I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I always aim to be polite. I hate the thought of people seeing me as rude or - even worse - ignorant to the local cultural practices. For this reason, I always make sure to learn the words to say hello and thank you in the language of where I am visiting. This has actually worked quite well for me. It is nice seeing a smile grow on a person's face when you speak their language, even just to say thank you. I highly suggest you give this a try, so I have put together this post to help you learn how to say thank you in 10 languages.
To say thank you in Thai, you would use the phrase:
Kop khun ( ขอบคุณ )
Since this post has a heavy emphasis on being polite, we should also quickly cover how to be polite when speaking Thai. In essence, there are different ways of speaking based on who is being spoken to.
If you you learn Thai, then you should know that there are also words that you can use to make sure what you say is understood in a more polite way. These words are ka (ค่ะ) for female speakers and krap (ครับ) for male speakers. These are almost always used when saying thank you in Thai, so you should the phrases as:
Female Speakers: Kob khun ka (ขอบคุณค่ะ)
Male Speakers: Kob khun krab (ขอบคุณครับ)
While there are several different ways to say thank you in Serbian, the most common way is to say:
Hvala vam ( Хвала вам )
This is a universal phrase that can be said by people of any gender, unlike Thai. This is the word you would say to the people you interact with within your daily life. You can say hvala vam to the grocery store worker who provided you with a high-quality service, or to your friends who bought you a gift. Being just one syllable, it shouldn’t be too long before you master the art of thanking your friends in Serbian.
Next time you are staying in the Philippines, you can impress everyone you speak to by saying the Tagalog phrase for thank you:
Due to the widespread use of English in the country, many people do not take the time to at least learn a few phrases in Tagalog. Try to make someone's day by giving a smile while you use Tagalog to thank them for inviting you to their Filipino-style Christmas party.
You should also be prepared with the more formal way to say thank you in Tagalog, which you would use with people older than you, or in a higher position. Don’t worry though, all it takes is adding Po after the regular word for saying thank you. Who said that learning Tagalog had to be difficult?
Thank you for reading this post! Or should I say Salamat?
If you look up how to say thank you in Lithuanian, you will find many joking about how much it sounds like a sneeze. It is obvious to see why:
The unfortunate combination of the pronunciation and intonation of the word makes it resemble the sound of a sneeze (achoo). While it is amusing, we can use this to our advantage as a way to memorize the word. So, next time you are stopping in Vilnius, remember that they are not sneezing, they are just being polite. Just make sure you say gesundheit each time you hear it. Unless it was a real sneeze, that is.
I would imagine that many of the people reading who are fans of anime know that thank you in Japanese is:
Arigatou gozai masu ( ありがとうございます )
Here’s a fun fact: the phrase for thank you in Japanese is often written in Hiragana, which is one of the three main writing styles used for the language. In this longer form, it is more formal. The shorter version, Arigatou, is less formal but a bit more versatile, but that is a lesson for another day. For the majority of the time, you can’t go wrong with this tried and true phrase while you speak Japanese with others.
The way to say thank you in Korean is:
Gamsahamnida ( 감사합니다 )
Like some of the other languages we have mentioned here, there are several different levels of formality in Korean, and this applies to the word for thank you too. While the form we have chosen is the more formal and polite version, it is generally the most common you will hear. At least you know that you will not offend anyone by using it.
Perfecting the pronunciation is a bit difficult as it is a bit of a tongue-twister (at least, it is for me) but with practice, you will be ready to say thanks to your favorite k-pop star for bringing you joy with their music.
Want to study Cantonese? Great, let’s start with the most common way to say thank you in the language:
Dor je ( 多謝 )
Often overlooked, Cantonese has a long and interesting history that can only be understood with knowledge of the language itself. Often overshadowed by the more widely spoken Mandarin, it is a shame that more people don’t take the time to learn Cantonese.
The next time you hear someone speaking Cantonese, use this phrase to say thanks. I would imagine they more often hear it in Mandarin when speaking with visitors, so having one say it in their tongue would be great for them.
Just finished a tour around Angkor Wat and want to say thank you to your guide in Khmer? Use the phrase:
Aor-kun ( អរគុណ។ )
That way, they will know that you appreciate their help and they will feel like they achieved something. You can do a sampeah (សំពះ) too, especially if they do one to you first. It is for reasons like this that learning even the little things like greetings in Khmer will go a long way. Not many people take the time to learn Khmer, so any time they hear a visitor speak, there may be a grateful smile.
If you plan to make your way to the beautiful country of Slovakia, you should come prepared with the word for thank you:
Ski resorts are a major attraction for visitors to Slovakia. The beautiful mountains make for a great getaway for those who enjoy skiing their troubles away. Give back to the people of the country by using the Slovak word for thank you where ever possible. It is easy to learn and, once you get the hang of it, it just slides off the tongue. Give it a try for yourself.
Do you know the way to say thank you in the Malay language? If you said this, then you are correct:
There are many different reasons to make a stop in Malaysia during your trip to Southeast Asia. It is made all the better by learning Malay. Everyone has a pretty good understanding of English, but try to use some Malay words from time to time to show some respect and appreciation for their language and culture.
If you hear someone say thank you in Malay to you, you can reply with the phrase sama-sama, which would be understood as you’re welcome.
If there is just one word or phrase you should learn in a language, it should be thank you. Now that we have covered how to say it in 10 different languages, you should be well prepared when you next stumble upon a local in either of these countries. It may take a little while to perfect the pronunciation and, in some cases, the tone, you should soon be able to say thank you like a true local.
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