Culture & Entertainment

How to say 'hello" in different countries around the world

By: Doug O'Neill
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

How to say 'hello" in different countries around the world

By: Doug O'Neill
You had me at "hello"! Photo by Doug O'Neill of Real Langat

Real Langat, Kenya. (Photo by Doug O'Neill)

The power and beauty of greeting someone in their own language – while travelling in a foreign country – can make for a transformative travel experience. Several years ago I visited a volunteer project in Kenya during which I was paired for the day with a tea picker. Her name was Real Langat. She spoke some English, which I relied on when we first met. Real was reserved, somewhat shy. She remained silent for almost an entire day as we worked alongside one another in a tea plantation. Well, she worked. I was there to learn how to pluck tea leaves, and I failed miserably. On the second afternoon, after our tea break, I returned to the plantation field and without thinking called out to her, "Jumbo, Real, Jumbo." She let loose with a great beaming smile. "Jumbo" is Swahili for "Hello." I simply spoke to Real in the language of her people. I had not done so earlier. It was something so simple on my part but it obviously meant a lot to her. For many of our Canadian Living readers, now is the time of year our university-age off-spring are talking about their first overseas trip (it's almost a rite of passage these days), while many of you are contemplating your own first trip abroad.  My advice: I wouldn't fret if you don't become fluent in the language of your destination country for your overseas holiday, whether it's to the south of France or that much-awaited food tour of Italy.  But I urge you to learn a few simple words of greeting. The London Speakers Bureau just produced an excellent infographic titled, "How to say 'Hello' Around the world." I think it could be useful, wherever you go.   11 Learn to say 2 Click here for the entire infographic of "How to say 'Hello' in different countries around the world."
Share X
Culture & Entertainment

How to say 'hello" in different countries around the world

Login