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how to say thank you around the world
 

France


French
French merci (mare-see)

Merci can be used formally and in a casual setting. The pronunciation and spelling are identical in all settings, and is not dependent on whom you're thanking.

 

United States


English
English thank you (thangk yoo)

There are many ways to express thanks in English-speaking countries. In countries like the UK or Australia, saying "cheers" as a way of expressing thanks is very common. However in the US or Canada, people might think you're offering a toast. In addition, "thanks" is the informal way of showing gratitude.

 

China


Mandarin
Mandarin 谢谢
Xièxiè
(syeh-syeh)

This is the most common way to say "thank you" in Mandarin Chinese - found predominantly in northern and southwestern China.

Mandarin Chinese is not only the most spoken language in China, but the most widely spoken language in the world.

 

Spain


Spanish
Spanish gracias (gra-thee-ahs)

Native Spanish speakers don't express overt thankfulness as readily as some cultures. They are not big on thank you notes or emails, and the terms "please" (por favor) and "thank you" are not often used in daily interactions.

Whereas English speakers will say "sure, will do" when being told to give someone their regards, always say "gracias" when someone does this in Spanish, as it is considered rude to do otherwise.

 

Italy


Italian
Italian grazie (gra-zee)

Grazie can be used interchangeably in Italian to mean both "thanks" and "thank you." Grazie is typically pronounced gra-zee, but a slightly more accurate pronunciation would be GRAHT-see+eh.

 

Turkey


Turkish
Turkish teşekkür ederim (Teh-sheh-kull-erh Ed-erh-im)

This word is usually difficult to pronounce as a native English speaker, so practice saying the words slowly until you perfect it.

Traveling around Turkey, you'll notice how the locals are very nice and constantly saying thank you.

 

United Kingdom


English
English thank you (thangk yoo)

There are many ways to express thanks in English-speaking countries. In countries like the UK or Australia, saying "cheers" as a way of expressing thanks is very common. However in the US or Canada, people might think you're offering a toast. In addition, "thanks" is the informal way of showing gratitude.

 

Germany


German
German danke (dahn-kuh)

Danke can be used interchangeably for both "thanks" and "thank you", as it means the same thing.

However, if you want to say thank you very much, use "danke sehr" (pronounced DAHN-keh zaer) instead.

 

Russia


Russian
Russian спасибо
spasibo
(spa-si-bo)

In Russia, it's possible to actually be too thankful. According to this Condé Nast Traveler, if a Russian waiter or waitress responds to your third "thank you" with an impatient look, don't be surprised. It's simply not in their culture to be overly polite.

 

Malaysia


Malay
Malay terima kasih (TREE-muh KAH-seh)

The official language for Malaysia is Malay, but Malaysia has hundreds of local, indigenous languages.

Malay has one of the most phonetic writing systems in the world, with only a few simple consonants and vowel sounds, making it very easy to pronounce.

 

Mexico


Spanish
Spanish gracias (grah-see-ahs)

When invited to someones home in Mexico, it's not necessary to bring a gift, but a thank you note after is a good idea. One quirk about Mexican thanking culture is that, if in a public place and you sneeze, you are expected to say "gracias" after someone, even a stranger, says "salud." Not doing so is considered rude. Odds are multiple people will say it, and if this happens, say "gracias" loud enough for all to hear.

 

Austria


German
German danke (dahn-kuh)

Danke can be used interchangeably for both "thanks" and "thank you", as it means the same thing.

However, if you want to say thank you very much, use "danke sehr" (pronounced DAHN-keh zaer) instead.

 

Hong Kong


Cantonese
Cantonese
多謝
dòjeh
(do-zeh)
唔該
m̀hgòi
(mm-goy)

There are two forms of thank you in Cantonese. First is "mh goi" which is used to thank someone for a service. Second is "do jeh" which is used to thank someone for a gift.

Mixing the two forms can be confusing, depending on the context, but it's not a major mistake if you mix them up.

 

Ukraine


Russian, Ukrainian
Russian спасибо
spasibo
(spa-si-bo)
Ukrainian спасибі
spasybi
(spa-si-bi)

In Ukraine, it's unusual for a resident to speak only Ukrainian or only Russian; they typically speak both.

If you're traveling to western Ukraine, you should say "spasybi." If traveling to eastern Ukraine, as it's influenced by Russia, you should say "spasibo."

 

Thailand


Thai
Thai ขอบคุณ
kòp kun
(khop-koon)

The direct translation of "thank you" in Thai is kòp kun. However, it's appropriate to adjust your wording based on gender.

If you're a man, saying "Khorb Khun Na Krup" is most appropriate. If a woman, saying "Khorb Khun Na Ka" is most appropriate.

 

Saudi Arabia


Arabic
Arabic شكرا
shukran
(shoo-kran)

Gestures are a big way of expressing thanks in Arabic speaking nations. When you're a guest and you don't require any more food or drink, "that's enough, thank you" can be expressed simply by patting the heart a few times.

Other gestures include kissing your own right hand, then raising your eyes and your right hand as a way of expressing thanks. Always thank the host profusely for their accommodations and good conversation.

 

Greece


Greek
Greek σας ευχαριστώ
sas ef̱charistó̱
(Sas Ef-ha-ri-sto)

Just like the Greek language, one of the oldest languages in Europe, thankfulness never goes out of style. This is the more formal way to express one's gratitude in Greek. The less formal way is to simply drop the "sas", so it would be "ef̱charistó̱."

 

Canada


English
English thank you (thangk yoo)

There are many ways to express thanks in English-speaking countries. In countries like the UK or Australia, saying "cheers" as a way of expressing thanks is very common. However in the US or Canada, people might think you're offering a toast. In addition, "thanks" is the informal way of showing gratitude.

 

Poland


Polish
Polish dziękuję (Jenkoo-yeng)

When in doubt, keeping it simple is your safest bet. This is the less formal way to say thank you, and is the most commonly used phrase as well.

 

Macao


Cantonese
Cantonese
多謝
dòjeh
(do-zeh)
唔該
m̀hgòi
(mm-goy)

There are two forms of thank you in Cantonese. First is "mh goi" which is used to thank someone for a service. Second is "do jeh" which is used to thank someone for a gift.

Mixing the two forms can be confusing, depending on the context, but it's not a major mistake if you mix them up.

 

Netherlands


Dutch
Dutch dank u (DAHNK uu)

Showing gratitude has a deep and rich history in Dutch culture. Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza suggested that every day for a month, we should consider what has inspired us, brought us happiness and brought us peace in order find more meaning and joy in our lives.

You can say either "dank u", which means thank you, or "dank je wel", which means thanks a lot.

 

Singapore


English
English Thank you (thangk yoo)

Singapore has four languages recognized by the government - English, Mandarin, Tamil and Malay.

Malay was once the most widely spoken, but now English is the most common language in Singapore and the language primarily taught in the country's education system.

 

Hungary


Hungarian
Hungarian köszönöm (Koo'-seh-nehm)

This is the common way to say thank you. The most formal version, "Nagyon szépen köszönöm" which means thank you very much, should only be used sparingly and for special occasions.

 

Croatia


Croatian
Croatian hvala (he-vah-la)

Even though many Croatians speak English, it's always good manners to speak in the native tongue of the country you're visiting.

Thank you etiquette and dining etiquette, where you'd typically say thank you, is similar to America.

 

South Korea


Korean
Korean 감사합니다
gamsahabnida
(COM-sah-mi-DUH)

This phrase of thank you is often used when speaking to someone of high status, or a senior citizen. "Gomawuh" is the less formal term.

It is not uncommon, when feelings of gratitude are great, for gifts to be given as a token of your appreciation. Cash is sometimes given as a gift as well.

 

Egypt


Arabic
Arabic شكرا
shukran
(shoo-kran)

Gestures are a big way of expressing thanks in Arabic speaking nations. When you're a guest and you don't require any more food or drink, "that's enough, thank you" can be expressed simply by patting the heart a few times.

Other gestures include kissing your own right hand, then raising your eyes and your right hand as a way of expressing thanks. Always thank the host profusely for their accommodations and good conversation.

 

Morocco


Arabic
Arabic شكرا
shukran
(shoo-kran)

Gestures are a big way of expressing thanks in Arabic speaking nations. When you're a guest and you don't require any more food or drink, "that's enough, thank you" can be expressed simply by patting the heart a few times.

Other gestures include kissing your own right hand, then raising your eyes and your right hand as a way of expressing thanks. Always thank the host profusely for their accommodations and good conversation.

 

Czech Republic


Czech
Czech děkuji (DYEH-koo-yih)

If you're visiting the Czech Republic, particularly in Prague, it's very useful to be able to say thank you.

Děkuji is a little harder to pronounce for some, but don't be startled if you don't get it on the first try, as English speakers commonly have a tough time pronouncing it. They will appreciate your effort.

 

Switzerland


German, French
German danke (dahn-kuh)
French merci (mare-see)

In German, "sie" is for addressing acquaintances, while "du" is for family and close friends. Although it's not particularly rude to mix them up, you should keep in mind the differences between these two phrases.

The French language has a couple of rules; use "de" when thanking for something abstract, such as a favor being done for you. Use "pour" when thanking for something tangible, like a gift. For example, "Merci pour le cadeau" means "thank you for the gift."

 

South Africa


Zulu, Afrikaans
Zulu ngiyabonga (Ngee ya bonga)
Afrikaans dankie (dahn-kee.)
Xhosa enkosi (in-KOH-see)
audio unavailable

South Africa technically has 11 official languages, but of the most widely spoken are Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

Afrikaans, a language derived from Dutch, is most widely spoken in the western half of South Africa. Xhosa is mostly spoken on the southeastern coast, while Zulu is spoken on the eastern coast. Keep that in mind, depending on which area you'll be visiting.

 

Indonesia


Indonesian
Indonesian terima kasih (teh-ree-mah kaa-see)

As similarly demonstrated with other countries, it is very important to know different phrases for different situations.

Where as "terima kasih" is used offering a simple thank you, deep gratitude is expressed by "kasih banyak." This is used when the gift giver or host shows extreme generosity.

 

Ireland


Irish, English
Irish go raibh maith agat (GUR-uh MY-uh gut)
English thank you (thangk yoo)

Expressing gratitude in Irish, often in Gaelic Irish, depends on to whom you are speaking. If you are speaking to one person, "go raibh maith agat" is the correct way. However, if you are speaking to many people, say, "Go raibh maith agaibh (guh rev mah ah-gwiv)."

Although a small and subtle difference, it's something to keep in mind.

 

Romania


Romanian
Romanian multumesc (mul-to-mesh)

There aren't any cultural tips to be aware when saying thanks in Romania. Essentially, if you would thank a person in this country for anything that would deserve thanks in your own country, go ahead and say it.

 

Belgium


Dutch
Dutch dank u (DAHNK uu)

Showing gratitude has a deep and rich history in Dutch culture. Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza suggested that every day for a month, we should consider what has inspired us, brought us happiness and brought us peace in order find more meaning and joy in our lives.

You can say either "dank u," which means thank you, or "dank je wel," which means thanks a lot.

 

Denmark


Danish
Danish tak (Tahg)

The Danish actually do not have a word for "please," but showing gratitude is still very important in their culture.

They believe that giving thanks, whether it be to your host, for food, or just for a sunny day, has a great and positive effect on mental well-being.

 

Portugal


Portuguese
Portuguese obrigado/a (oh-bri-gah-do / oh-bri-gah-da)

Portuguese is a romance language, closely related to Spanish.

"Obrigado" is said to the men, "obrigada" is said to women. So the word Obrigado will vary in gender to agree with who is feeling so.

"Obrigado" comes from the saying, “I feel obliged.” Thus, when someone does you a favor, you're saying you feel grateful and obliged to that person.

 

Bahrain


Arabic
Arabic شكرا
shukran
(shoo-kran)

Gestures are a big way of expressing thanks in Arabic speaking nations. When you're a guest and you don't require any more food or drink, "that's enough, thank you" can be expressed simply by patting the heart a few times.

Other gestures include kissing your own right hand, then raising your eyes and your right hand as a way of expressing thanks. Always thank the host profusely for their accommodations and good conversation.

 

Bulgaria


Bulgarian
Bulgarian благодаря ти
blagodarya
(blah-go-dar-ya)

"Blagodarya" is the normal way to express thanks, but in casual circumstances, such as receiving change from a cashier or picking up mail, "merci" the French word for thank you, is commonly used.

However, one should be careful when using this term as it is not always appropriate. When someone is very kind, “blagodaria vi mnogo” is the phrase for "thank you very much."

 

India


Hindi
Hindi धन्यवाद
Dhan'yavāda
(tha-nya-vaad)

Another common way to say thank you is "shukriyaa." However, "dhanyavaad" is a more formal way to say it, and is a much more common phrase among Hindi-speaking people.

It is common to say this when someone welcomes you into their home or congratulates you. However, do not expect to receive the same answer back, as they often have a different way to show it.

 

Vietnam


Vietnamese
Vietnamese cảm ơn (cahm-un)

In Vietnamese culture, a person who gives a compliment never expects a thank you in return. A verbal expression of gratitude in this case demonstrates a lack of modesty in the receiver of the compliment.

Although this is the word to say thank you, a simple smile will usually suffice. In fact, a smile is the proper way to display gratitude in many situations.

 

Australia


English
English thank you (thangk yoo)

There are many ways to express thanks in English-speaking countries. In countries like the UK or Australia, saying "cheers" as a way of expressing thanks is very common. However in the US or Canada, people might think you're offering a toast. In addition, "thanks" is the informal way of showing gratitude.

 

Argentina


Spanish
Spanish gracias (grah-see-aas)

Argentina is still a very machismo country. If you're a woman and find yourself at the receiving end of flirtatious comments, the best thing to do is smile, say "muchas gracias," and keep walking. While a thumbs up is an appropriate gesture to express thanks in some countries, in Argentina this is considered vulgar.

 

Brazil


Portuguese
Portuguese obrigado/a (oh-bri-gah-do / oh-bri-gah-da)

Portuguese is a romance language, closely related to Spanish.

"Obrigado" is said to the men, "obrigada" is said to women. So the word Obrigado will vary in gender to agree with who is feeling so.

"Obrigado" comes from the saying, “I feel obliged.” Thus, when someone does you a favor, you're saying you feel grateful and obliged to that person.

 

Sweden


Swedish
Swedish tack (tahk)

Swedes rarely take hospitality or kindness for granted, and as such "thanks" is often given.

When it comes to dining, the guest of honor (seated to the left of the hostess) typically makes a short speech during the dessert portion, extending gratitude. And a note of thanks is usually sent within a few days of said dinner.

 

Norway


Norwegian
Norwegian takk (taahk)

While Norwegians are generally modest and easy going, they still readily express feelings of gratitude.

Table manners are very important, especially when thanking the host or hostess for their hospitality. Sincere thanks are also expressed by a handshake.

There are many phrases, such as "takk for maten" (thanks for the food) that can be used in specific circumstances.

 

Tunisia


Arabic
Arabic شكرا
shukran
(shoo-kran)

Gestures are a big way of expressing thanks in Arabic speaking nations. When you're a guest and you don't require any more food or drink, "that's enough, thank you" can be expressed simply by patting the heart a few times.

Other gestures include kissing your own right hand, then raising your eyes and your right hand as a way of expressing thanks. Always thank the host profusely for their accommodations and good conversation.

 

Dominican Republic


Spanish
Spanish gracias (grah-see-aas)

Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic, as the language most street signs and restaurant menus are written in, but many speak English because of the heavy tourism industry. If you don't know Spanish, you should be okay, but speaking their native language is a great advantage.

 

Finland


Finnish
Finnish kiitos (kee-tos)

The guest of honor at a dinner party (those sitting to the right of the host or hostess) is expected to say a few words of thanks to the host/hostess after the meal.

When leaving the table, all guests should thank the host, whether the guest of honor has or not.

 

Jordan


Arabic
Arabic شكرا
shukran
(shoo-kran)

Gestures are a big way of expressing thanks in Arabic speaking nations. When you're a guest and you don't require any more food or drink, "that's enough, thank you" can be expressed simply by patting the heart a few times.

Other gestures include kissing your own right hand, then raising your eyes and your right hand as a way of expressing thanks. Always thank the host profusely for their accommodations and good conversation.


Audio sources: Malay, Canotonese, Ukranian, Arabic, Zulu, Irish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Vietnamese and Google Translate.

How to Say Thank You in Different Languages

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