?")
Indonesian — halo (hello), selamat pagi (morning), selamat
siang (afternoon), selamat malam (evening)
Irish — Dia duit (pronounced "Dee-ah ghwit"; also means "God Be With You")
Islamic Greeting — السّلام عليكم (peace be upon you) pronounced
Italian — ciào (pronounced chow; informal; also means "goodbye"),
buon giorno (pronounced bwohn geeornoh; good morning;
formal), buon pomeriggio (pronounced bwohn pohmehreejeeoh;
good afternoon; formal), buona sera (pronounced bbwoonah
sehrah; good evening; formal)
Japanese — おはよう（ございます）ohayoou (gozaimasu) (pronounced o-ha-yo
(go-zai-mass); good morning), こんにちは konnichi ha (pronounced
kon-nee-chee-wa; daytime or afternoon), こんばんは konbanha (pronounced
kon-ban-wa; evening); もし もし moshi moshi (pronounced mo-shee
mo-shee; when calling/answering the phone); どうも doumo (pronounced
doh-moh; informal way of thanking/greeting, but means countless
other things as well so only use when context makes sense)
Kazakh — Salem (hello), Kalay zhagday (How are you?)
Klingon — nuqneH? [nook-neck] (literally: "what do you want?")
Konkani — Namaskar, Namaskaru (I bow to thee, formal)', Dev baro dis div (may God bless you with a good day, informal)
Korean — 안녕하세요ahn nyeong ha se yo (formal), 안녕ahn nyeong (informal; can also be used to mean "goodbye")(when
calling/answering the phone"; 여보세요 yeo-bo-sae-yo (prounounced
Kurdish — choni, roj bahsh (day; pronounced rohzj bahsh)
Lao — sabaidee (pronounced sa-bai-dee)
Latin (Classical) — salve (pronounced sal-way; when talking
to one person), salvete (pronounced sal-way-tay; when talking
to more than one person), ave (pronounced ar-way; when talking
to one person; when talking to someone respected), avete
(pronounced ar-way-tay; when talking to more than one respected
Latvian — labdien, sveiki, chau (informal; pronounced chow).
Lingala — mbote
Lithuanian — laba diena (formal), labas, sveikas
(informal; when speaking to a male), sveika (informal; when
speaking to a female), sveiki (informal; when speaking to
more than one person).
Lojban — coi
Luxembourgish — moïen (pronounced MOY-en)
Slavomacedonian — Здраво (Zdravo; meaning Hello), Добро утро (Dobro utro; meaning Good morning), Добар ден (Dobar den; meaning Good day), Добро вечер (Dobro vecher; meaning Good evening)
Malayalam — namaskkaram
Malaysian — Selamat datang, which can also mean welcome (pronounced seh-la-mat dah-tang) or you could say apa khabar, which can also mean "how are you" (pronounced a-pa ka-bar), Hai (informal, pronounced hi)
Maldivian (Dhivehi) — kihineth (meaning "how" - the common way of greeting)
Maori — kia ora (kia o ra) (literally "be well/healthy" and is translated as an informal "hi." This term has also been adopted by English speakers in New Zealand), tena koe, ata marie, morena (good morning)
Polish — dzień dobry (formal), witaj (hello) cześć (hi, pronounced, "cheshch")
Portuguese — oi, boas, olá or alô (informal);
bom dia or bons dias (good morning, good day, used
before noon or before the noon meal); boa tarde or boas
tardes (good afternoon, used after noon or after the noon meal,
until twilight); boa noite or boas noites (good evening
and good night, used after twilight).
Punjabi — sat sri akal
Rajasthani (Marwari) — Khamma Ghani sa, Ram Ram sa
Romanian — salut, buna dimineata (formal; morning), buna
ziua (formal; daytime), buna seara (formal; evening),
buna (usually when speaking to a female pronounced boo-nah
Serbian — zdravo, ćao (informal), dobro jutro (morning, pronounced dobro yutro), dobar dan (afternoon), dobro veče (pronounced dobro vetcheah; evening), laku noć (night), do viđenja (see you soon)
Sinhala — a`yubowan (pronounced au-bo-wan; meaning "long live")kohomada? (ko-ho-ma-da; meaning how are you?)
Slovak — dobrý deň (formal), ahoj (pronounced ahoy), čau (pronounced chow) and dobrý (informal abbreviation)
Slovenian — živjo (informal; pronounced zhivyo), zdravo (informal), dobro jutro (morning), dober dan (afternoon), dober večer (evening; pronounced doh-bear vetch-air)
South African English — hoezit (pronounced howzit; informal)
Southern Sami — "buaregh"
Spanish — hola (pronounced with a silent 'h': o-la), alo,
qué onda (South America; very informal, like "what's up";
pronounced keh ondah), qué hay, (South America; very informal),
qué pasa (Spain, informal), buenos días ("good morning"),
buenas tardes (afternoon and early evening), buenas noches
(late evening and night). These three forms can be made informal
by saying "buenas". Also Qué Transa (Mexico; very informal,
like "what's up", pronounced keh trahansa). Qué tál (meaning
"what's up", pronounced kay tal)
Sulka — marot (morning; pronounced mah-rote [rolled r and lengthened o], mavlemas (afternoon; v is pronounced as a fricative b), masegin (evening; g is pronounced as a fricative)
Swahili — jambo? or hujambo?, which loosely translates as 'how are you?', are commonly used but you may also say Habari gani? (What is the news?)
Swedish — tja (very informal; pronounced sha), hej (informal; pronounced hey), god dag (formal)
Tagalog (Pilipino - Philippines) — Kumusta po kayo? (formal, means "How are you, sir or madam", pronounced "kuh-muh-stah poh kah-yoh"), Kumusta ka? (informal, means "how are you?", "kuh-muh-stah kah"). You can also add na when talking to someone you haven't see in a while, Kumusta na po kayo? or Kumusta ka na?. Magandang umaga po (Good morning, pronounced "mah-gan-dang oo-mah-gah poh"), Magandang hapon po (Good afternoon, "mah-gan-dang ha-pon poh"), Magandang gabi po (Good evening or night, "mah-gan-dang gah-beh poh"), Magandang tanghali po (good day, literally midday or noon, "mah-gan-dang tang-ha-leh poh"). NOTE: to make these informal greetings, drop po from the end and add the person's first name. Still, some people use words like mare or pare (very informal greeting, mare (pronounced "mah-reh") for a close female friend; pare (pronounced "pah-reh") for a close male friend). You may add it either before or after the greeting. Example, Mare, kumusta ka na? or Kumusta ka na, pare?
Tahitian — ia orana
Taiwanese (Hokkien) — Li-ho
Tamil — vanakkam
Telugu — namaskaram, baagunnara (means "how are you?"; formal)
Uzbek — Assalomu Alaykum (Formal) Salom(Informal) YM
Ung Tongue — Hello (This is a made-up language, like Pig latin.
In it 'hello' is pronounced Hung-ee-lung-lung-oh.)
Urdu - adaab or salam or as salam alei kum (the
full form, to which the reply would be waa lay kum assalaam
in most cases)
Vietnamese — xin chào (pronounced sin CHOW)
Welsh — shwmae (South Wales; pronounced "shoe-my"), "Sut Mae" North Wales (pronounced "sit my"), or S'mae (pronounced "S' my"), or simply Helo
Yiddish — sholem aleikhem (literally "may peace be unto you"),
borokhim aboyem or gut morgn (morning), gutn ovnt
(evening), gutn tog (day), gut shabbos (only used
on the Sabbath)
Yoruba — E kaaro (Good morning), E kaasan (Good afternoon), E kaaale (Good evening,) O da aaro (good night)
Zulu — sawubona for one person, sanibonani for multiple people. Sawubona translates to mean 'we see you' and you should respond by saying yebo, meaning 'yes'
A simple "hello", "hi", wave, handshake, or kiss can be understood
by most people, although this may be offensive, depending what culture
the person you are greeting is from.
Take the time to learn the correct pronunciation. This not only helps to avoid confusion; it is also common courtesy. For example, many languages have rolled r's.
Do not look Navajo in the eye. It is rude in their culture, and you may receive rudeness in return.
When Navajos shake hands, they don't grab each other's hands in a tight handshake. They simply do a 'limp handshake,' and what counts is simply a light squeeze.
Make sure you use the appropriate greeting for the situation. For example, in English, we use the more formal "good morning", "good afternoon" or "good evening" to greet clients in the workplace, but the informal "hello" to greet colleagues, friends, and family.
Each culture and language has a different form of body language.
Hand-shaking is common courtesy in Western countries such as Australia,
England and America, while Korean and Japanese people keep a distance
and bow, and Ukrainians are affectionate and hug or kiss. Maltese
people like to kiss each other on both cheeks when you know the person
well, and shake hands if it is not very informal. In India, a Namaste
is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together,
palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of their chest.
Shaking hands is more common among men especially in cities, but a
man should not shake hands with a woman unless she offers her hand
first. Also, in India, if you are greeting a person of great respect,
you should bend down and touch the person's feet, and then your chest.
If you visit another English-speaking country, do not imitate their accents or use their slang, as this could lead you to appear rude or presumptuous. Misusing and/or mispronouncing can make you appear inept.
The cultures of various places are obviously different, and the languages of those places likewise reflect this.
If you pronounce these words wrong, and someone points it out to you, it could be embarrassing, so try to learn the correct pronunciation! It doesn't matter too much if you do make a mistake, and most people will be sympathetic about it, but it is common courtesy to try.
In Europe, waving the hand back and forth can mean “No.” To wave “good-bye,” raise the palm outward and wag the fingers in unison, This is also a serious insult in Nigeria if the hand is too close to another person’s face.