It’s probably the easiest phrase to learn in any language, and one of the most important too. Learning an entire language before you go to a country is not always feasible, but it’s worthwhile trying to learn a few of the local words. So how about ‘Thank You’?
Spoken by over 200 million people from Southwest Asia to Northwest Africa, you’ll hear Arabic in Egypt, Morocco and Jordan. There are actually several words in English that have their roots in Arabic, including cotton (koton), sugar (succar), gazelle (ghazal), guitar (qithara), alcohol (alcoo’hool) and more.
Thank you in Arabic = ‘Shukran’
One in five people on the planet speaks a form of Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is most common (and the official language of the People’s Republic of China) with around 800 million speakers worldwide. Interestingly, Chinese grammar is far more straightforward than it is in European languages, with no plurals, tenses or genders. The difficult part comes in learning the tones – the same word in a different tone will mean something completely different!
Thank you in Chinese = ‘Xièxie’
Spoken in India, Nepal and Pakistan, Hindi is one of the five most spoken languages in the world, with about 600 million people speaking it as a first or second language. It’s the official language of India, and most people will be able to understand it, even though there are several hundred mother tongues in India. In fact, a census in 1961 numbered 1652 different languages in India! But don’t worry, you’re probably fine just learning how to say thank you in Hindi
Thank you in Hindi = ‘Shukriya’
Although it isn’t a first language for most people, Swahili is the most widely spoken language in Sub-Saharan Africa and – along with English – is the official language of Kenya and Tanzania. In other Africa countries French may get you further, and further South you’ll definitely be better off with English, but in East Africa your efforts to speak Swahili will be appreciated.
Thank you in Swahili: Asante
Spoken across Central and South American countries, Spanish is another very widely spoken language. As Latin is the source of both English and Spanish, you’ll already be able to recognise more than 3000 different words! Bonus. It’s also really easy to learn as it’s a phonetic language, and will give you a head start in learning other ‘Romantic’ languages – namely French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan or Romanian.
Thank you in Spanish: ‘Gracias’
Do you learn a few words before you go to another country? Does it improve your travel experience? Tell us in the comments below!