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About Translating Greetings

All languages have words or phrases that are spoken when people meet or see each other.  These "words that are spoken when people meet or see each other", or examples of these words and phrases, are what I have included on my website regardless of their literal meanings. 

However, greetings are very culture-specific.  Some cultures have very lengthy, complex greeting sequences that go beyond "hello, how are you?" into asking about a person's household, family, work, etc.; others have very short greetings.  In some cultures it is considered very polite (even expected) to ask "where are you going?" to a person you see passing by; in others it is considered impolite to ask that same question.  In some cultures if you are asked "how are you", you are expected to say "fine"; in others, you are expected to give an honest explanation of how you are feeling.  In some situations, it can be impolite to use any greeting at all; for example, in many cultures it is considered respectful to wait for the other person to greet you first, in some situations it may be impolite to speak to certain people, and in many cultures it can be impolite to greet a person whom you have already greeted earlier in the day (since this implies that you have forgotten about the first greeting).  Examples of some of these contexts are listed below.

In some languages greeting words and phrases are very standardized (the same thing is always said each time someone greets someone else), and in other languages the greetings that are used may vary from person to person and from one time to another.  For languages that don't have "standardized" greetings, the greetings listed on this site should be considered examples of the types of greetings that are used. 

Because of this diversity, it is often not possible to directly translate an English greeting ("hello", "good morning", etc.) into a different language to be used in the exact same situations.  On this site, notes next to the translations indicate how the greeting should be used ("morning greeting," "greeting spoken to a person who is passing by," "welcome greeting," etc.)

Examples of Different Types of Greetings

"Time-of-Day" Greetings

In English we have time-specific greetings such as good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and we have cultural expectations about how they are used (for example, our use of "good morning" ends right at noon, which isn't always true for other languages or even for some dialects of English; on the other hand, the specific time when "good afternoon" should become "good evening" is more ambiguous). Other languages that use time-specific greetings divide up the day differently, with specific greetings for sunrise, early morning, late morning, midday, early evening, late evening, sunset, late night, morning before dawn, etc.  (Some languages of Colombia take this a step further with greetings based on the the time of day plus the weather, such as a specific greeting for a cloudy morning, a rainy morning, an afternoon with clear skies, a windy afternoon, and so on.)

Language Greeting Usage and meaning
Achi' Sakla early morning greeting
Awa-Cuaiquer Wantish kɨntɨte morning greeting used when it is cloudy
Coeur d'Alene Qhest sq'we'np' evening greeting used at the end of the workday
Cuyonon Mayad nga sirem greeting used at sundown
Eton Mbe mbe n'goré early evening greeting
English Good morning morning greeting used until noon
Filipino Magandang hapon formal afternoon and early evening greeting used from about 2 pm until 7 pm
French Bonjour morning and general daytime greeting
Guambiano Pishiteken morning greeting used when it is raining
Japanese (Izumo) 晩じまして evening greeting used just before and after sunset
Mandjak Kafonu nighttime greeting used just before sunrise
Mòoré Nii sõnre morning greeting used in the late morning, just before noon
Náhuatl Cualli tlayohuan nighttime greeting used after dark
Sakapulteco Xulub' q'iij afternoon greeting used from about 1 pm until 4 pm
Triqui Ranga' early morning greeting used before sunrise
Venda Ndi mathabama late afternoon and early evening greeting
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Languages that have "time of day" greetings also have certain phrases that are not usually used for greeting, and these also vary by language:

Language Not usually used as a greeting More culturally appropriate Explanation
Arabic ظهر الخير مساء الخير /   السلام عليكم "Good evening" or "peace be with you" is used instead of "good afternoon".
Armenian (Eastern) բարի օր բարի երեկո / բարեւ  "Good evening" or "hello" is used instead of "good afternoon".
English Good night Good evening / Hello "Good evening" or "hello" is used instead of "good night".
Finnish Hyvää iltapäivää Hyvää päivää "Good day" is used instead of "good afternoon".
French Bon matin Bonjour "Good day" is used instead of "good morning".
Hebrew צהריים טובים ערב טוב / שלום "Good evening" or "peace" is used instead of "good afternoon".
Icelandic Góðan morgun Góðan daginn "Good day" is used instead of "good morning" and "good afternoon".
Italian Buona mattina Buon giorno "Good day" is used instead of "good morning".
Norwegian God ettermiddag God dag / Hei "Good day" or "hello" is used instead of "good afternoon".
Polish Dobrego popołudnia Dzień dobry "Good day" is used instead of "good afternoon".
Portuguese Boa manhã Bom dia "Good day" is used instead of "good morning".
Russian Доброй ночи Добрый вечер "Good evening" is used instead of "good night".
Slovak Dobré popoludnie Dobrý deň "Good day" is used instead of "good afternoon".
Spanish Buenas mañanas Buenos días "Good day" is used instead of "good morning".
Swedish God eftermiddag God dag / Hej "Good day" or "hello" is used instead of "good afternoon".
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Many languages don't use any time-specific greetings like the ones listed above.  However, some languages which in the past did not traditionally use these greetings have borrowed them from a language that does, such as English, Spanish, or French.  In some cases (such as those in the first list below) the "borrowed" greeting incorporates the actual words used in the original language; in other cases, the "borrowed" greeting uses a literal word-for-word translation (calque) of the original greeting. 
In many languages the native greeting is more culturally appropriate than the "borrowed" one; in other languages (such as Cavineña in the chart below) the "borrowed" greeting is used more commonly than the traditional native one.


Language Borrowed greeting Native greeting Explanation
Aymara Winus tiyus Kamisaki "Winus tiyus" is borrowed from Spanish "buenos días".
Cavineña Bandia Apudajudya "Bandia" is borrowed from Portuguese "bom dia".
Chamorro Buenas tatdes Håfa adai "Buenas tatdes" is borrowed from Spanish "buenas tardes".
Chuwabu Bom dia Muliba "Bom dia" is borrowed from Portuguese "bom dia".
Iaai Boosuu Oobut "Boosuu" is borrowed from French "bonjour".
Inuktitut (Greenlandic) Kutaa Inuugujoq "Kutaa" is borrowed from Danish "goddag".
Koasati Bosó Cikáʔ "Bosó" is borrowed from French "bonjour".
!Kung-Ekoka Meta ǂKhai tsi "Meta" is borrowed from Afrikaans "(goeie) middag".
Maiwala Goody Teinani "Goody" is borrowed from English "good day".
Quechua (Cusco) Wuynus diyas Allin p'unchay "Wuynus diyas" is borrowed from Spanish "buenas días".  
Yucatán Maya Bwenas tardes Biix a beel "Bwenas tardes" is borrowed from Spanish "buenas tardes".
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Language Calque Native greeting Explanation
Apatani Alo aya No nittan "Alo aya" is a calque of "good day".
Bardi Gorna mooyoon Anggi jawal "Gorna mooyoon" is a calque of "good morning".
Binandere Sipo dave Oro "Sipo dave" is a calque of "good morning".
Cheyenne Pâhávevóonä'o Haáahe "Pâhávevóonä'o" is a calque "good morning".
Dakota Anpetu waste Hau koda "Hinhana waste" is a calque of "good day".
Dimasa Sainja ham Juthai "Sainja ham" is a calque of "good afternoon".
Dobu Gonagona boboana Kagutoki "Gonagona boboana" is a calque of "good morning".
Gapapaiwa Boiboi biibiina Kiiwa kiiwa "Boiboi biibiina" is a calque of "good morning".
Guhu-Samane Saunaba qidza Dzoobe "Saunaba qidza" is a calque of "good morning".
Igbo (Enugu) Ụṭúṭù ọma Ì sáala chí "Ụṭúṭù ọma" is a calque of "good morning"
Maiwala Malatomtom ahiahina Teinani "Malatomtom ahiahina" is a calque of "good morning".
Miwok (N. Sierra) Kuchi kawləpa Michəksəs "Kuchi kawləpa" is a calque of "good morning".
Q'eqchi' Chaab'il li ewu Sahil ch'oolejil "Chab'il li ewu" is a calque of "good evening".
Woleaian Gachiu lettaboli yalo Buutogo mwongoo "Gachiu lettaboli yalo" is a calque of "good afternoon"
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Rather than an equivalent of "good morning", morning greetings in many languages involve a question about how the person slept or woke up:
    

Language Greeting Meaning
Bassa Mɔɔ́ɛnǹ did you sleep? 
Bemba Mwashibuka shani? have you woken up?
Bilen Warka krukwma? did you enjoy the night?
Cicipu 'Úngò 'ũ? you've risen?
Dagbani Agbire? how did you sleep?
Dogon (Dogul Dom) Jam yai? did you have a good night?
Dogon (Kolum So) Èlàá nàyè? did you spend the night well?
Gusii Kwabokire? how was the night?
|Gwi Tsamkwa|tge? are your eyes open?
Kanuri Ndâ wadu? how is waking up?
Kasem N na zaŋɩ tɩn? how did you get up?
Konni Duasi viina? was your lying-down good?
Kuria Waraayi? did you sleep?
Lingala Olalaki malámu? how did you sleep?
Makwe Salááma jákulámúúka? did you wake up well?
Maninkakan Here sira? did you sleep in peace?
Miya Fà tláku sùw ndá? how have you arisen?
Mòoré Y gãase? did you sleep well?
Náhuatl Quen otomotlanexiti tojuatzin? how did you wake up?
Nama khaits go? did you sleep well?
Ngas Ăyal ā? have you risen?
Nupe Wo ã́sãle aní? have you awakened already?
Quechua (Huallaga) Allichu waräshcanqui? did you come well into the dawn?
Sekpele Alabe kpoo o? did you lie quietly?
Siwu Màturi-ɔ rɛ-ɛ? did your people sleep well?
Soninke Wii ranho bari? how was the sleep?
Spanish ¿Cómo amaneciste? how did you rise?
Sukuma Ng'wa misha kinehe? how did you wake up?
Tarahumara Piri vi mure? what did you dream?
Tariana

Kawhitha phia?

are you awake?
Tucano Wã'cãtí? did you wake up?
Tampulma I dɛ chɔ doo weri dusum tiu? did you sleep well last night?
Wayampi Ɔwatɛ pɛlɛkɛ? have you slept well?
Wayuu Kasa pulapuinka? what did you dream?
Zarma Ni kani baani? did you sleep well?
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Welcome-Type Greetings

In many native American and Australian aboriginal languages (and in some languages spoken elsewhere in the world), there is not a direct translation for "hello" (or "good morning," etc) the way these greetings are used in English.  However, most of these languages do have phrases that are used to welcome visitors, announce a person's arrival, or ask about that person's travel.  Therefore, many of these words of greeting should be spoken to a visitor rather than spoken by the visitor.
 
Language Greeting Usage and meaning
Arikara Nawáh weteenaxiína greeting spoken to a visitor, "now you have arrived"
Caddo Haʔahat háhtaybáws ah general greeting, "it's good to see you"
Cheyenne Epêhéva'e tséxo'êhneto welcome greeting, "it is good that you came"
Chol Wokolix awälä welcome greeting, "thank you"
Columbai-Wenatchi X̌ašt kʷ čjučx welcome greeting, "I'm glad you arrived"
Ditidaht ʔuuʕaaqaƛs ʔuduuƛ duubx̣suw hacseeʔiy welcome greeting to a group, "I'm happy that you all came"
Eyak Awa'ahdahaanda'laxsa'a'ch'i welcome greeting, "thank you for coming here"
Guguyimidjir Nganthaanthirr gadiiwawuwi welcome greeting by a group of people, "we are happy to see you"
Kiowa Dày o dày mà chan welcome greeting, "I'm glad you all came"
Maricopa Nyyuum 'iiwaa xotk welcome greeting, "it's good to see you"
Miami Teepahki neeyolaani welcome greeting, "I am glad to see you"
Mòoré M puus kiende welcome greeting, "thank you for coming"
Nyunga Ngaany djoorabiny noonook djinanginy welcome greeting, "I'm happy to see you"
Okanagan Kʷ͜   ckicx, kn͜   n̓pyil̓s welcome greeting, "you've arrived, I'm happy"
Pááfang Kilissou pwe siaa pwal urur sefaan welcome greeting, "I am thankful that we meet again"
Pomo Mii garrsa q'odii'eh welcome greeting, "I'm happy to see you"
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Some of the greetings listed on this website have literal meanings such as "come in," "have a seat," etc. and should therefore be used in specific situations such as inviting a person into your own house.
 
Language Greeting Usage and meaning
Abipón Añiguiñí sit down
Chontal Ochen come in
Djambarrpunyngu Go räli marrtji come here
Garo Re'baboda come
Jebero Lli'ker'ú come visit me
Kimaragang Indakod do come up
A-Hmao Naox zhaot eat your fill
Malayalam അകത്തേക്കു വരു come in
Pohnpeian Kohdo mwenge come in and eat
Pomo Gaa'gim have a seat
Satawalese Aetiwetiw unload your boat
Ulithian Buudoh hobe mongoay come in and eat
Woleaian Buutogo mwongoo come in and eat
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Question Greetings

Around the world it is very common to greet someone by asking a question about how the person is doing.  The questions used to express "how are you?" have various meanings. Some examples:
 
Language Greeting Literal meaning
Anuak Piny bede nidi? how is your land?
Arabic Kēf addunyā? how is the world?
Bade De wahalau? are there difficulties?
Bedawiyet Natka heru? is there goodness?
Chuj Wach' am ak'o'ol? is your belly good?
Daakaka Kom yas kyun? are you strong?
Dime Ɂahódéé ɂádáá? do you come with good news?
Estonian Kuidas käsi käib? how does your hand go?
Finnish Mitä kuuluu? what is heard?
Ga He ni ojɛ? is everything okay where you are coming from?
Hai||om !Khub õase? nothing bad to tell?
Hmong Koj puas noj qab nyob zoo? do you eat delicious food and live well?
Inuktitut Ajuungilatit? are you well?
Karekare Karà libè? how is the tiredness?
Kinyarwanda Amakuru ki? what's the news?
Kipsigis Chamegei lagok? how are the children?
Lahu Cheh˅ sha la˅? is life easy?
Loma Èlɔ̀tɔ̀ózù wódóvέ? is your body in a clear state?
Machiguenga Tera pimantsigate? are you not sick?
Maidu Mínk'i k'ódojdi hesásak'ade? how are things in your land?
Mixtec (Magdalena Peñasco) Nawa ká'an anua ro? what does your heart say?
Miya Nā̀ tiya múku kùkwa? how did you beat the sun?
Náhuatl Quen mitzmocahuiliya tonaltzintli? how is the heat?
Ngemba Ǹdʒwí lǎ? is the day clear and bright?
Nivaclé Ta ajunash? what is your situation?
Nuer Maalε? is there peace?
Önge Konyune onorange-tanka? how is your nose?
Oromo Nagaadhaa? are you in peace?
Pulaar Tanaa alaa ton? no evil there?
Q'eqchi' Ma sa laach'ool? is your heart comfortable?
Soqotri 'Al ga'ork? aren't you ill?
Tamajeq Mani eghiwan? how is your family?
Tepecano Hašto šištomoyn? what news is there?
Waziri Pashto Beshkullé meshkullé? any misfortunes?
Wali Yɛ dɛwo be sɔ̃? how is your house?
Wolof Jama ngaam? are you at peace?
Yucatán Maya Biix a beel? how is your path?
Zialo Dé vá lɔ̀ vé? what is it here?
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

In many languages it is also considered respectful to greet someone with a different type of question, such as "where are you going?", "where have you come from?", "why have you come?", etc.  Some examples:
 
Language Greeting Literal meaning
Apatani Noh inte he? where have you been?
Aymara Kamisas karakta? where are you coming from?
Baka Mo à dɔ à nyeé? why have you come?
Bantonanon Hariin ka gihalin? where are you coming from?
Dyirbal Wunydjangum nginda baningu? where have you come from?
Ibaloi Toy daban mo? where are you going?
Ipiko Aego imi ama? why have you come?
Kayardild Jinaa nyingka warraju? where are you going?
Kayabi

Ma'ja are te ereko?

what do you want?
Kriol Wijei yu bin kaman? which way are you coming from?
Kuman

Ene siragl pire une?

why have you come?
Meitei Karomda lengbidoyno? where are you going?
Nomatsiguenga Néga píjáque? where are you going?
Nyangumarta Wanyjarningi nyuntu? where did you come from?
Shipibo Miaki jawen keeni joa? what have you come for?
Sowa Ki ti maê sawôt? where have you been?
Tanacross Nts'é dit'aen? what are you doing?
Temiar Malɔɔ? where?
Thayore Nhunt wanthan palyan? which way are you going?
Wayampi Maniwɔlɛwamü ɛlɛyɔ ɛlɛsa aipa? why have you come?
Yokuts (Dumna) Mawit hide? you, where?
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

"Have you eaten?" is a common greeting question, especially in parts of Asia (answering "no" may or may not lead to an invitation to eat, depending on the culture and the situation):
 

Language Greeting Literal meaning
Akha Rhaoq zaq hhaq maq lol? have you eaten yet?
A'tong May sa'akma? have you eaten rice?
Ik Isio nkan? what is eaten?
Iu Mien Meih mv gaengh nyanc hnaangx saa? have you eaten rice?
Kodava Undit aacha? have you eaten?
Korean 식사하셨어요? have you eaten?
Lisu Nu zza zzat woh? have you eaten?
Mandarin Chinese 你吃飯了嗎? have you eaten?
Maonan Shoot mui? have you had a drink?
Matis Autsi mibi pia? what did you eat?
Mlabri อะเอ้อแล have you eaten?
Nepali खाना खानुभयो? have you eaten?
Puyuma Piya ulra meka? have you eaten?
Rukai Tua kudralingasu? have you eaten lunch?
Savji Deccan तुमी जुमन कर्या? have you eaten?
Thao Kiminaniza ihu? have you eaten yet?
Yami Kana ni romyag? have you had breakfast?
Yue Chinese 食咗飯未呀? did you have your meals?
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.
     

Some languages have greetings in which the question asked is "have you come?", "are you here?", "is that you?" etc., or use a statement that means the same thing ("you've come," "you're here," etc.).  Some examples:
  
Language Greeting Literal meaning
Acholi Itye? are you?
Aguaruna Amekaitam? are you you?
East Maroon Creole Da u de? do we exist?
Eyak Ishu? is it you?
Guanano Jimajari muhu? are you here?
Hajong তই আহিলে? you came?
Hopi

Um waynuma?

are you around?
Iatmul Mɨn tamba yamɨn? did you come?
Kaba Démé Ógò tú ù? do you exist?
Karajá Toitere? have you arrived?
Kayapo Djãm ga? is that you?
Korafe Refesa? are you coming?
Lenje Mwawoneka do I see you?
Mekeo Oi loague ma? are you here?
Nanti Poxaxenpi? have you come?
Nuer Jïn a thïn? are you present?
Orokaiva Umo puvete? have you come?
Purari Ni ama anema kei'i? is that you coming?
Sandawe Koosipone? are you here?
Tlingit Waé ákwé? is it you?
Tojolabal Julela? have you come?
Tsonga U kwihi? where are you?
Vai I be nu? are you there?
Waorani Pomi? have you arrived?
Wintu Buham? do you live?
Yakoma Mɔ dàá? are you there?
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Context-Specific Greetings

In many parts of the world it is very common to use specific phrases when greeting someone who is working.  The focus may be on thanking the person for the work they are doing, or on the strength that is needed for the work, the tiredness the working person feels, the money the person is making, or simply an acknowledgement of the fact that the person is busy working.  Some examples:
  
Language Greeting to a person who is working Meaning
Akpes Ǹ bó ni isumù well done
Bemba Mwabomba shani? how are you working?
Dagbani A tuma be wula? how is your work going?
Estonian Jõudu teile strength to you
Ganda Weebale emirimo thank you for your work
Gonja Ansa ni kushung greetings for your work
Japanese (Osaka) もうかりまっか are you making money?
Jenaama Bozo Aa yen kain you and the work
Kabardian |уэхуф| пхъухъу апщий may your business be good
Kyrgyz Иштер кандай? how's work?
Logba Awú atsi otsú loo you are staying on top of it
Manambu

Yara kwan, yawi akur

staying well, do work
Nupe Ke wo wó bè bo nyi nã o? how do you feel with the tiredness?
Paiwan Djavadjavay you've worked hard
Ukrainian Боже помагай (you are) God's helper
Xaasongaxango I nin sege you and (your) weariness
© 2014 - 2015 Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.
        
The usage of the following greetings depends on whether or not you have met the person before, whether the person has been to that place before, or whether you have already greeted the person recently:
  
Language Greeting Usage
Bena Kweuli greeting used when seeing a person for the second time on a given day
Ga Miiŋa nyɛ ekoŋŋ general greeting spoken to a group ("I am greeting you again")
Girawa Pere greeting used when meeting someone for the first time
Guaná Angva'a nak lheya' greeting spoken to a man who is arriving for the first time
Ife Kútsɛ idzɛta greeting to a person you last saw three days ago
Iraqw Idomaa greeting spoken to someone you have already greeted earlier in the same day
Kimiiru Muuga kairi general greeting when seeing someone a second time ("hello again")
Konkomba A pɔɔn daytime greeting used the first time you see a person that day
Malila Mwamba greeting used when you've already greeted a person earlier in the day
Myene Samba greeting used between friends who haven't seen each other for a while
Otomí (Mezquital) Te ra mäntho greeting used when you have already seen someone earlier that day
Potawatomi Bozho greeting used when meeting someone for the first time
Punu Dwi moghya? greeting spoken to a group if you've already seen them earlier in the day
Quichua (N Pastaza) Causaunguichu? how are you? used when speaking to a person you haven't seen for a while
Soqotri Mon 'éykin? how are you? used when you've already seen the person earlier in the day
Themne Panemu-o general greeting spoken to one person who you have seen earlier in the same day
Umbundu Walali morning greeting spoken to a group when you see them for the first time that day
Wichí Lhamtés Vejoz Amtena general greeting to a person you've seen before
Zapotec (S. de Juarez) Čivècàhríhu greeting spoken to someone you have already seen earlier in the same day
© 2015 Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

Many languages have greetings that are only used in specific contexts: when speaking to children, to specific relatives, to women, to men, to elders, or only used by certain groups of people or used in certain situations. Some languages have very specific greetings and salutations used when speaking to people with specific professions, or used by specific families or groups; these types of greetings are particularly common in West African languages.  In some languages it is necessary to ask for some of this information (relationship, profession, origin, destination, etc.) before a greeting can begin or to use a more generic greeting until that information is known. Some examples:
                 
Language Greeting Usage
Achi' Taa' greeting spoken by a child or unmarried person to a married man
Awa-Cuaiquer Alu kɨntaikane morning greeting used when it is raining
Bemba Mwalileni greeting spoken to a person who is eating
Bamanankan Aw ni sɔgɔma morning greeting to a group of people
Bidyogo Minyaaké greeting spoken to a person who is sitting
Budu Ɔtɔwɔ greeting spoken to a person who has just returned from somewhere
Dogon (Ben Tey) Tă pŏ:-nì greeting spoken to a group of people who are getting water at a well
Dogon (Najamba) Àjêm greeting spoken to a group of people who are returning with water
Ebira Otaro greeting spoken to a chief
Edo Lagierua morning greeting used by the Enogie family of Erua
Gros Ventre Ao greeting spoken by a female child
Gurung O mxalla greeting spoken to the second son in a family
Hamer-Banna Bami greeting spoken by one man to another, if they have never gone hunting together
Inor Äššam welcome greeting spoken to a person returning from a trip
Jemez Eshtrura general greeting to a person who is sitting
Kabardian Маф|охъу апщий greeting spoken to a person who is sitting by a fire
Kansa Khe dázhi yayíshe greeting to someone who is going somewhere (moving around or walking)
Kumiai Memeeyu temeyak? how are you? spoken to a person who is lying down
Logba Dze ntá loo greeting used when interrupting a person who is busy
Manam Elelau 'ama'ú'i' greeting spoken to a person who is traveling towards the sea
Mambwe-Lungu Mwalulyata greeting spoken to a returning hunter
Micmac Pjilita'gw welcome greeting spoken to three or more people
Miyako アグ greeting called out to a person who you can't see
Mixtec (SE Nochixtlan) Va'a tikuunda greeting spoken by a woman to another woman or to a man who is her equal
Navajo

Yá'át'ééh shiyáázh

greeting spoken by a woman to a child

Nyangumarta Mirta greeting spoken to an older man who has gray hair
Nupe Bò 'lú le 'bà greeting spoken to a woodcarver
Saami Bures greeting used when shaking hands
Saya Kə mbút tə gàjíya ríghənwà wuri? greeting spoken to a person who travelled on a journey the day before
Samoan Pouliuligia mai a welcome greeting used if someone important arrives after nightfall
Tiwa Popona

general greeting spoken to a man of one's own generation or older

Triqui Ma yugue' greeting spoken by a woman to a man of same age as the speaker
Spanish Bienvenidas welcome greeting spoken to a group of women
Yoruba Àredú o greeting spoken to an artist
© 2014 - 2015 Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.
  
Other Types of Greetings

Some additional examples of the literal meanings of general, standardized greetings in various languages:

  
Language Greeting Origin Literal meaning
Abkhaz

Бзиара убааит

бзиа + ра + у + ба + ааит

may you see something good
Achuar Wiñájai wiña + jai I have come
Ahom Khruptang khrup + tang kneel down
Albanian

Tungjatjeta

(old Albanian) të + u + ngjatë + jeta

may you have a long(er) life
Arabic السلام عليكم السلام + عليكم peace be upon you
Armenian բարև (old Armenian) բարեաւ with safety
Bamanankan I ni tile i + ni + tile you and (the) sun
Bassa Ḿ poòn nyɛ́nɛ́ɛ́no ḿ + poòn + nyɛ́nɛ́ɛ́no I sharpen your teeth
Chinese 你好 你 + 好 (are) you good
Estonian Tere hommikust tervis(t) + hommikus(e) + t health of the morning
Edo Ób'ówie óba + ówie king of the morning
Fijian Ni sa bula ni + sa + bula you are alive
French Bonjour bon + jour good day
Ga He ni ojɛ? he + ni + ojɛ (everything okay in) the place where you come from?
Georgian გამარჯობა გამარჯვება victory
German (Swiss) Grüß Gott Grüß + Gott (may) God greet (you)
Hawaiian Aloha aloha love
Hebrew שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם peace
Hindi नमस्ते (Sanskrit) नमस् + ते (I) bow to you
Hmong Nyob zoo nyob + zoo live well
Huitoto (Murui) Marena ine mare + na + i + ne be well
Icelandic Komdu sæll komdu + sæll come happy
Ik Isiemutio iy? isi + emutí + ó + i(y) what is the news?
Irish Go mbeannaí Dia duit go + m + beannaí  + Dia + duit may God bless you
Iu Mien Meih yiem longx nyei? meih + yiem + longx + nyei do you live well?
Japanese 今日は 今日 + は (+ 御機嫌い + かが + ですか) (how are you) this day?
Kaonde Mutende mutende peace
Kasem Dɩ n waarʋ dɩ + n + waarʋ with your coolness
Korean 안녕하세요 안녕하(다) + 세요 are you at peace?
Kube Singunec sing(i) + u + nec from the night
Lezgi

Вун атуй, рагъ атуй

вун + атуй + рагъ + атуй

you came, sun came
Malay Selamat pagi selamat + pagi safe morning
Maori Kia ora kia + ora be healthy
Marshallese Iokwe eok iokwe + eok love (to) you
Misima Ateu owa ateu + owa you (are my) heart
Mixtec (Alcozauca)

Tánikuu

táa + ní + ku + ú

you are familiar to me
Navajo Yá'át'ééh yá'át'ééh it is good
Nuoso ꋬꂻꈨꅪ ꋬ + ꂻ + ꈨ + ꅪ (zzyr + muo + gge + hni) happy and healthy
Occitan (Gascon) Adishatz a + Diu + siatz be with God
Olo Onom malye onom + malye calm heart
Pintupi-Luritja Palya palya good
Pohnpeain Kaselehlie kasele(h)l + ie most beautiful / most precious
Punjabi ਸਤਿ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ (ਬੋਲੇ ਸੋ ਨਿਹਾਲ) ਸਤਿ + ਸ਼੍ਰੀ + ਅਕਾਲ (he is blessed who says) truth is God
Russian Здравствуйте здравств(овать) + йте be well
Shuar Pujamek puja + mek are you here?
Spanish Buenos días buenos + días + (le de Dios) (may God give you) good days
Tamil வணக்கம் வணக்கம் I honor you
Thai สวัสดี (Sanskrit) स्वस्ति blessing
Timicua Antipola anta + bala + pona + cho brother, have you returned alive?
Tonga (Mozambique) Mwabonwa m + wa + bonwa you are seen
Twi Maadwo me + ma + wo + adwo I wish  you coolness
Tzotzil K'uxi k'usi + xi what (do you) say?
Zulu Sawubona si + ya + wu + bona we see you
Zuñi K'ettsannishhi to' atu kʔettsannišši + toʔ + ʔa + tu may you go with joy
© 2014 - 2015  Jennifer Runner. All rights reserved.

 
Purpose of this Website

A greeting is a starting point: it is a way to initiate a conversation, to acknowledge a friend, or to meet someone new. It is also often one of the first things people want to learn when they begin learning a foreign language.  This website is likewise a starting point intended to initiate conversations, acknowledge the linguistic diversity of the world, introduce people to new languages they may not have encountered before, and promote further language learning.

The purpose of these pages is to promote intercultural communication and understanding, and to increase awareness of the linguistic diversity around the world.  At this site you can learn how to say greetings and several other words and phrases in hundreds of different languages. My goal is to include every language, so that people will be able to communicate at least a little bit with anyone they meet, anywhere in the world.

 
 
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Greetings in more than 3000 languages

To find a specific language, click on the first letter of the language's name.

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Last updated on January 1, 2016

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