The words "thank you" are used to express gratitude. There are many different words and gestures used around the world to relay this message and show others that you appreciate their kindness. Making the effort to show even a basic understanding of the local language can go a long way, so we'll show you how to say thank you in many languages.
In the English language, it is common to hear "thank you" or "thanks" as a polite response. Whether you are planning a trip to a foreign country, have a friend who speaks another language, or are looking for a unique way to say thanks, there are many ways to express your appreciation.
The following are examples of how to say thank you in 30 different languages other than English:
- Arabic – shukran (shoe-kran)
- Chinese, Mandarin – xie xie (she-eh she-eh)
- Croatian – hvala (HVAH-lah)
- Czech – děkuji (dyekooyih)
- Danish – tak (tahg)
- Dutch – dank u (dahnk oo)
- Estonian – tänan (TA-nahn)
- Finnish – kiitos (key-toss)
- French – merci (MEHR-see)
- German – danke (dahn-kah)
- Greek – efharisto (ef-hah-rees-TOH)
- Hawaiian – mahalo (ma-HA-lo)
- Hindi – dhanyavaad (dun-yuh-vahd) formal, shukriyaa (shook-ree-yuh) informal
- Indonesian – terima kasih (Tur-EE-mah KAH-see)
- Italian – grazie (GRAHTS-yeh)
- Japanese – arigato (ah-ree-GAH-toh)
- Korean - kamsahamnida (KAM-sah-ham-NEE-da)
- Latvian – paldies (PUHL-dyehs)
- Norwegian – takk (tahk)
- Polish – dziękuję (Jenkoo-yeh)
- Portugese – obrigado (oh-bree-GAH-dooh) masculine/ obrigada (oh-bree-GAH-dah) feminine
- Romanian – mulţumesc (mool-tzoo-MESK)
- Russian – spasiba (spuh-SEE-buh)
- Slovak – Ďakujem (JAH-koo-yehm)
- Spanish – gracias (GRAH-syahs)
- Swahili - asante (ah-sahn-teh)
- Tagalog/Filipino – salamat (sa-LAH-mat)
- Thai – khob khun (cob-coohn)
- Turkish – teşekkür ederim (teh-shek-uer eh-der-eem)
- Vietnamese: cảm ơn (gauhm uhhn)
In addition to speaking the words thank you, you can also sign the words in American Sign Language. To do this, start with the fingers on your prominent hand and place them near your lips. Keep your hand flat and move your hand forward and down in the direction of the person you want to thank.
Saying thank you can vary from culture to culture. Some cultures do not rely on words to say thank you but use gestures instead when it is appropriate to express gratitude for something.
Some cultural tips for saying thanks in other countries to keep in mind are:
- In China, it is more common to say thanks with a thoughtful gift rather than words. Giving someone a small token of appreciation is more accepted than saying thank you.
- In India, saying thank you is quite formal and puts social distance between you and the recipient. Saying thank you is more usual with strangers than those close to you as it is expected that friends and family will do things for one another.
- In Japan, people often bow to one another to show their thanks rather than actually saying the words. The Japanese also have many holidays and occasions where your thanks can be given as gifts.
When in doubt, go with what the locals are doing to say thanks. You can always ask someone what is appropriate and follow through with that gesture.
There are many ways to express gratitude. Saying a sincere thank you is usually a great way to express your appreciation to someone who helps or supports you, but remember that in some cultures a small gesture or gift is welcome instead or, even, no thanks at all.
Learning to say thank you in a different language is not only fun but can be a great way to gain the attention of those around you and to show your politeness when visiting another country. When you're ready, learn how to say I love you in 20 languages or see more ways to express gratitude in Spanish beyond gracias. Then, discover the many ways to say "you're welcome."