Do you wish to surprise your Laotian spouse, partner, friends, family, or loved one by saying good morning in Lao to them? Then you are at the right place! In this post, we’ll go over this important greeting and the alternative translations so that you can greet others with confidence! Let’s begin!
Learning to introduce yourself is great, but greeting a stranger with a good morning in their native tongue is the sweetest way to ensure they start their day with a big smile. You may not think much about it, but it is an expression of love, care, and respect, especially when spoken by a non-native language speaker. So, if you speak English or any other language and wish to learn Lao greetings, stay put on this page.
Lao Greetings & Etiquette
Every language shares some commonalities with its sister languages (those from the same language family tree) and some quirks that make it stand out from the rest. For instance, unlike in the western world, there is no concept of greeting someone with a ‘time of the day specific’ greeting in the tiny country of Laos.
People simply say Sabai Di/ Sa Bai Dee/ Sa Bai Di (ສະບາຍດີ) to greet someone with a hello. It is the general greeting across the nation. In the local language Lao, this word literally means ‘have good health.’ Almost always, this greeting is accompanied by folded hands in a prayer position with a slight bow.
Different Ways To Say Good Morning In Lao
Laotian society is steeped well in culture. Its traditions and language are simply a reflection of that. A vast majority of people, to this date, use their traditional way of greeting each other. Whether you are younger than them or older, whether the situation and the context are formal or informal, for the most part, the tradition remains.
So, it would be a good idea to make an effort to learn easy Lao greetings. Let’s look at different useful phrases in the Lao language and their pronunciation that could help you with the same.
To wish someone a good morning, suffix the common greeting Sa Bai Dee/ Sa Bai Di (Hello) with ‘Ton Sao’ and say Sa Bai Dee Ton Sao (ສະບາຍດີຕອນເຊົ້າ). Adding the extra words is a way to indicate the time of the day. So, if you wish to greet someone with a good afternoon or good evening in Lao, you’ll have to add the words ‘Ton Bai’ and ‘Ton Aelng,’ respectively, with your Sa Bai Dee. But do note that to say good night, you use a different word altogether. ‘Fandi’ or ຝັນດີ in Lao means good night.
I Wish You A Good Morning
You may use this formal-sounding greeting in your written communications, as people usually don’t speak in complete sentences in their daily speech. In the Lao language, it would be said as Khoouanyphon Haichao Sabai Di Ton Sao or ຂໍອວຍພອນໃຫ້ເຈົ້າສະບາຍດີຕອນເຊົ້າ.
Happy Morning To You!
If you want to wish someone old school type, along with a slight tip of your hat/cap, you can say to them: Sabai Di Ton Sao Kabchao (ສະບາຍດີຕອນເຊົ້າກັບເຈົ້າ).
Do note that when you are using these greetings with an unknown older man, don’t forget to use the term ‘Aii’ (ອ້າຍ), which means older brother. This simple trick will help ensure that you won’t rub off the wrong way!
Lao Greeting Gesture
In Laotian society, folding your hands together in front of your chest is the traditional way to greet someone or say good-bye, or bid farewell to someone. This gesture is known as Nop in Laos. However, this greeting gesture is common across most of Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Addressing someone in this manner – one’s hands folded and accompanied by a bow – reflects respect. The gesture usually means that you are honoring God’s presence in the person you are addressing. One is expected to follow this norm mandatorily before a person who commands respect, age notwithstanding. It could be an older man or someone with a higher social standing. These people could be monks, teachers, or even police officers. For the young, these greetings are always spoken along with slightly touching their chin.
Other Useful Lao Phrases
You can also try your hands at speaking some of these basic Lao terms and greetings before your trip to Laos.
|Good Bye||ໂຊກດີເດີ້||Sôhk Dii Der|
|Stay Well||ລາກ່ອນ||La Kon|
|Thank You||ຂອບໃຈ||Khawp Jai|
|I Love You||ຂ້ອຍຮັກເຈົ້າ||Khony Hak Chao|
|Excuse Me||ຂໍໂທດ||Khãw Thôht|
Want To Learn Lao? Try Ling!
Phew, what an exhaustive list of greetings in Lao! These greetings are bound to be handy on your next trip to this beautiful nation. You can read more about Laos, Lao culture, and the Lao language in many of our curated articles. Going further, you can even learn many helpful expressions and phrases in Lao on the Ling app.
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