How do we say hello in Turkey

How do you say "hello" in Turkish? - Learn the most important greetings and how to respond to them

First things first: How do you say “hello” in Turkish?
The Turkish "hello" is merhaba. It's probably the most famous greeting in Turkish, so it's always a good choice because you can't go wrong with it. It fits at any time of the day and in any context, whether formal or informal, with friends or the boss. Yet there is next to merhaba quite a few other greetings that one should know. And of course the appropriate answers. We have summarized the most important ones for you below.

Turkish greeting: morning, noon, evening

As soon as morning breaks, you greet each other with günaydın ("Good morning"), which literally means "the day is bright". So by noon everyone is informed that it is already light, and from noon onwards to the less common one tünaydın to pass over. It almost gives the impression that someone has come up with this greeting because there is no special one for the afternoon. Because do is the obsolete word for night that is no longer used. But what exactly does “the night is light” mean?

Alternatively, there is the more common one iyi günler (“Hello”), which can be used all day after noon. And from around 5/6 p.m. (or at the latest when it starts to get dark), you want to join in iyi akşamlar good evening then.

Both expressions, both iyi günler as well as iyi akşamlar, by the way, are not only used to greet, but also to say goodbye. A good trick to bypass the adoption conventions if you are not yet familiar with them while learning Turkish.

selam: Greetings among friends

Is among peers and good friends selam ("Greeting") the most common way of greeting each other, usually followed by the question Ne haber? or short But?. It corresponds to the German "How is it going?" And literally means "What message?". The answer follows briefly İyilik, send? ("Good and you?").

Alternative answers would be in a more monotonous state of mind

  • Ne olsun? ("What should be?")
  • İyi diyelim iyi olalım ("Let's say well so that we are well") or
  • the more pictorial Aynı tas aynı hamam ("Same bowl, same hamam").

As an explanation for the latter, it should be mentioned that in a Turkish hammam you usually mix hot and cold water in a marble basin and then scoop it up with a bowl to pour it over yourself. The German equivalent to Aynı tas aynı hamam would be the less pictorial “everything as it was” or “everything as always”.

In the Muslim world

The greeting is also often heard among believers Selâmün aleyküm, an adaptation of the Arabic As-salāmu alaykum ("Peace be upon you"), which is spread throughout the Muslim world. The answer to that is (ve) aleykümü’s-selam, derived from the Arabic wa-alaikum us-salam (“And on you peace”).

Believer or not, if you are greeted like this in Turkish, it is appropriate to respond with the appropriate answer. Like many other words and expressions, for example insallah (“Hopefully”) such greetings have become firmly established in everyday Turkish language, and the religious connotation is rarely thought of.

Turkish greeting: for visitors and guests

Visitors, whether at home or at work, are welcomed with pleasure and often in Turkey. For this reason, it is important to know the appropriate greeting for guests:

  • If it is a person you use on your terms, you use it hoş geldin.
  • If there are several people or one who is to be welcomed, one says hoş moneyiniz.

Both correspond to the German "Herzlich Willkommen". The answer to it is just as important as the greeting itself. It is always hoş bulduk. There is no real equivalent for it in German. Literally it means something like "We found it beautiful".

People at work

Another specialty in Turkish is the wish Kolay gelsin! (“It should be easy!”) When you meet a person (whether known or unknown) who is busy with something. This can be a cleaner in the office or a sales person at the counter. You can also combine it with other Turkish greetings, for example Günyadın. Kolay gelsin! But in any case, you should wish the person that their job will be easy for them. This wish is also quite common as a farewell greeting.

Then everyone who wants to continue learning Turkish: Kolay gelsin!