How to Say Please and Thank You in Different Languages

By Kate Henschel

Ever wanted to know how to say please and thank you in Chinese, German, or Swahili? Read on for a list of these polite expressions in many languages and lean how to say please and thank you in different languages.

Top Twenty Most Widely Spoken Languages

If you're going to learn please and thank you in different languages, perhaps the best way to start is with the twenty most widely spoken languages. These languages each have over 60 million native speakers.

  1. Mandarin: Qing; Xie xie
  2. Spanish: Por favor; Gracias
  3. English: Please; Thank you
  4. Hindi/Urdu: Merker-bani seh; Shukriya or danyavad
  5. Arabic: Min fadlak; Shukran
  6. Bengali: Doya kore; Dhanyabad
  7. Portuguese: Se faz favor; Obrigado (male), Obrigada (female)
  8. Russian: Pozhaluista; Spasibo
  9. Japanese: Kudasai; Domo arigato
  10. German: Bitte; Danke
  11. Javanese: Kulo-aturi ki; Matur nuwun
  12. Punjab: i Merhebani kerke; Dannvaad
  13. Wu: Te kue zhou; Ciohkue jiajia non
  14. Telugu: Dayachesi; Dhanyavaadaalu
  15. Marathi: Krupaya; Abhari ahi
  16. French: S'il vous plaît; Merci
  17. Vietnamese: Xin; Cám ơn
  18. Korean: Shipshiyo; Komapsumnida
  19. Tamil: Dhayavu seydhu; Nandri
  20. Italian: Per favore; Grazie

In case you are unfamiliar with some of those languages, Mandarin and Wu (also known as Shanghainese) are spoken in China. Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Telugu, Marathi, and Tamil are all languages spoken in Indian. Javanese is a language spoken in Indonesia.

Please and Thank You in Europe

If you find yourself backpacking through Europe, the following words and phrases may help you interact politely with those around you.

Irish Gaelic: Le d'thoil; Go raibh maith agat

Polish: Prosze; Dziekuje

Finnish: Olkaa hyvä; Kiitos

Swedish: Varsågod; Tack

Norwegian: Vennligst; Takk

Ukrainian: Bud' laska; Dyakooyu

Croatian: Molim; Hvala

Dutch: Alstublieft; Dank u

Georgian: Too sheydslebah; Mahd-lob

Greek: Parakalo; Efcharisto

Icelandic: Gjörðu svo vel; Takk

Hungarian: Kérem; Köszönöm

Romanian: Vã rog; Multumesc

Slovenian: Prosim; Hvala

Slovak: Prosím; Dakujem

Lithuanian: Prašom; Achiu

Latvian: Ludzu; Paldies

Estonian: Palun; Tänan

Turkish: Lütfen; Tesekkür ederim

Armenian: Hajis; Shnorhagallem

Albanian: Ju lutem; Ju falem nderit

Bulgarian: Molya; Blagodarya

Belorussian: Kaliláska; Dziakuju

Catalan (Spain): Sisplau; Gràcies

Asian Pleases and Thank Yous

If you find yourself wandering around Asia, you may be able to use the following ways of saying please and thank you.

Mongolian: Tanaas neg yum khuse; Bayarlalaa

Thai: Daiprod; Khawp khun

Tagalog (Philippines): Pakikunin; Salamat

Malay: Silakan; Terima kasih

Uzbek: Marhamat; Rakhmat

Kazakh: Marhamet; Rahmet

Farsi (Iran): Khhelesh mikonam; Tashakkur

Tajik: Lutfan; Tashakur

Khmer (Cambodia): Suom; Ar kun

North and South American Pleases and Thank Yous

Much of North and South America is English-, Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking, but there are many other languages spoken in small pockets if you know where to look.

Navajo: T'aa shoodi; Ahéhee'

Lakhota: Yo (male), Ye (female); Pilamaya aloh

Chinook: Nixua; Masiem

Ojibwe (Chippewa): Daga; Miigwech

Náhuatl (Aztec): Nimitzmotlahtlauhtilia; Tlazohcamati

Quechua (Peru): Allichu; Paylla

Haitian Creole: Souplé; Mèsi

Kekchi (Guatemala): Baanu usilal; Bantiox

Please and Thank You Around Africa

Africa has thousands of languages, but here are a few pleases and thank yous from the most widely spoken African languages.

Wolof (West Africa): Baal ma; Jerejef

Swahili: Tafadhali; Asante

Yoruba (West Africa): E jòwó; E se é

Xhosa (South Africa): Nceda; Ndiyabulela

Zulu (South Africa): Jabulisa; Ngiyabonga

Afrikaans (South Africa): Asseblief; Dankie

Asante (Ghana): Mepa wo kyéw; Meda w'asé

Amharic (Ethiopia): Ibakkwon; Amesegënallô

Around the World

Of course there are many more ways to say please and thank you in different languages not listed here. If you are curious about other countries, be sure to check out travel guidebooks, bilingual dictionaries, and online translation sites.

References

Omniglot Staff. http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/

Runner, Jennifer. http://users.elite.net/runner/jennifers/

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