Compass Rose logo for the Compass DeRose guidesThe Compass DeRose Guide to Saying Hello Anywhere

This page was written by Steven J. DeRose, and was last updated on 2003-03-23.

I enjoy learning at least a few greetings and useful phrases in as many languages as possible, beyond those languages where I put in some real learning effort. If you can recognize accents, or guess from name badges, you can make a lot of people smile merely by greeting them in their own language. Of course, some sensitivity is also required -- for example, it may be less than ideal to greet some people from parts of the former Soviet state in Russian, or to guess at an accent and come out with the greeting for the country next door that happens to be at war....

This page will provide a handful of basic greetings and phrases in as many languages as I can accumulate. If you know a language that's not listed, a form is available to fill out so I can add it.

For the moment, I'm organizing this as one page per language. Each page has a table with a row for each word or phrase. There are columns for English (because that's my native language and I get to pick), and then columns for what I hope are near equivalents in the langauge that particular page is about. There are columns for the translation written in Latin (English) letters, and also in the language's own writing system. There are also columns for links to audio files and for any relevant notes.

I do not speak many of these languages fluently, so I apologize in advance for the inevitable errors, large or small. If you find errors, please let me know.

If you can add a language I don't have here, please download this HTML page, save it locally, and fill in the blanks with the right information for your language. Then mail it to me. There's a place to identify yourself, and you can include a contact email if you like (I look at what goes out there, though, so obvious spam will be rejected, and I reserve the right to final choice of what goes on my pages).

I admire the variety, complexity, and beauty of the many writing systems of the world. If you are able to include actual spellings in the native character sets using Unicode, please do so (the form includes a column for this). But please also include a transliteration into the English alphabet to help the general reader have a chance of pronunciation. I've put a simple guide to transliteration here.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Some other language resources on the Web

The iLoveLanguages site has links to many other resources. Their dictionary page lists about 130 dictionary sites. They also have a page that organizes resources by language.

Ectaco provides a wide variety of bilingual dictionaries.

Lexicool "currently has links to over 2000 translation dictionaries and glossaries freely available on the internet".

Languages available

The table below is derived from ISO 639. The SIL Ethnologue provides a much more precise set of language names, but for the moment these will do. I've left in the ISO 639 code values in case they may be useful to some readers. If the English column is a link, then it should lead to a page with standard set of phrases this page is meant to provide.

639-1 639-2(B) 639-2(T) English French
ab abk abk Abkhazian abkhaze
ace ace Achinese aceh
ach ach Acoli acoli
ada ada Adangme adangme
aa aar aar Afar afar
afh afh Afrihili afrihili
af afr afr Afrikaans afrikaans
afa afa Afro-Asiatic (Other) afro-asiatiques, autres langues
aka aka Akan akan
akk akk Akkadian akkadien
sq alb sqi Albanian albanais
ale ale Aleut aléoute
alg alg Algonquian languages algonquines, langues
tut tut Altaic (Other) altaïques, autres languages
am amh amh Amharic amharique
apa apa Apache languages apache
ar ara ara Arabic arabe
arc arc Aramaic araméen
arp arp Arapaho arapaho
arn arn Araucanian araucan
arw arw Arawak arawak
hy arm hye Armenian arménien
art art Artificial (Other) artificielles, autres langues
as asm asm Assamese assamais
ast ast Asturian; Bable asturien; bable
ath ath Athapascan languages athapascanes, langues
aus aus Australian languages australiennes, langues
map map Austronesian (Other) malayo-polynésiennes, autres langues
ava ava Avaric avar
ae ave ave Avestan avestique
awa awa Awadhi awadhi
ay aym aym Aymara aymara
az aze aze Azerbaijani azéri
ban ban Balinese balinais
bat bat Baltic (Other) baltiques, autres langues
bal bal Baluchi baloutchi
bam bam Bambara bambara
bai bai Bamileke languages bamilékés, langues
bad bad Banda banda
bnt bnt Bantu (Other) bantoues, autres langues
bas bas Basa basa
ba bak bak Bashkir bachkir
eu baq eus Basque basque
btk btk Batak (Indonesia) batak (Indonésie)
bej bej Beja bedja
be bel bel Belarusian biélorusse
bem bem Bemba bemba
bn ben ben Bengali bengali
ber ber Berber (Other) berbères, autres langues
bho bho Bhojpuri bhojpuri
bh bih bih Bihari bihari
bik bik Bikol bikol
bin bin Bini bini
bi bis bis Bislama bichlamar
bs bos bos Bosnian bosniaque
bra bra Braj braj
br bre bre Breton breton
bug bug Buginese bugi
bg bul bul Bulgarian bulgare
bua bua Buriat bouriate
my bur mya Burmese birman
cad cad Caddo caddo
car car Carib caribe
ca cat cat Catalan catalan
cau cau Caucasian (Other) caucasiennes, autres langues
ceb ceb Cebuano cebuano
cel cel Celtic (Other) celtiques, autres langues
cai cai Central American Indian (Other) indiennes d'Amérique centrale, autres langues
chg chg Chagatai djaghataï
cmc cmc Chamic languages chames, langues
ch cha cha Chamorro chamorro
ce che che Chechen tchetchène
chr chr Cherokee cherokee
chy chy Cheyenne cheyenne
chb chb Chibcha chibcha
ny nya nya Chichewa; Nyanja chichewa; nyanja
zh chi zho Chinese chinois
chn chn Chinook jargon chinook, jargon
chp chp Chipewyan chipewyan
cho cho Choctaw choctaw
cu chu chu Church Slavic slavon d'église
chk chk Chuukese chuuk
cv chv chv Chuvash tchouvache
cop cop Coptic copte
kw cor cor Cornish cornique
co cos cos Corsican corse
cre cre Cree cree
mus mus Creek muskogee
crp crp Creoles and pidgins (Other) créoles et pidgins divers
cpe cpe Creoles and pidgins, English based (Other) créoles et pidgins anglais, autres
cpf cpf Creoles and pidgins, French-based (Other) créoles et pidgins français, autres
cpp cpp Creoles and pidgins, Portuguese-based (Other) créoles et pidgins portugais, autres
hr scr hrv Croatian croate
cus cus Cushitic (Other) couchitiques, autres langues
cs cze ces Czech tchèque
dak dak Dakota dakota
da dan dan Danish danois
day day Dayak dayak
del del Delaware delaware
din din Dinka dinka
div div Divehi maldivien
doi doi Dogri dogri
dgr dgr Dogrib dogrib
dra dra Dravidian (Other) dravidiennes, autres langues
dua dua Duala douala
nl dut nld Dutch néerlandais
dum dum Dutch, Middle (ca.1050-1350) néerlandais moyen (ca. 1050-1350)
dyu dyu Dyula dioula
dz dzo dzo Dzongkha dzongkha
efi efi Efik efik
egy egy Egyptian (Ancient) égyptien
eka eka Ekajuk ekajuk
elx elx Elamite élamite
en eng eng English anglais
enm enm English, Middle (1100-1500) anglais moyen (1100-1500)
ang ang English, Old (ca.450-1100) anglo-saxon (ca.450-1100)
eo epo epo Esperanto espéranto
et est est Estonian estonien
ewe ewe Ewe éwé
ewo ewo Ewondo éwondo
fan fan Fang fang
fat fat Fanti fanti
fo fao fao Faroese féroïen
fj fij fij Fijian fidjien
fi fin fin Finnish finnois
fiu fiu Finno-Ugrian (Other) finno-ougriennes, autres langues
fon fon Fon fon
fr fre fra French français
frm frm French, Middle (ca.1400-1600) français moyen (1400-1600)
fro fro French, Old (842-ca.1400) français ancien (842-ca.1400)
fy fry fry Frisian frison
fur fur Friulian frioulan
ful ful Fulah peul
gaa gaa Ga ga
gd gla gla Gaelic (Scots) gaélique d'Ecosse
gl glg glg Gallegan galicien
lug lug Ganda ganda
gay gay Gayo gayo
gba gba Gbaya gbaya
gez gez Geez guèze
ka geo kat Georgian géorgien
de ger deu German allemand
gmh gmh German, Middle High (ca.1050-1500) allemand, moyen haut (ca. 1050-1500)
goh goh German, Old High (ca.750-1050) allemand, vieux haut (ca. 750-1050)
gem gem Germanic (Other) germaniques, autres langues
gil gil Gilbertese kiribati
gon gon Gondi gond
gor gor Gorontalo gorontalo
got got Gothic gothique
grb grb Grebo grebo
grc grc Greek, Ancient (to 1453) grec ancien (jusqu'à 1453)
el gre ell Greek, Modern (1453-) grec moderne (après 1453)
gn grn grn Guarani guarani
gu guj guj Gujarati goudjrati
gwi gwi Gwich´in gwich´in
hai hai Haida haida
hau hau Hausa haoussa
haw haw Hawaiian hawaïen
he heb heb Hebrew hébreu
hz her her Herero herero
hil hil Hiligaynon hiligaynon
him him Himachali himachali
hi hin hin Hindi hindi
ho hmo hmo Hiri Motu hiri motu
hit hit Hittite hittite
hmn hmn Hmong hmong
hu hun hun Hungarian hongrois
hup hup Hupa hupa
iba iba Iban iban
is ice isl Icelandic islandais
ibo ibo Igbo igbo
ijo ijo Ijo ijo
ilo ilo Iloko ilocano
inc inc Indic (Other) indo-aryennes, autres langues
ine ine Indo-European (Other) indo-européennes, autres langues
id ind ind Indonesian indonésien
ia ina ina Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association) interlingua (langue auxiliaire internationale)
ie ile ile Interlingue interlingue
iu iku iku Inuktitut inuktitut
ik ipk ipk Inupiaq inupiaq
ira ira Iranian (Other) iraniennes, autres langues
ga gle gle Irish irlandais
mga mga Irish, Middle (900-1200) irlandais moyen (900-1200)
sga sga Irish, Old (to 900) irlandais ancien (jusqu'à 900)
iro iro Iroquoian languages iroquoises, langues (famille)
it ita ita Italian italien
ja jpn jpn Japanese japonais
jw jav jav Javanese javanais
jrb jrb Judeo-Arabic judéo-arabe
jpr jpr Judeo-Persian judéo-persan
kab kab Kabyle kabyle
kac kac Kachin kachin
kl kal kal Kalaallisut groenlandais
kam kam Kamba kamba
kn kan kan Kannada kannada
kau kau Kanuri kanouri
kaa kaa Kara-Kalpak karakalpak
kar kar Karen karen
ks kas kas Kashmiri kashmiri
kaw kaw Kawi kawi
kk kaz kaz Kazakh kazakh
kha kha Khasi khasi
km khm khm Khmer khmer
khi khi Khoisan (Other) khoisan, autres langues
kho kho Khotanese khotanais
ki kik kik Kikuyu kikuyu
kmb kmb Kimbundu kimbundu
rw kin kin Kinyarwanda rwanda
ky kir kir Kirghiz kirghize
kv kom kom Komi kom
kon kon Kongo kongo
kok kok Konkani konkani
ko kor kor Korean corèen
kos kos Kosraean kosrae
kpe kpe Kpelle kpellé
kro kro Kru krou
kj kua kua Kuanyama kuanyama
kum kum Kumyk koumyk
ku kur kur Kurdish kurde
kru kru Kurukh kurukh
kut kut Kutenai kutenai
lad lad Ladino judéo-espagnol
lah lah Lahnda lahnda
lam lam Lamba lamba
lo lao lao Lao lao
la lat lat Latin latin
lv lav lav Latvian letton
lb ltz ltz Letzeburgesch luxembourgeois
lez lez Lezghian lezghien
ln lin lin Lingala lingala
lt lit lit Lithuanian lituanien
nds nds Low German; Low Saxon bas allemand; bas saxon
loz loz Lozi lozi
lub lub Luba-Katanga luba-katanga
lua lua Luba-Lulua luba-lulua
lui lui Luiseno luiseno
lun lun Lunda lunda
luo luo Luo (Kenya and Tanzania) luo (Kenya et Tanzanie)
lus lus Lushai lushai
mk mac mkd Macedonian macédonien
mad mad Madurese madourais
mag mag Magahi magahi
mai mai Maithili maithili
mak mak Makasar makassar
mg mlg mlg Malagasy malgache
ms may msa Malay malais
ml mal mal Malayalam malayalam
mt mlt mlt Maltese maltais
mnc mnc Manchu mandchou
mdr mdr Mandar mandar
man man Mandingo mandingue
mni mni Manipuri manipuri
mno mno Manobo languages manobo, langues
gv glv glv Manx manx
mi mao mri Maori maori
mr mar mar Marathi marathe
chm chm Mari mari
mh mah mah Marshall marshall
mwr mwr Marwari marvari
mas mas Masai massaï
myn myn Mayan languages maya, langues
men men Mende mendé
mic mic Micmac micmac
min min Minangkabau minangkabau
mis mis Miscellaneous languages diverses, langues
moh moh Mohawk mohawk
mo mol mol Moldavian moldave
lol lol Mongo mongo
mn mon mon Mongolian mongol
mkh mkh Mon-Khmer (Other) môn-khmer, autres langues
mos mos Mossi moré
mul mul Multiple languages multilingue
mun mun Munda languages mounda, langues
nah nah Nahuatl nahuatl
na nau nau Nauru nauruan
nv nav nav Navajo navaho
nd nde nde Ndebele, North ndébélé du Nord
nr nbl nbl Ndebele, South ndébélé du Sud
ng ndo ndo Ndonga ndonga
ne nep nep Nepali népalais
new new Newari newari
nia nia Nias nias
nic nic Niger-Kordofanian (Other) nigéro-congolaises, autres langues
ssa ssa Nilo-Saharan (Other) nilo-sahariennes, autres langues
niu niu Niuean niué
non non Norse, Old norrois, vieux
nai nai North American Indian indiennes d'Amérique du Nord, autres langues
se sme sme Northern Sami sami du Nord
no nor nor Norwegian norvégien
nb nob nob Norwegian Bokmål norvégien bokmål
nn nno nno Norwegian Nynorsk norvégien nynorsk
nub nub Nubian languages nubiennes, langues
nym nym Nyamwezi nyamwezi
nyn nyn Nyankole nyankolé
nyo nyo Nyoro nyoro
nzi nzi Nzima nzema
oc oci oci Occitan (post 1500); Provençal occitan (après 1500); provençal
oji oji Ojibwa ojibwa
or ori ori Oriya oriya
om orm orm Oromo galla
osa osa Osage osage
os oss oss Ossetian; Ossetic ossète
oto oto Otomian languages otomangue, langues
pal pal Pahlavi pahlavi
pau pau Palauan palau
pi pli pli Pali pali
pam pam Pampanga pampangan
pag pag Pangasinan pangasinan
pa pan pan Panjabi pendjabi
pap pap Papiamento papiamento
paa paa Papuan (Other) papoues, autres langues
fa per fas Persian persan
peo peo Persian, Old (ca.600-400 B.C.) perse, vieux (ca. 600-400 av. J.-C.)
phi phi Philippine (Other) philippines, autres langues
phn phn Phoenician phénicien
pon pon Pohnpeian pohnpei
pl pol pol Polish polonais
pt por por Portuguese portugais
pra pra Prakrit languages prâkrit
pro pro Provençal, Old (to 1500) provençal ancien (jusqu'à 1500)
ps pus pus Pushto pachto
qu que que Quechua quechua
rm roh roh Raeto-Romance rhéto-roman
raj raj Rajasthani rajasthani
rap rap Rapanui rapanui
rar rar Rarotongan rarotonga
roa roa Romance (Other) romanes, autres langues
ro rum ron Romanian roumain
rom rom Romany tsigane
rn run run Rundi rundi
ru rus rus Russian russe
sal sal Salishan languages salish, langues
sam sam Samaritan Aramaic samaritain
smi smi Sami languages (Other) sami, autres langues
sm smo smo Samoan samoan
sad sad Sandawe sandawe
sg sag sag Sango sango
sa san san Sanskrit sanskrit
sat sat Santali santal
sc srd srd Sardinian sarde
sas sas Sasak sasak
sco sco Scots écossais
sel sel Selkup selkoupe
sem sem Semitic (Other) sémitiques, autres langues
sr scc srp Serbian serbe
srr srr Serer sérère
shn shn Shan chan
sn sna sna Shona shona
sid sid Sidamo sidamo
sgn sgn Sign Languages langues des signes
bla bla Siksika blackfoot
sd snd snd Sindhi sindhi
si sin sin Sinhalese singhalais
sit sit Sino-Tibetan (Other) sino-tibétaines, autres langues
sio sio Siouan languages sioux, langues
den den Slave (Athapascan) esclave (athapascan)
sla sla Slavic (Other) slaves, autres langues
sk slo slk Slovak slovaque
sl slv slv Slovenian slovène
sog sog Sogdian sogdien
so som som Somali somali
son son Songhai songhai
snk snk Soninke soninké
wen wen Sorbian languages sorabes, langues
nso nso Sotho, Northern sotho du Nord
st sot sot Sotho, Southern sotho du Sud
sai sai South American Indian (Other) indiennes d'Amérique du Sud, autres langues
es spa spa Spanish espagnol
suk suk Sukuma sukuma
sux sux Sumerian sumérien
su sun sun Sundanese soundanais
sus sus Susu soussou
sw swa swa Swahili swahili
ss ssw ssw Swati swati
sv swe swe Swedish suédois
syr syr Syriac syriaque
tl tgl tgl Tagalog tagalog
ty tah tah Tahitian tahitien
tai tai Tai (Other) thaïes, autres langues
tg tgk tgk Tajik tadjik
tmh tmh Tamashek tamacheq
ta tam tam Tamil tamoul
tt tat tat Tatar tatar
te tel tel Telugu télougou
ter ter Tereno tereno
tet tet Tetum tetum
th tha tha Thai thaï
bo tib bod Tibetan tibétain
tig tig Tigre tigré
tir tir Tigrinya tigrigna
tem tem Timne temne
tiv tiv Tiv tiv
tli tli Tlingit tlingit
tpi tpi Tok Pisin tok pisin
tkl tkl Tokelau tokelau
tog tog Tonga (Nyasa) tonga (Nyasa)
ton ton Tonga (Tonga Islands) tongan (Îles Tonga)
tsi tsi Tsimshian tsimshian
ts tso tso Tsonga tsonga
tn tsn tsn Tswana tswana
tum tum Tumbuka tumbuka
tr tur tur Turkish turc
ota ota Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928) turc ottoman (1500-1928)
tk tuk tuk Turkmen turkmène
tvl tvl Tuvalu tuvalu
tyv tyv Tuvinian touva
tw twi twi Twi twi
uga uga Ugaritic ougaritique
ug uig uig Uighur ouïgour
uk ukr ukr Ukrainian ukrainien
umb umb Umbundu umbundu
und und Undetermined indéterminée
ur urd urd Urdu ourdou
uz uzb uzb Uzbek ouszbek
vai vai Vai vaï
ven ven Venda venda
vi vie vie Vietnamese vietnamien
vo vol vol Volapük volapük
vot vot Votic vote
wak wak Wakashan languages wakashennes, langues
wal wal Walamo walamo
war war Waray waray
was was Washo washo
cy wel cym Welsh gallois
wo wol wol Wolof wolof
xh xho xho Xhosa xhosa
sah sah Yakut iakoute
yao yao Yao yao
yap yap Yapese yapois
yi yid yid Yiddish yiddish
yor yor Yoruba yoruba
ypk ypk Yupik languages yupik, langues
znd znd Zande zandé
zap zap Zapotec zapotèque
zen zen Zenaga zenaga
za zha zha Zhuang zhuang
zu zul zul Zulu zoulou
zun zun Zuni zuni

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