How to Say Thank You in 36 Languages Around the World
Political Map of the World
Thank You: An Important World-Wide Expression
Knowing how to say thank you in more than your native language is extremely important for travelers who are visiting foreign countries around the world. When receiving a service or a gift, use of our foreign host or hostess's native language in expressing thanks will go a long way in showing friendship and sincerity.
For most of my life since 1968, I have had the great opportunity to visit many countries in East and Southeast Asia. One of the first expressions I learned was how to express thanks or gratitude.
In this article, I share the expressions of thank you which I have learned from my travel and study of various languages throughout the world.
Map of Asia
Saying Thank You in East Asian Languages
While in the U.S. Navy 1968-1970, I was first introduced to Taiwan and Japan. Later, I traveled to China, Korea, and Hong Kong. When interacting with local people, I often used these language expressions for saying thank you.
1. Japanese - domo arigato; arigato; and domo arigato gozaimasu
Arigato means thank you. Domo arigato is thank you very much. Note that the "o" is pronounced as a long "o." Domo arigato gozaimasu is the most formal expression.
2. Korean - kamsa hamnida
3. Chinese Mandarin - xiexie; xiexie ni; duoxie
Xiexie was one of the first expressions I learned when studying Mandarin. Xie is pronounced "hsieh." Xiexie ni (nee) means Thank you. Duoxie (dwo hsieh) is thank you very much.
4. Taiwanese - Doxia
While living in Taiwan in the 1970s, I learned to say "doxia" (doe-hsia) for thank you very much.
5. Cantonese - M goi saai and Do-ze
While in Hong Kong in 2015, I learned "m goi saai" which means thank you very much when receiving a service. I also learned "do-ze" (doe zay" which also means thank you very much, but is more formal.
Saying Thank You in 29 Languages
Saying Thank You in Southeast Asian Languages
I first came to Southeast Asia in 1996 when I visited Thailand. During the past 20 years, I have been to Laos and also interacted with persons from Burma (Myanmar) and the Philippines. Through my travel, interactions, and personal study, I have come up with the following list of saying thank you in Southeast Asian languages.
1. Thai - khaawp khun khrap or khaawp khun khaa
Thai was the first Southeast Asian language I learned. Khaawp khun means thank you. Khrap (pronounced krop) is a polite suffix which men use and khaa is the polite suffix which women say.
2. Laotian - khaawp jai
3. Cambodian (Khmer) - or kun
4. Burmese (Myanmar) - kyei-zu-tin-ba-deh
Kyei is pronounced "jei."
5. Vietnamese - cam on
Cam is pronounced gom and on as awn.
6. Tagalog (Filipino) - sa-la-mat
7. Malaysian - terima kasih (kasee)
8. Indonesian - ma-ka-sih; terima kasih; and ma-ka-sih ban-yak
Saying Thank You in Cambodian
Saying Thank You in Burmese Language
India and South Asia
Saying Thank You in South Asian Languages
1. Hindi - dhan-ya-vaad
Hindi is the national language of India
2. Tamil - nandri; miga nandri
Tamil is spoken in Southern India and on Sri Lanka.
3. Bengali - dhon-no-bad
Bengali is spoken in Eastern India and in Bangladesh.
4. Urdu - shu-kri-ya
Urdu is spoken in Pakistan and in Indian bordering provinces like Punjab and Rajasthan.
The Middle East
Saying Thank You in Middle Eastern Languages
1. Persian (Farsi) - mam-noon; mer-ci (see)
Persian is spoken in Iran.
2. Arabic - shuk-ran
Arabic is spoken in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.
3. Hebrew - toda
4. Turkish - te-sek-kur-ler
Saying Thank You in African Languages
Arabic, English, and French are spoken in many African countries. With the exception of these three languages, the two major languages are:
1. Swahili - a-san-te
Swahili has more than 100 million speakers and it is spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda in Eastern Africa.
2. Hausa - na gode
Hausa has more than 50 million speakers and it is spoken in countries in Northern, Western, and Central Africa.
Saying Thank You in European Languages
Although I haven't yet visited any European countries, I have studied French, German, and Spanish. In my interactions with others and personal study, I have also learned how to say thank you in different European languages. Examples of saying thank you in major European languages are as follow:
1. French - merci
2. German - danke
3. Italian - grazie
4. Greek - ef-kha-ree-sto
5. Dutch - bedankt
6. Danish - tak
7. Swedish - tack
8. Norwegian - takk
9. Finnish - kiitos
10. Russian - spasibo
11. Serbo-Croatian - hvala
Saying Thank You in Serbo-Croatian and other Languages
Saying Thank You in North and South American Languages
English, French, and Spanish are the major languages spoken in North and South America. In South America, the important languages are Portuguese spoken in Brazil and Spanish in other South American countries.
1. Spanish - gracias
2. Portuguese - obrigada
© 2016 Paul Richard Kuehn