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How to Say Thank You in 36 Languages Around the World

Updated on December 31, 2017
Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul has spent a lifetime traveling and learning many languages. He is now conversant in Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese, and Thai.

Political Map of the World

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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

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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

Thank you and other Expressions in Taiwanese

Southeast Asia

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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

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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

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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



Africa

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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.

Europe

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Saying Thank You in European Languages

Although I haven't yet visited any European countries, I have studied French, German, and Spanish during my life. 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

South America

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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

Comments

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    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thanks for the great comment, Larry! I'm pleased you enjoyed this hub!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Fascinating!!

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Kathleen, thank you very much for the great comments! I plan on adding to my list of thank you in foreign languages in the future.

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Did your new Chinese friend teach you, "Ni hao" for hello and "Zai jian" for good-bye. I am sure she will appreciate the "xie xie" you use when saying thank you. I will definitely help you learn some more words and phrases in foreign languages in the future. Thanks for sharing and pinning this hub,

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      What a great and useful hub! My family and I have traveled to five continents thanks to the U.S. Army and we've tried to learn to say thank you in every language we've visited. It is the most important word to learn even for a brief visit. People appreciate the effort. I was going to close with one I knew that is not on your list, but I can't find one! So I'll settle for the old standby: Thanks

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      2 years ago from North Texas

      I've met a young woman from China just recently and she has taught me hello, and is trying to teach me good-bye. I have a harder time with the good-bye for some reason. My memory is terrible anymore. So I will try the xie xie, on her. :) In turn, I am helping her with her English as she's been here only 5 months.

      You'll have to help us all learn a new word again one of these days.

      Very interesting and fun hub. Sharing with my followers and pinning to my 'Education' board.

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you very much for the terms in Hungarian and Lithuanian. I must add them to my hub.

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you very much for your comment. Are the Serbian and Croatian languages almost the same?

    • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thanks for your comments! Yes, knowing how to say "thank you" is just as important as greetings.

    • nextstopjupiter profile image

      nextstopjupiter 

      2 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      Hungarian - köszönöm

      Lithuanian - aciu

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The basic words are easy to learn and you did your research in telling us how to say the appreciative words in the many languages mentioned. I learned a few from you thank you. ''Hvala''

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      2 years ago from the short journey

      These are the first words visitors to other countries need to learn to say!

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