It’s a fact that learning to say a little (or a lot!) in the local language when you travel goes a long way. It can be as simple as saying “hello,” but when you’re traveling with kids, “thank you” is one of the most useful phrases ever – not only can your kids learn a little of the local language, but they learn some manners to go with it! It’s an easy phrase to practice. Bust out a thank you when you shop for souvenirs, or grab a bite to eat, or when you buy tickets to a museum. Here are 25ways to say “thank you” around the world!
Also, be aware there are often cultural issues wrapped up in language such as when you say thank you and which form you use. If you really want to dig in, there is usually a language rabbit hole to jump down if you so wish…but these simple forms of thank you below are a great starting point!
Want to keep the language learning after this? Don’t miss our piece on how to say hello in 25 languages!
How to Say Thank You in 25 Languages
Arabic: Shukran (shoe-kran)
Arabic is a language spoken in many countries around the word, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Somalia, which use Arabic as their official language. Even more countries have Arabic as one of several languages spoken within their borders, and these include everywhere from Turkey to the Philippines.
Croatian: Hvala (HVAH-lah)
Croatian is spoken by people in Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, as well as some other countries nearby. It’s one of the official languages of the European Union.
Danish: Tak (tahg) or Mange tak (mahng-eh tahg)
Danish is mostly spoken in Denmark (where the people are called Danes). Like many languages, there is more than one way to say thank you in Danish, but you can never go wrong with a simple “Tak!” which is very similar to other Scandinavian languages.
Dutch: Dank u (dahnk oo) or Bedankt (beh-dankt)
Sometimes you can tell where a language is spoken from its name (French/France, Spanish/ Spain, etc), but Dutch doesn’t really give you too many clues in its name. It’s spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium, which are known for windmills, amazing cheese (especially gouda from the Netherlands!), and absolutely beautiful landscapes and towns.
English: Thank you very much, Thank you, or Thanks
While English is widely spoken all around the world, you might find it surprising that it’s only the third most-spoken language, right behind Mandarin and Spanish.
Finnish: Kiitos (key-toss)
Finnish is a unique language for many reasons (seriously, if you want a language rabbit hole to delve into, start studying up on Finnish), but some cool facts about it include that the language has no word for please (just use kiitos instead, if you really need to), is most studied by heavy metal fans as Finland has a whole lot of heavy metal bands who sing in Finnish, and there are no words for “he” or “she” – instead there is just a general pronoun for everyone: hän.
French: Merci (mehr-si) or Merci Beaucoup (mehr-si boh-coo)
French is spoken in France, of course, but also in countries all around the world, including Quebec in Canada and many countries in Africa. It’s known to English speakers for having a lot of silent letters, for instance you don’t say the P at the end of “beaucoup!”
German: Danke (dahn-kah)
German is spoken in Germany, but also Austria, Switzerland, and even a part of Italy called South Tyrol.
Greek: Efharisto (ef-hah-rees-TOH)
Greek has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language (that’s a fancy name for the languages spoken in Europe and South and Southwest Asia). It’s generally written in its own alphabet, which looks a lot like English letters, but is different enough that if you can read English, you can’t also sound out Greek words.
Hawaiian: Mahalo (ma-HAH-lo)
Even though many people know the words aloha and mahalo, Hawaiian is not widely spoken at all. Only 0.1% of people who live in Hawaii speak it as a native language today!
Hebrew: Toda (toh-dah)
The Hebrew language dates back to ancient times, but mostly stopped being spoken around the years 200-400 AD! The language survived being spoken by a few groups, and then came back from being essentially a dead language in the 19th century (which is very rare – most dead languages never return to being spoken).
Takk is probably the easiest word in all of the Icelandic language so enjoy it!
Indonesian: Terima kasih (Tur-EE-mah KAH-see)
Indonesia is an archipelago made up of more than 17,000 islands (big ones like Java and Sumatra as well as teeny ones you’ve never heard of) with a population of 267 million, making it the fourth largest country by population in the world.
Italian: Grazie (GRAHTS-yeh)
Italian is largely spoken in Italy. Just about all Italian words end in vowels, which makes rhyming words especially easy (if you know the language…tougher if you don’t).
Japanese: Domo arigato (doh-mo ah-ree-GAH-toh) or just Domo in less formal situations
Japanese is not generally written with the English alphabet, and in fact there are three common writing systems used in Japan. Four if you count the English alphabet, which is also pretty common.
Korean: Kamsahamnida (KAM-sah-ham-NEE-da)
Korean is spoken in both North and South Korea, and likely has its roots in Manchuria.
Mandarin: Xie xie (she-eh she-eh)
Mandarin is one of five major regional languages spoken widely in China. It’s the most commonly spoken as well as the language of the government and education all over China and Taiwan. It’s the most widely spoken language in the world!
Norwegian: Takk (tahk) Tusen takk (too-sen tahk)
Like most other Scandinavian languages, you can say thank you with a simple “Takk!” but it’s so much more satisfying to say “Tusen takk!”
Portugese: Obrigado (oh-bree-GAH-dooh)
While the country of Portugal is not very large, the Portuguese language is spoken in countries as far-flung as Brazil, Mozambique, and Angola due to Portugal’s past of exploring and conquering.
Russian: Spasiba (spuh-SEE-buh)
Russian is the fifth most-spoken language in the world, and it’s got one of the most complex grammatical systems too. Also, fun fact, if you want to be an astronaut with NASA, you’ll need to learn Russian to apply!
Spanish: Gracias (GRAH-syahs)
Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world with 414 million speakers and 31 countries calling Spanish their official language.
Swahili: Asante (ah-SAHN-tay)
Swahili has somewhere between 50-100 million speakers worldwide, but it’s most common phrase comes from Disney’s “The Lion King” – Hakuna Matata!
Swedish: Tack (tahk) or Tack så mycket! (tahk so mee-kah) or Tusen tack (too-sen tahk).
Tusen tack means “a thousand thanks” so it’s kind of a fun way to say thank you literally a lot!
Tagalog: Salamat (sa-LAH-mat)
Tagalog is the official language of the Philippines, but the country is actually home to about 170 spoken languages!
Thai: Kop khun krup (cap coohn cub) or just Krup (cub)
Thai uses its own writing system and has 44 consonants and 15 vowel characters! The language is also tonal, similar to Chinese, where each word must be spoken with a certain pitch in order for its meaning to be clear.