Hello In Other Languages: Common Greetings
In English, we use the word ‘hello’ as a catch-all phrase for greeting and meeting just about anyone. We use it for meeting new people, reacquainting with old friends and addressing others.
We even stick “Hello, My Name Is…” stickers on our lapels when attending a conference or a networking event.
The obvious alternative to the word ‘hello’ is ‘hi’ in English. If we want to be very informal or even if we
want to add a little sarcasm to the greeting, we use the shorter form.
Other languages have words similar to the English ‘hello,’ and native speakers use these words similarly. In English, we also have a variety of words and phrases that essentially mean the same thing as hello — more or less.
One of the most commonly used synonyms of ‘hello’ used to be ‘good day.’ These days, you don’t hear many Americans greeting each other by saying, “Good day,” but people in other countries still use this phrase commonly.
Saying ‘hello’ in other languages is one of the easiest ways to learn how to greet someone.
Hello In French
The French often greet each other by using their version of ‘good day.’ When greeting a native French-speaker, you might say, “Bonjour, comment allez-vous ?” Or, “Good day, how are you?”
The direct translation of ‘hello’ is ‘allo.’ The two words are pronounced similarly. The French pronounce it ah-low, while in English we say, “Hell-low.”
Hello In Spanish
Spanish-speakers (both in Latin American and Spain) say, “Buenos días,” (much like the French). But the direct translation of ‘hello’ in Spanish is ‘hola.’ It’s very common to greet someone you know by saying, “Hola, como estas?” Or, “Hello, how are you?”
If you’re saying hello in other languages, such as Spanish, when meeting someone for the first time, you usually say, “Mucho gusto,” or, “nice to meet you.”
Hello In German
The Germans have a word that means ‘hello’ that’s similar to the French ‘allo.’ In Germany, you’d say, “Halo,” when you want to say ‘hi’ to someone. It’s pronounced the same as the French word — but obviously spelled differently.
Hello In Italian
Italian is one of the few romance languages on this list that doesn’t have a word that sounds like ‘hello.’ Instead, Italians say, “Ciao!” when they want to say hello. They also use this word to say ‘goodbye,’ too! Other words that mean ‘hello’ include ‘pronto’ and ‘salve.’ If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you could also say, ‘piacere,’ which means ‘pleased to meet you.’
Hello In Russian
The Russian word for ‘hello’ is ‘privet.’ Since Russia uses an alphabet that is different from that of English and the romance languages, the way you’d see this written in Russian is ‘Привет.’
Hello In Mandarin Chinese
One of the most commonly used phrases in Mandarin Chinese is their version of ‘hello,’ ‘ni hao.’ In Mandarin, the word is written using symbols. ‘Ni hao’ looks like 你好 in Mandarin. This word is also one of the most commonly known Mandarin words spoken by those who do not speak Mandarin as a native language.
Hello In Portuguese
Portuguese has its own version of ‘hello’ that might not look like the word in other romance languages but sounds just like it. The Portuguese say, “Olá,” when they want to greet someone casually.
Hello In Japanese
Can you guess how to say ‘hello’ in Japanese? This is one of the most commonly known ways to say ‘hello’ in other languages. If you sound out the word in English, it looks like: Kon’nichiwa. If you want to write it using Japanese symbols, it looks like: こんにちは.
Hello In Korean
Korean, like many languages used in Asia, uses its own alphabet, different from the English alphabet. In Korea, it’s called hangul. If you want to write the word ‘hello’ in Korean, you’d do so with these symbols: 여보세요.
The English phonetic spelling of the word looks like: Yeoboseyo. Saying ‘hello’ in other languages, such as Korean is an easy way to impress your friends who aren’t native English speakers.
Hello In Arabic
Arabic is spoken in 25 countries, so you’d hear this word that means ‘hello’ in Egypt, Iraq, Jorday, Kuwait, Morocco and Qatar, just to name a few. If you want to sound out the word to say aloud, you’d say, “Marhabaan.” The written words looks like: هتاف للترحيب.