The holiday season is in full swing now that we're over the traditional 16 December 'down tools' date, and the influx of international tourists has begun.
South Africans are nothing if not familiar with the challenges of communicating with people who don’t speak the same language, so we’re pretty good at working around language gaps, mostly through exaggerated hand gestures, contorting our faces and speaking very loudly.
That said, it’s always nice to be understood, so how about learning to greet visitors in a language that will make them feel at home this season? Mobile point-of-sale and card acceptance provider Yoco has the following tips to help locals converse more easily with foreign visitors.
‘Hello, how are you?’ in Dutch is very similar to the Afrikaans. If you encounter any Dutch folk greet them with: “Hallo hoe gaat het?”
In French you’d say: “Salut, comment allez-vous?”
The German is: “Hallo wie geht's dir?” and if you’re feeling brave, the Mandarin is: “Nǐ hǎo! Nǐ hǎo ma?”
If you want to make sure it sounds right, Google Translate will read the words out for you with the correct pronunciation.
Offer some help
“How can I help you?”
Dutch: “Hoe kan ik u helpen?”
French: “Comment puis-je vous aider?”
German: “Wie kann ich dir helfen?
Mandarin: “Wǒ zěnyàng néng bāng dào nǐ?”
Show your gratitude
Dutch: “Dank u.”
French: “Je vous remercie.”
South Africa gets more visitors every year from China, France, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands than any other countries, so this list should cover most of your bases. Unfortunately we have no suggestions for Cockney rhyming slang. Happy holidays!