How Many Ways Can You Say Hello?
‘I am a citizen of the world.
I seek to understand many perspectives.
In educating my child, I am investing in the future of the world.’
This activity is an invitation to explore basic linguistic
and geographical concepts by teaching children to say
hello in multiple different languages.
World Map or Globe (or Google Earth https://earth.google.com/web/)
3-10 stuffed animals
Start by having a conversation with your child about what a greeting is. Talk about how you greet each other in the morning (by saying ‘good morning’) , how they greet their friends (by saying “hello” or “hi”), and how you/they answer the telephone when you receive a call. Talk about how when you greet people you communicate that you are interested in a friendship with them. You can also talk about non-verbal ways (a hug, handshake, ect) people use when greeting each other.
Tell your child that people all around the world greet each other but in many different languages. In fact, there are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world today.
Using the list of the world’s most common languages below, point out countries on your map while teaching your child to say hello in its language:
English – Hello – Australia, United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, and others
Spanish – Hola – Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and others
Mandarin- Ni Hao- China, Taiwan, Singapore
Arabic- Marhaba- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Tanzania, Bahrain, Jordan, Chad, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Yemen, Oman, and others
French- Bonjour- France, Belgium (co-official) , Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Gabon, Senegal, Luxemburg (co-official), Canada (Quebec) and others
German- Guten Tag- Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium (co-official), Luxemburg (co-official)
Portuguese- Olá- Portugal, Brasil, Mozambique
Russian- Privet- Russia, Belarus
Hindi- Namaste- India, Nepal
Japanese- Kinnichiwa- Japan
Italian- Ciao- Italy
After exploring the map, play a game with your child in which you pretend the stuffed animals are from the different countries you explored. Prompt your child to greet their stuffed animals in the appropriate language.
Go to the library and explore books that celebrates cultures from around the world such as Children Just Like Me by Barnabas Kindersley (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4JEw3yfVGw&t=64s) and The World Turns Round and Round by Nikki Weis.
Talk about the people in your life that speak other languages. Learn how to say hello in the languages they speak and practice greeting them in those languages.
Questions to Ask
Can you count how many languages we learned to say hello in?
If you could visit any country where would you go?
Is there a language you want to learn more words in? Which language? Which words?
What do you think it would be like to go to a country where you didn’t speak the language?
Discuss how a smile is a universal way to say hello no matter what language a person speaks.
Prompt your child to close their eyes and bring the corners of their mouth up in a smile. Encourage them to engage in a smile meditation for a minute or so.
Go on a walk around your neighborhood and smile/greet everyone you see.