Hello” has got to be one of the most important words we use andhello
learning a few “hello“s in a different language will helps us build trust in our relationships with those from other cultural backgrounds. Nowadays, more than ever, our everyday encounters find us engaging with people who are different from ourselves; whether speaking from your desk to someone on the other side of the world,  whether in the local supermarket or whether  travelling abroad – do take a moment to learn that precious word in a new way. Our picture shows The Prince of Orange of the Netherlands receiving a hong (Maori greeting) from a Maori warrior in Wellington, New Zealand. Listen and see how many languages you can recognise out of these twenty languages:  final composite hello.

Here’s help: listen & learn in 30 different ways to say hello…

Ethnologue lists 6,909 languages spoken in the world, so my list below still has a lot more work needed!  In some nations, especially the ones that had little contact with foreigners, Westerners were often viewed as people who constantly said “hello” and little else. Jung Chang describes this view in her book ‘White Swan’ as follows:

“In my mind… foreigners said ‘hello’ all the time, with an odd intonation…. “

Although there may be 6,909 ways of saying “hello” we do know that many people around the world understand and use the English version in their own languages when using the telephone. I was amazed when I first went to Hungary and heard the frequent use of “halló!”. I was proudly told it was the Hungarians that introduced the word to telephone users as the Hungarians were really early adopters of the telephone. However, the ‘offical’ story gives us Thomas Edison as the real source of this almost universal telephone greeting. In 1877, Edison wrote to his colleague David, the president of the Central District and Printing Telegraph Company of Pittsburgh:

“Friend David, I do not think we shall need a call bell as Hello! can be heard 10 to 20 feet away. What you think? Edison – P.S. first cost of sender & receiver to manufacture is only $7.00!”

By 1889, central telephone exchange operators were known as ‘hello-girls’ due to the association between the greeting and the telephone

World Hello Day is November 21st, so how about learning How To Say “Hello” in different languages in time for the next World Hello Day.  Just click on the languages below to hear how to pronounce “Hello”.  Alternatively, you may just like to learn some sign language; view Life Magazine’s picture gallery on ‘How to Say Hello Around the World

  1. albanian 
  2. arabic 
  3. basque 
  4. belarusian 
  5. bulgarian 
  6. catalan 
  7. Chinese 
  8. croatian 
  9. danish 
  10. dutch 
  11. english
  12. Estonia
  13. finnish 
  14. french 
  15. german 
  16. greek 
  17. Hindi 
  18. hungarian
  19. italian 
  20. japanese 
  21. lithuanian
  22. macedonian 
  23. maltese
  24. polish 
  25. romanian 
  26. russian
  27. turkish 

“Hello” world!



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This entry was posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 3:51 pm and is filed under General, other interesting stuff, social practices . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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