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How to say "hello" in different languages

As we all know, saying "hello" or "hi" is the first step in establishing a connection with someone. Depending on the country or culture, there are many ways to say "hello" - some more formal than others. So, whether you're traveling to a foreign country or just want to learn more about other cultures, knowing some greeting phrases in the most commonly spoken languages worldwide can always come in handy.

How to say "Hello" in...


Bonjour / Bonsoir

French's most commonly used greeting is connected to the time of day. So, typically you would hear people saying "Bonjour" to you from morning until late afternoon. It translates to "Good day (to you)." Once the evening settles in, people move over to "Bonsoir," meaning "Good evening."


Many Non-French people think "salut" is the French version of the English "hi." Well, although "salut" is an informal greeting used for relaxed settings, you'd make a big mistake using "salut" in scenarios where you'd usually also say "hi." The French care a lot about social class. Therefore, "salut" is only used among peers, friends, and family - and never with strangers.


This greeting is not only very informal and casual but also quite personal. Unfortunately, there's no English equivalent, but some native speakers compare it tone-wise to the British English "toodle-oo" (which some use to say goodbye). So, if you want to greet someone with a "Coucou," use it with close friends and family.

Enchanté(e) (de faire votre connaissance)

For business settings or any other formal occasion, "enchanté(e)" is a wise choice for a greeting. The complete phrase "enchanté(e) de faire votre connaissance" translates to "Nice/Pleasure to meet you."

Ça va?

Similar to the English "How are you?" that passes as a greeting, so does the French "Ça va?" which means the same. 


"Bienvenue" translates to "Welcome!" and is the ideal greeting upon someone's arrival, especially after a long trip. 


"Allô" is a common (casual/neutral) greeting when answering the phone - and only on the phone. You wouldn't hear this word in any other conversation. 

💡How to say "Goodbye" in French

  1. "Au revoir." The standard go-to phrase to say goodbye. 
  2. "Salut" can be used for both a greeting and goodbye, although for the latter, it's primarily used in informal situations. It means "bye."
  3. "À plus tard!" - "See you later!"  
  4. "À tout à l'heure!" - "See you soon!" or "See you in a while!"
  5. "Je suis désolé(e), mais je dois y aller!" The idea behind this phrase is to use it when you have to say goodbye to someone even though you liked talking to them. It translates to "Sorry, but I have to go."



"Hallo" is the direct equivalent of the English "Hello" and "Hi." Therefore, it can be used on the same occasions.

Guten Tag / Guten Morgen / Guten Abend / Gute Nacht

Similar to French, these greetings are connected to the time of day. So in the morning (usually until 10 am), Germans would say "Guten Morgen" (meaning "Good Morning"), then "Guten Tag" ("Good Day"), followed by "Guten Abend" ("Good Evening"), and "Gute Nacht" ("Good Night"). Whatever the occasion, you could nearly never go wrong with a "Guten Tag" during any time of the day. 


"Servus" is a bit of an informal greeting in the lower parts of Germany and the neighboring country Austria. Especially in the Austrian countryside, greeting someone with a "servus" is quite common. Still, for most parts of Germany, you might get curious looks.


"Willkommen" translates to "welcome." You wouldn't hear people greeting each other with a "Willkommen" but rather see it on signs or written somewhere in hotels where someone would be greeted upon arrival. 

💡How to say "Goodbye" in German

  1. "Auf Wiedersehen." You can never go wrong with an "Auf Wiedersehen." Simple and polite. It translates to "Farewell."
  2. "Tschüss" translates to "bye."
  3. "Ciao" originates from Italy, where it's used for both a greeting and goodbye. In German-speaking countries, you commonly hear it as often as a "Tschüss" to say goodbye.
  4. "Bis später." - "See you later."
  5. "Auf Wiederhören." It is a common phrase to say goodbye on the phone. It essentially means "Talk to you soon."



This is the most common translation of the English "Hello." You can also always combine it with any of the greetings below. 

Buenos días / Buenas tardes / Buenas noches

Same as in French and German. Use the phrases depending on the time of the day. 

"Buenos días" = "Good morning."

"Buenos tardes" = "Good afternoon."

"Buenos noches" = "Good evening/night."

¿Cómo estás?

Similar to the French "Ça va?" it means "How are you?" and is used as an informal greeting. 

¿Cómo está?

Same as the phrase above, however it is the formal way of asking somebody how they feel. It's commonly reserved for speaking to the elderly as a sign of respect.


It translates to the English "Welcome" and is used for someone who just arrived from somewhere.

💡How to say "Goodbye" in Spanish

  1. "Adiós." The most common and standard goodbye.
  2. "Hasta luego" is the informal goodbye phrase that translates to "until then." Compared to a "see you later," "hasta luego" can be used even though you don't plan on seeing the other person again. It's one of the most common phrases in Spanish.
  3. "Hasta mañana" is perfect for coworkers or any other person you'll see the next day again since the phrase literally translates to "until tomorrow."
  4. "Hasta la vista" is quite famous for a specific movie and its actor. Still, in real life, this phrase is instead used as an informal way to say goodbye. It literally translates to "until the view" but means "Until we see each other again."
  5. "Cuídese/Cuídate" "Cuídese" is the formal way to say "take care," while "cuídate" is the informal version.



"Salve" is a safe choice when greeting strangers or people you're unfamiliar with. Compared to "ciao," "salve" should be your go-to.

Buongiorno/ Buon pommerigio / Buonasera/Buonanotte

These Italian greeting phrases depend on the time of the day. 

"Buongiorno" = "Good morning. / Good day."

"Buon pommerigio" = "Good afternoon."

"Buonasera" = "Good evening."

"Buonanotte" = "Good night."

Come stai?

Although it's pretty common, it's actually considered to be relatively informal. It translates to "How are you?" 

For a slightly more formal or respectful tone, you can change it to "Come sta" (without the "i" at the end) for the Italian formal "you." 


For non-native speakers, "ciao" seems to be to standard phrase for greeting someone. But Italy begs to differ. Actually, depending on the part of Italy. In most parts of the country, it's regarded as highly informal due to its origin and history (it originates from the old Venetian phrase "scia'o vostro," which translates to "I am your slave.") To be on the safe side, simply never use this word with strangers or people you're not close with. But with good friends and family, you should be fine greeting them with a "ciao."

💡How to say "Goodbye" in Italian

  1. "A presto!" means "See you soon!"
  2. "Fai il bravo!" is an excellent way to say goodbye to a friend or family member. It means "Be good!"
  3. "A dopo" is ideal if you plan to see the other person again soon. It translates to "See you later!"
  4. "Arrivederci" translates to "Until we see each other again" and can come off as quite dramatic when used with friends or your family. For many formal or polite situations, like business calls, a "Grazie, arrivederci!" ("Thank you, goodbye!") is totally fine, though.
  5. "Buona giornata / Buona serata" is the most common way to say goodbye to someone in day-to-day life. "Buona giornata" means "Have a nice day," while "Buona serata" translates to "Have a nice evening."



Is the Danish equivalent of the English "Hello." It's perfect for any situation - formal or informal. 

God morgon/ God dag / God eftermiddag

These Danish greeting phrases depend on the time of the day. 

"God morgon" = "Good morning."

"God dag" = "Good day."

"God eftermiddag" = "Good afternoon."


"Hallå" translates to a simple "Hello" and is typically used when answering a phone call. 


"Shobre" is a highly casual and slang-ish phrase that means "What's up?" Just to be safe: only use it with close friends. 

💡How to say "Goodbye" in Danish

  1. "Hej hej" means "Bye bye" and is best for informal and casual situations.
  2. "Vi ses!" translates to "See you later!"
  3. "Ses" is a casual "See ya!"
  4. "Farvel" is reserved for formal situations like with your boss, the elderly, or any other person you're not on a first-name basis. It's the Danish equivalent to the English "Farewell."
  5. "Ha' en god dag!" is the most common way in day-to-day life when saying goodbye to someone. It translates to "Have a good day!"



Similar to the Danish "Hej," "Hei" is the Norwegian equivalent of the English "Hello." And again, it's perfect for any situation - formal or informal. 

God morgen/ God dag / God ettermiddag / God kveld

These Norwegian greeting phrases depend on the time of the day. 

"God morgen" = "Good morning."

"God dag" = "Good day."

"God ettermiddag" = "Good afternoon."

"God kveld" = "Good evening."

Hva skjer?

This is a typical casual greeting among friends, peers, and family. It means "What's up?" or "What's going on in life?" and serves as a greeting only that expects no answer. 

Lenge siden sist.

Do you want a phrase that means "Long time, no see!"? Here it is!

💡How to say "Goodbye" in Norwegian

  1. "Ha det bra" literally translates to "Have it good!" but means "Goodbye." It's perfect for any situation.
  2. "Ha det!" translates to "Have it!" but means a casual "Bye!"
  3. "Vi ses" is a casual "See you!"
  4. "Morna" is another very casual "Bye!"
  5. "Ha en god dag!" translates to "Have a good day!"



Unless you're talking to a king, where you'd be better of with a "God dag ers majestät" ("Good day, your majesty!"), a simple "Hej" is ideal for any situation in day-to-day life. 

God morgon/ God dag / God eftermiddag / God kväll

These Swedish greeting phrases depend on the time of the day. 

"God morgon" = "Good morning."

"God dag" = "Good day."

"God eftermiddag" = "Good afternoon."

"God kväll" = "Good evening."

Hejsan / Hej hej

"Hejsan" and "hej hej" are two alternatives to standard "hej." Essentially, they all mean the same and can be applied to the same situations.

💡How to say "Goodbye" in Swedish

  1. "Hej då" is the most common and straightforward way to say goodbye. It's also applicable in any situation.
  2. "Ha det bra!" translates to "Have it good!"
  3. "Vi ses!" is a casual "See you later!"
  4. "Vi hörs!" translates to "We'll hear from each other!" and means "Talk later!"
  5. "Ses imorgon!" translates to "See you tomorrow!"



"Merhaba" is the standard phrase for greeting someone. You can use it at any time and in any context, which makes it perfect if you're unsure how to properly and respectfully greet someone.

Günaydın/ İyi günler / İyi akşamlar

These Turkish greeting phrases depend on the time of the day. 

"Günaydın" = "Good morning."

"İyi günler" = "Good day."

"İyi akşamlar" = "Good evening."


"Selam" is the Turkish standard for saying "hi" and is also as common as greeting someone with "Merhaba." It's only a little less formal than "Merhaba."

💡How to say "Goodbye" in Turkish

  1. "Hoşça kalın" is the standard way to say goodbye. It can be used at any time for farewell.
  2. "Allah'a ısmarladık" translates to "May Allah keep you safe" and is another typical Turkish goodbye.
  3. "Hoşça kal" is the casual and shortened version of "Hoşça kalın" and simply means "Bye." (the literal translation would be "Stay good")
  4. "Görüşürüz" = "See you!"
  5. "İyi günler / İyi geceler" = "Good day / Good night" (you can use both phrases for a greeting and goodbye)


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