Literal Meaning Of Hello In Different Languages
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Literal Meaning Of Hello In Different Languages

Do you know what hello means?

4577
Literal Meaning Of Hello In Different Languages

In every language, there's a word that is used to greet others. In English, we have "hello," but have you ever wondered what it actually means and how we started saying it? Why do we even have greeting words? Why don't we just start talking right away without saying hello?

We don't do anything that's meaningless, so there must be reasons why we say hello. It's not just because it's useful, but recognizing someone's presence and saying hello is a very important part of our communication. In different languages, words for hello slightly differ from one another. Hola, guten tag, aloha, nihao... Do you know what they all mean?

Hello (English).

The origin of hello is the French holà; it roughly means "whoa there!" (ho, là). Even though holà hasn't been used in French as their way to greet, apparently that's where it all started! Any hellos that sound like hola, hello, ola or hallo are from the same origin.

Bonjour (French).

As some of you might already know, bonjour means "good day!" There are a lot of hellos that mean "good day!" Guten tag from German, goddag from Danish, buongiorno from Italian; they all mean good day!

Sawubona (Zulu).

The Zulu greeting, Sawubona means we see you. They use "we" instead of "I" because they believe that their eyes are connected to their ancestors' eyes. The other person would respond with, Yabo, sawubona (yes, we see you, too). By letting them know that you see them, you are inviting them to participate in your life with deep witnessing.

你好, nihao (Chinese).

It literally means: you good? (Ni meaning you, hao meaning good.) It is used like hello but the actual meaning comes closer to the phrase "how are you?"

In fact, you can say "how are you?" just by adding "ma" at the end of the phrase.

Ciào (Italian).

Ciào is used as both hello and goodbye. The word derives from the Venetian phrase s-ciao vostro or s-ciao su, literally meaning "I am your slave." It wasn't anything literal, they meant it as "at your service."

Здравейте, zdraveite (Bulgarian).

Zdraveite! It derived from a Bulgarian word zdrave, which means health. When people say hello in Bulgaria, they are wishing the other person to stay safe and healthy.

Aloha (Hawaiian).

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F02%2F22%2F635917139024446483-1351266620_aloha.jpg&ho=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com&s=286&h=af0a28b88bda1633c74e4884b810e70cdded06ca4a9f4e90ea773e5bedef98ac&size=980x&c=328371597 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F02%252F22%252F635917139024446483-1351266620_aloha.jpg%26ho%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn1.theodysseyonline.com%26s%3D286%26h%3Daf0a28b88bda1633c74e4884b810e70cdded06ca4a9f4e90ea773e5bedef98ac%26size%3D980x%26c%3D328371597%22%7D" expand=1 original_size="1x1"]

According to a folk etymology, the word aloha is a compound of Hawaiian word alo meaning "presence," "face" and "share," and ha meaning "essence of life." It is said from the heart with feelings of love, peace and compassion.

こんにちは, konnichiwa (Japanese)

The literal meaning of konnichiwa is "today is..." Yes, it is the beginning of a sentence and they never say the end of it. Some claim that it continues with gokigen ikaga desuka?(How are you today?) and others claim that it continues with iihi desune (today is a good day).

שָׁלוֹם, shalom (Hebrew).

Shalom is a term used as hello and goodbye and many people know that it has a meaning of "peace." However, peace is just a part of it. Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom, meaning to be complete, perfect and full. When you say shalom, you are wishing them a wonderful life with everything that shalom means!

नमस्ते, namaste (Hindu).

The word derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word nama meaning bow, obeisance or adoration, and te meaning to you so it means "I bow to you." It is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together; this gesture means, "The divine in me bows to the divine in you."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

581
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower

The iconic landmark is reinventing itself with a splashy new color.

2055
Eiffel Tower

Soon, the 2024 Summer Olympics are coming to Paris, and the Eiffel Tower will be in the spotlight.

Embedded so much into Paris's identity, the iconic landmark is no stranger to historic events and world-class gatherings over the years. It is sure to shine again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

You don't just start as the person you are meant to be; there is a journey full of ups and downs that mold a person, so this is my journey.

3107
Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

Overall I'd love to say I grew up a happy overly enthusiastic child that was taught to love herself and be loved by everyone else, but I can't say that and I never will. My smile wasn't always as bright as it is today, but this is the story behind my smile, the story about how I got here to the happiest place I'll ever be. I'll begin at freshman year of high school.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants

Just remember sometimes it is gonna hurt, whether we want it to or not!

5993
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants
Where to start...... Let me start with the cliche that life throws us curveballs and what we do with it is what counts.

One day he walked into my life. UNEXPECTED! And one day he walked out!

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

See which conversations rose to the top on Odyssey this week!

5342
Pixabay

New response writers means exciting new conversations on Odyssey! We're proud to spotlight our talented creators and the topics that matter most to them. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments