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How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages

jason-oxenham-ceo February 27, 2017, 1:32 am
While Thanksgiving isn't until the end of the year in the United States and Canada, it's a great time to start learning how to say "thank you" in as many languages as possible!

If you wanted to say thank you to everyone on the planet, you'd probably need to learn around 7,000 languages. Fortunately, however, there's a better way to thank to as many people in the world as possible. By learning how to say "thank you" in the world's 50 most spoken languages, you would be able to say thanks to approximately 80% of the world's population. That's right, you could thank nearly 5.7 billion native speakers people!

Before we take a look at how to say thank you in some of the world's most spoken languages, it's important to clarify that discovering exactly which languages are the most spoken is no easy task. Despite all of the information available, no sources seem to agree upon the total number of speakers since this information isn't readily available for many languages. Many sources offer information about the total number of native speakers by country, and don't take into account non-native language learners.

That's why I opted for the information provided by SIL International's Ethnologue, an online publication  dedicated to researching the world's languages. The information included the approximate number of native speakers, and, as always, is an educated estimate.

Are you ready to learn how to say thank you in the 50 most spoken languages in the world?

Let's take a trip around the world and learn how to thank 80% of the world's population:

1. Mandarin Chinese - China - 1.3 billion native speakers
谢谢 - xièxie
2. Spanish - Mexico, South America, Spain (31 total) - 427 million native speakers
3. English - North America, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand (106 total) - 339 million native speakers
Thank you
4. Arabic - Saudi Arabia, Egypt (58 total) - 267 million native speakers
5. Hindi - India - 260 million native speakers    
धन्यवाद्  (basic, formal)
6. Portuguese - Brazil, Portugal (12 total) - 202 million native speakers
Obrigado (masculine)
Obrigada (feminine)
7. Bengali - Bangladesh - 189 million native speakers
8. Russian - Russian Federation (17 total) - 171 million native speakers
9. Japanese - Japan - 128 million native speakers
10. Lahnda/Punjabi - Pakistan, India - 117 million native speakers
ਧਨਵਾਦ / مہربانی
ਸ਼ੁਕਰੀਆ / شکریہ
11. Javanese - Indonesia - 85 million native speakers
Matur nuwun
[ma-toor new-won]
12. Korean - South Korea, North Korea - 77 million native speakers
Gomapseumnida (formal)
Kam sa hae yo
(informal, between friends and younger people)
Gomawo/komawo (simple and casual)
13. Wu Chinese (Shanghainese) - China - 77 million native speakers
yáyà nóng
14. German - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, (26 total) - 77 million native speakers
15. French - Europe, Africa, Caribbean, Canada (53 total) - 76 million native speakers
16. Telugu - India - 74  million native speakers
17. Marathi - India - 72 million native speakers
आभारी आहे
ābhārī āhe
18. Turkish - Turkey (8 total) - 71 million native speakers
tesekkür ederim
19. Urdu - Pakistan, India - 69 million native speakers
بہت شكريه
Bahut shukriya
Shukriya (more casual)
20. Vietnamese - Vietnam - 68 million native speakers
cảm ơn (casual)
cảm ơn bạn (formal)
xin cảm ơn (very formal)
21. Tamil - India (7 total) - 68 million native speakers
nandri (formal)
22. Cantonese Chinese - China - 66 million native speakers
Do jeh
[daw-dyeh] (for a gift)
m̀hgòi (for a service)
23. Italian - Italy (13 total) - 63 million native speakers
24. Persian (Farsi) - Afghanistan, Iran (6 total) - 61 million native speakers
25. Malay - Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand (16 total) - 61 million native speakers
Terima kasih
[ter-ee-mah kah-sih]
26. Thai - Thailand - 60 million native speakers
Kawp-kun krap/ka'
27. Min Nan Chinese (Taiwanese) - China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines (7 total) - 49 million native speakers
28. Polish - Poland - 46 million native speakers
29. Gujarati - India, Pakistan, Uganda, Zimbabwe (8 total) - 46 million native speakers    
30. Burmese - Myanmar - 42 million native speakers
cè-zù tin-ba-deh
31. Ukrainian - Ukraine - 39 million native speakers
32. Malayalam - India - 34 million native speakers
33. Hakka Chinese - China, Indonesia, Malaysia (9 total) - 34 million native speakers
gum xia
34. Kannada - India - 34 million native speakers
35. Oromo - Ethiopia, Kenya - 34 million native speakers
36. Oriya (Odia) - India - 31 million native speakers
37. Pashto - Afghanistan, Pakistan, India - 31 million native speakers
38. Berber - Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Nigeria - 31 million native speakers
Allah yrhm lwaladin (literally: "May God bless your parents")
39. Kurdish - Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria    30 million native speakers
Sipas dekem]
(Sorani Kurdish)
40. Amharic - Ethiopia and Israel - 28 million native speakers
amäsäggänallähw (literally "I praise you")
41. Sundanese/Basa Sunda Indonesian - Indonesia - 27 million native speakers
Hatur nuhun
42. Nepali - Nepal, India, Bhutan - 26 million native speakers
43. Romanian - Romania, Moldova (7 total) - 26 million native speakers
44. Bhojpuri - India, Mauritius, Nepal - 25 million native speakers
45. Tagalog - The Phillippines - 25 million native speakers
Salamat (informal)
Salamat po (formal)
46. Azerbaijani - Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey - 24 million native speakers
Təşəkkür edirəm
Çox sağ ol
Çox sağ olun (plural)
47. Maithili - India, Nepal - 24 million native speakers
48. Hausa - Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan (8 total) - 24 million native speakers
Na gode
49. Yoruba - Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone - 23 million native speakers
O ̣se
E se
50. Serbo-Croatian - Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia (7 total) - 21 million native speakers
hvala (Serbian script)
Hvala (Croatian script)

No Easy Thanks

A quick scan through all of the different ways to say "thank you" reveals that a simple greeting is often more complicated than we English speakers imagine. Whether or not the greeting is formal or informal, masculine or feminine, and even the age or religion of the speakers involved can play a role in determining which greeting to use.

Languages reflect cultures and history, and we English speakers are a relatively informal, straightforward group of people. In many cultures, language reflects complex social hierarchies, norms and gender roles, and the best way to learn these languages is to respect and embrace these rules. It may not be easy, but learning a language and how to communicate with its native speakers provides countless benefits and helps you to understand a whole new way of seeing the world.

So what are you waiting for? Starting learning a new language today!

By Andrea Reisenauer, guest blogger. Andrea Reisenauer is a language lover, ESL teacher Rocket Languages fan with a Master's degree in Translation. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, and Italian and is currently studying French.
How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages
Barry-S22 February 27, 2017, 4:39 am
This is the kind of article I enjoy reading. I love seeing similar or dissimilar patterns in the various languages.
Interestingly, it looks as if in the Korean section a line or two lines have been missed out.
GOMAPSEUMNIDA is formal and the "say it like this part" refers to the standard, less formal but not casual GAMZAHAMNIDA which is not written!

This tends to rock the confidence of the reader: does this mean that similar mistakes are made in the sections about languages with which the reader is not familiar?

Best wishes, Andrea.
Keep on trucking.
Schreiben Sie weiter!

Barry Shaw, Sprachenmitliebhaber,
New Zealand
How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages
Peter--252 February 27, 2017, 4:04 pm
Like it!
As a fan of "Nordic noir" or "Scandi noir" I'd like to include one I think you've missed - in Swedish it's "Tack" (pronounced as it looks).

How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages
KelllaurBailar February 28, 2017, 8:14 pm
Nice. And it's interesting to look at how many of the languages are written! I've found written Bengali (or Bangla) as interesting to copy as well as just to study ever since my having a "Pen Pal" who lives there and writes to my family. 
Thank you, Andrea!
How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages
Alexandre Ailton - Brazil March 1, 2017, 2:38 am
Oh, gosh ! It´s too much to learn.
How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages
jparik March 1, 2017, 5:01 pm
Well, I will add two languages more

CZECH (10.5 milions speakers)

SLOVAK  (5.4 milions speakers)
How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages
jolietil June 10, 2017, 2:10 pm
Here is a link to a great video :
How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages
jolietil June 10, 2017, 2:19 pm
I'd like to add Hawaiian(around 2000 native speakers)  :
mahalo iā ʻoe
How to Say Thank You in 50 Languages

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