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Common phrases in different languages
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Common phrases in different languages

Here is a list of common phrases in different languages.

It is possible for tourists in a country whose language they do not understand to get along with a surprisingly short list of phrases, combined with pointing, miming, and writing down numbers on paper.

You are invited to add more languages to the list. Please use the minimum number of words that would be understandable and put the pronunciation in slashes according to IPA transcription if possible. If desired, also add a pseudo-English pronunciation guide for those not familiar with SAMPA or IPA. However, actual pronunciations of the pseudo-English spellings will vary from speaker to speaker. Enclose the "spelling guide" in parentheses, separate syllables with dashes, use English words that sound like the syllables if possible, and render the stressed syllable in ALL CAPS.

The language family of every language is listed in parentheses.

Table of contents
1 Examples
1.1 English (Germanic)
1.2 Afrikaans (Germanic)
1.3 Albanian (Albanian)
1.4 Arabic (Semitic)
1.5 Basque
1.6 Belarusian (Slavic)
1.7 Breton (Celtic)
1.8 Catalan (Romance)
1.9 Chinese, Mandarin (Chinese)
1.10 Croatian (Slavic)
1.11 Czech (Slavic)
1.12 Danish (Germanic)
1.13 Dutch (Germanic)
1.14 Estonian (Finno-Ugric)
1.15 Finnish (Finno-Ugric)
1.16 French (Romance)
1.17 Frisian (Germanic)
1.18 German (Germanic)
1.19 Greek (Greek)
1.20 Hawaiian (Malayo-Polynesian)
1.21 Hebrew (Semitic)
1.22 Hindi (Indo-Iranian)
1.23 Hungarian (Finno-Ugric)
1.24 Icelandic (Germanic)
1.25 Indonesian (Malayo-Polynesian)
1.26 Irish (Celtic)
1.27 Italian (Romance)
1.28 Japanese
1.29 Korean
1.30 Lithuanian (Baltic)
1.31 Latin (Italic)
1.32 Low Saxon (Germanic)
1.33 Maltese (Semitic)
1.34 Malay (Malayo-Polynesian)
1.35 Maori (Malayo-Polynesian)
1.36 Marathi (Indian languages)
1.37 Nigerian pidgin (English-based pidgin)
1.38 Norwegian (Germanic) - Bokml
1.39 Pennsylvania German, Pennsylvania Dutch (Germanic)
1.40 Polish (Slavic)
1.41 Portuguese (Romance)
1.42 Romanian (Romance)
1.43 Russian (Slavic)
1.44 Sanskrit (Indo-Iranian)
1.45 Sardinian (Romance)
1.46 Scots (Germanic) /Sampa/
1.47 Serbian (Slavic)
1.48 Slovak (Slavic)
1.49 Slovene (Slavic)
1.50 Spanish (Romance)
1.51 Swahili (Bantu)
1.52 Swedish (Germanic)
1.53 Tagalog / Filipino (Malayo-Polynesian)
1.54 Taiwanese
1.55 Tamil (Dravidian)
1.56 Telugu (Dravidian)
1.57 Tok Pisin (Neo-Melanesian English creole)
1.58 Ukrainian (Slavic)
1.59 Vietnamese (Mon-Khmer)
1.60 Welsh (Celtic)
1.61 Xhosa language (Nguni languages, Bantu)
1.62 Yiddish (Germanic)
2 Usage notes
3 Related articles
4 External link


English (Germanic)

As a sample, here's English, according to British Received Pronunciation, followed by American English/Standard American English:

Afrikaans (Germanic)

Albanian (Albanian)

Note: All the sounds above are in the Ogg Vorbis format.

Arabic (Semitic)

Note that this is relevant only to Modern Standard Arabic and not to the colloquial forms of Arabic spoken in daily life, which vary from place to place. Also, some of the following expressions were written only to suit a male speaker.

Pronunciation guide: Stress in Arabic is most often on the penult syllable (i.e. one preceding the last).


Belarusian (Slavic)

Breton (Celtic)

Catalan (Romance)

Chinese, Mandarin (Chinese)

Note: tone 1 (e.g. mā) is high and level; 2 (e.g., m) is rising; 3 (e.g., mǎ ) is dipping; 4 (e.g., m) is falling. For more info, see pinyin. Also note that the first set of characters preceding the slashes are in simplified Chinese characters and the ones following the slashes are in traditional characters.

(Usage Note: The first term is used in mainland China, while the second term is used on Taiwan.) (Usage Note: The second syllable of "nige" is actually a generic measure word; it is replaced by the appropriate measure word for the noun it refers to. You may therefore hear a number of different syllables after the initial ni. In many parts of southern China, ni is also pronounced n.) (Usage Note: This actually means "it is" and can only be used in an answer to a question with the verb "to be". Languages like Chinese, Irish, Toki Pona, and Welsh do not have words for "yes" or "no". Instead you repeat the main verb of the question in your answer. However, shaking your head in affirmation or negation works as expected, with the exception of answers to negative questions, in which usage is inverted: ie, answering in the negative to "You don't like him?" would indicate that you do like him.)

Croatian (Slavic)

Czech (Slavic)

Danish (Germanic)

(Usage Note: No word directly corresponds to the word "please". Danish and Finnish express the concept of politeness in a request in various ways.)

Dutch (Germanic)

Estonian (Finno-Ugric)

Finnish (Finno-Ugric)

French (Romance)

Frisian (Germanic)

The translations provided following W: are in West Frisian, those following N: are in North Frisian (Mooring dialect).

W: Frysk /fri.sk/ (freask)
N: Friisk /fri:sk/ (freask)
W: a goeie /ɑ gujə/ (ah gooye)
N: moin /mOIn/ (moin)
W: oant sjen /ɔnt ʃɛn/ (ont shen)
N: adjiis /Adji:s/ (a-jease)
W: asjeblyft /ɑʃəbli.ft/ (ashebleaft)
N: weesegdj /ve:z&gdj/ (veisegud-y)
W: tige tank /'tiːɣə tɑnk/ (teaghe tank)
N: foole tunk /fo:l&tunk/ (foughle toonk)
W: dy /di./ (dea)
N: di /dI/ (dih)
W: hoefolle? /hufolə/ (who folle)
N: hfoole? /h^fo:l&/ (huh foughle)
W: Ingelsk /iŋəlsk/ (ingelsk)
N: Aingelsch /&j:&lS/ (ayngelsh)
W: ja /ja/ (yaah)
N: joo /jo:/ (yo)
W: nee /ne./ (nay)
N: nn /nO:n/ (nawn)
W: Wr is hjir it hske? /Wɛːr ɪs jɪrət hy.skə/ (where is yirret hewske)
N: Weer as heer et hschen? /wI:R &s hI:r &t hy.S&n/ (vere is heret hewshen)
W: tsjoch /ʧoX/ (chokh)
N: snhid /snhEId/ (sun-heyd)
W: Kinne jo Ingelsk? /kɪnə jo. ɪŋəlsk/ (kinne yo ingelsk?)
N: Koost d Aingelsch? /ko:st &j@lS/ (coastuh ayngelsh)
W: Ik begryp it net /ɪk bəgri.pət nɛt/ (ick begreapet net)
N: Ik begrip et ai /Ik b&grIp&t&j/ (ick begripet ay)
W: Pardon /pədɔn/ (p'donn)
N: Fertrt me /ftr^t me/ (f-trut meh)

German (Germanic)

Greek (Greek)

Hawaiian (Malayo-Polynesian)

(Other useful words in Hawaiian:)

Hebrew (Semitic)

Hindi (Indo-Iranian)

Hungarian (Finno-Ugric)

Note: gy (ɟ) is pronounced like in would you; ny (ɲ) like in can you; ö and ő () like in fur; a (ɑ) like in hot; s (ʃ) like in ship; sz (s) like in sun; j (j) like in yes; cs (ʧ) like in chip; (e) like in eight.

Icelandic (Germanic)

Indonesian (Malayo-Polynesian)

(note: N is pronounced like ng in king)

Irish (Celtic)

Italian (Romance)



Note: Hangul Revised Romanization of Korean See also: Names of Korea

Lithuanian (Baltic)

One of two still living uniq and glorious baltic languages.

Latin (Italic)

Pronunciations given are the Ecclesiastical Pronunciation (Based on Italian, and used in some ceremonies by the Catholic church)

Low Saxon (Germanic)

Maltese (Semitic)

See also

Malay (Malayo-Polynesian)

Maori (Malayo-Polynesian)

Marathi (Indian languages)

Nigerian pidgin (English-based pidgin)

Norwegian (Germanic) - Bokml

Pennsylvania German, Pennsylvania Dutch (Germanic)

(dialects may vary)

Polish (Slavic)

Portuguese (Romance)

Romanian (Romance)

Russian (Slavic)

Sanskrit (Indo-Iranian)

Sardinian (Romance)

Scots (Germanic) /Sampa/

Serbian (Slavic)

Slovak (Slavic)

Slovene (Slavic)

Spanish (Romance)

Swahili (Bantu)

Usage Note: Greetings in Swahili are a crucial aspect of Swahili culture; it is not uncommon for a conversation to last five minutes before it actually moves beyond saying "Hello". There is no generic word for "Hello" in the language, rather there are numerous options depending on the relative ages and/or race of the people involved, as well as singular and plural forms. A non-comprehensive list would include "hujambo" (reply "sijambo") for two people of similar age and race, "jambo" (reply "jambo") for between white and black people, "Shikamoo" (reply "Marahaba") for a young person to an elderly person, "Hodi" (reply "Karibu") when in the doorway of a house. There are additionally numerous informal greetings such as "Mambo", "Safi", and many more. Farewells are abrupt or even non-existent.

Swedish (Germanic)

Tagalog / Filipino (Malayo-Polynesian)


Tamil (Dravidian)

Telugu (Dravidian)

Tok Pisin (Neo-Melanesian English creole)

Ukrainian (Slavic)

Vietnamese (Mon-Khmer)

Welsh (Celtic)

Xhosa language (Nguni languages, Bantu)

Yiddish (Germanic)

Usage notes

1No word directly corresponds to the word "please". Danish and Finnish express the concept of politeness in a request in various ways.

2This actually means "it is" and can only be used in an answer to a question with the verb "to be". Languages like Chinese, Irish, Toki Pona, and Welsh do not have words for "yes" or "no". Instead you repeat the main verb of the question in your answer.

3This actually means "it is not". See note 2 above.


In many countries, the abbreviation W.C., for the British "Water Closet", may be used instead of the local word for "toilet(s)", "bathroom" or "restroom". In U.S. English "toilet" refers primarily to the fixture (the toilet itself) rather than the room which contains it. In German, "W.C." is pronounced with the German names of the letters, and the informal "Klo" for "Klosett" can refer to either the fixture or the room.

Related articles

External link