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How to Say Please and Thank You in Different Languages

written by: Kate Henschel • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 8/2/2012

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.

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    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.

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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.

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    References

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

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