Hi, everyone! Today, we have an interesting post that I couldn’t have made without my friends Eliana, Fe, Abigail, Trudy, Aiden, Cara, and Rebekah! Believe it or not, these people all live in different countries and different parts of the world— in different cultures. And they all come from the writing site I talked about before, called YWW (Ydubs). I couldn’t miss the opportunity to delve into their cultures, compare them, and have a few fun blog posts for all of you to see and enjoy!
For five posts from now, each of these people will be answering different questions. But boy, will their answers be different and interesting! Please sit back and enjoy the first question that my friends and I will be answering (and stay tuned for the others)!
Question 1: How do you greet each other (hand gestures, greetings translated into English, etc.)?
Aiden Bisagni (Uganda) — In Uganda, the customary greeting is jebale ko literally translated to mean “good work.” This can be said to anyone, no matter if they are working or not. Uganda also has a distinct handshake. You begin by grabbing the other person’s hand in a normal western handshake, then you rotate your hand ninety degrees so that you are grasping their hand around their thumb, almost as if you were going to arm wrestle them. After that, you return back to the western handshake; this can be repeated as many times as you want.
Me (Japan)— We usually say “Konnichiwa” which is basically the polite version of “Hi”. This usually doesn’t work with friends or family. Usually, younger people say this to adults, or adults say it to each other. We accompany this with a slight bow sometimes, but most of the time we just say it without any gestures. We also don’t wave when we say “Konnichiwa” because when we say “Konnichiwa”, it’s showing a sign of respect (while waving is friendly).
There isn’t really a casual “Hi” in Japanese unless you go really casual (if that makes sense). For example, “Oss!” or “Yaho!” which is like saying “Whasup” or “Hey.”
Eliana Duran (America) —“Hi!” “Hello!” “Hey,” “Good morning/afternoon/evening,” are just a few of many. We often will follow this with a question like “How are you?” “How’s it going?” or “What’s up?” even if the person is only an acquaintance.
Depending on the individuals’ preferences and relationship the two people have, this may be accompanied by a handshake (more formal), a hug or side-hug (for friends or family–though this tends to be more for goodbyes), a high five or fist bump if you want to look cool, or simply wave.
Fe Batoon (Philipines) — “Hi! How’s life going?” If you don’t know the person well, you just shake their hand. If it’s your friend, you give them a hug.
If you’re a child greeting the adults in your family, you would do something called “mano po.” Basically, you would ask for their hand and bring the outside of it to your forehead gently. This is a sign of respect and submission to the adult. It’s also asking the adult for his or her blessing.
If the person is older than you, you would call them kuya or ate (brother or sister respectively) regardless of whether they’re actually family or not. If it is a child or teen talking to an adult in a professional setting, they would call the adult ma’am or sir. If it’s in a casual setting, they would greet them as tita or tito (aunt or uncle respectively) again regardless of whether they’re family or not.
Abigail Blessing (Malaysia)—In Malaysia, for women, we greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. For children, we take someone’s hand and lift it to our forehead in a gesture of salam; it represents peace and respect.
Trudy Francis (Australia) —Saying “g’day” is what’s recognized worldwide as being a typical Aussie greeting. You don’t actually hear it too much: mostly among politicians and Aussie celebrities. It is used occasionally in everyday conversations, but mostly we’ll use the same greetings as other English-speaking countries: shaking hands, saying “hi”, hugs, a high five followed by a fist bump, etc.
Cara Devereux (Europe) —It honestly depends on your age and your relationship. A fair number of people I know will greet friends and family with a simple “all right” or “all right then” (often accompanied with a nod), but you’d also say the normal hello or hi. You might say “morning”, “afternoon”, or “evening” depending on the time of day, and that’s often responded to either with one of the other greetings or a comment on the weather (“afternoon” — “and a nice one at that”). Older generations will shake hands, hug, or kiss you on the cheek; younger generations would probably hug or fist bump. If it’s someone you don’t know, you’d say “hello” and shake their hand.
Rebekah O’Donovan (Ireland) —Of course, it totally depends on the nature of the persons’ relationship, but the usual greetings between strangers are, “Good morning/afternoon/evening.”, “Hiya!”, or “Hello!”, followed by a handshake and “How are you doing?” or “Doing well?”
Again, a big thanks to all of the participators! If you liked this post, I have good news for you: part two is coming next week! And there will be five parts! If you have a question you would like answered, comment below!