I used to enjoy doing languages at school. I wasn’t very good at it but I did enjoy learning the new words as the evolution of language used to fascinate me. I used to study French and now, whenever I go over to France, I do make an effort to communicate as much as possible, in the style of the French, kissing an’ all! My accent leaves a lot to be desired, but I do try!
More recently there’s been a huge influx of Polish people into the UK and I’ve been fortunate enough to make plenty of Polish friends. From my hairdresser, to my local cafe (where I get my daily soya hot chocolate), to my friends at badminton, you can’t get away from them now, no matter how hard you try! so I decided to take it upon myself to learn some Polish and I’ve got the basics down well; even some swear words!
I believe there’s so much value in greeting people in their language with their cultural style. It’s like honouring who they are. From my experience, when I greet people in their language, they love it and truly appreciate it. With that in mind I would like to share the basic greetings in the 12 languages that I’ve managed to acquire the basics.
The 3rd most spoken language in the world. There are so many ways to greet in English. You can start with ‘Hello’ which is the general greeting. You can say ‘Hey’ as a less formal greeting or if you feel daring you and wanna’ be a bit more street. you can say, ‘Yo’, or ‘Wassup’ or ‘Sup’ for short. You can also start by saying ‘Good Morning’ as a more formal greeting. As a farewell greeting and a less formal one you can say ‘See Ya!’
The 14th most spoken language in the world. The universal greeting in French is ‘Bonjour’ which translated is ‘good day’. If you want to follow up on that you can ask ‘Ca Va?’ with an upward tone at the end to indicate it is a question meaning ‘how are you?. You can even respond with ‘Ca Va’ in a downward tone to indicate a response meaning ‘I’m well’. The universal farewell is ‘Au Revoir’.
The 24th most spoken Language in the world. Gujarati is my native tongue and it’s an unusual language but one that is relatively easy to learn. There is actually no general word for hello. The standard greeting is ‘Kem Chor?’ and it’s question meaning ‘how are you?’ You can respond by saying ‘Saroo Che’ which, translated literally into English means ‘good is’ or ‘I’m good.’
The 4th most spoken language in the world. ‘Namaste is generally recognised as a greeting in Hindi although has it’s roots in Sanskrit. It has a beautiful translation – ‘The God/Goddess spirit within me recognizes and honours the God/Goddess spirit within you.’
The 12th most spoken language in the world. Punjabi’s have a vibrant culture and they are very proud to be Punjabi. They will almost always speak it when meeting Punjabi counterpart. The standard greeting in Punjabi is ‘Kiddah?’ which, like Gujarati, has a more literal translation of ‘how are you?’
The 2nd most spoken language in the world. I love Spanish as a language and if there’s a language I’d go and study, Spanish would be it! The main greeting in Spanish is ‘Hola’ which is kind of like ‘hello’. You can also add ‘Que tal?’ which is ‘how are you?’ You can answer with ‘Vien’ which means ‘well’.
The 20th most spoken language in the world. Italian is considered a very sexy language and although I don’t know much, I can see why. The main greeting, which is also the farewell is ‘Ciao’.
The 27th most spoken language in the world. I like the Polish accent, it reminds me of those Meerkat’s off the telly ad! Like Italian, in Polish you greet the same way you as you goodbye which is ‘Chesht’. (Not sure if that’s how you would spell it.) You can also say ‘Yaakshamash’ which is ‘how are you?’ You can respond by saying ‘Dobje’ which means ‘I’m good’. If you have a slow badminton partner like me you can say ‘Ruj Dhupshka’ which means ‘move your ass!’
The #1 most spoken language in the world. My Mandarin isn’t very good but the universal greeting in mandarin is ‘Ni Hao’.
The 22nd most spoken language in the world. Again my Cantonese isn’t great either but the main greeting is Lei-Ho and for more formal occasions you can add ‘Ma’ at the end.
The 9th most spoken language in the world. Of all the languages, Japanese has to have the most fun sounding greetings. The general greeting is ‘Konnichiwa’ which the literal translation is ‘good afternoon’. They have different greetings for different times of the day but that is now seen as a universal greeting. The telephone greeting is ‘Moshi Moshi’. Love it!
The 5th most spoken language in the world. The greeting in Arabic is ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum’ which has the beautiful meaning of ‘may peace be upon you’. The common response is ‘Wa Alaykum As-Salaam’ which means ‘and upon you be peace’.
There are so many languages in the world so I would say go out there and learn something new from people who speak a different language to you. If you speak a different language to me, please feel free to enlighten me in the comments section on the basics, your greetings, farewell etc. I would love to learn more.