"No" is one of the easier words to learn when attempting a new language. In many countries the word is the same or very similar. There are over 500 ways of saying and some countries have a number of different ways of expressing the word "No", depending on how it is to be used (in different contexts).
There are many variations on the word "No" just in English. Using slang terms or regional dialects, negation can be expressed as:
- No way,
- Na or
Many countries of Eastern Europe use the same word "Ne". This word is used in each of the former Yugoslavian countries as well as one or two former Soviet states. The same word is used in Bulgarian, Esperanto and the Czech Republic. The Slovak Republic (until recently a part of Czechoslovakia) does not use this word, it uses "Nie" to say no.
In Germany they use "Nein", pronounced like the number nine. This country also has many regional variations and some areas will use:
- Nei or
- Na. Afrikaans spoken in South Africa is close to German and they use "nee" or "geen". "Nee" or "Neen" is also used by the Dutch, another language with many words similar to those used in German.
Other major European languages
The French for "No" is "Non" - this is used across the world in many former French colonies as well as in France. Spanish and Italian both use "No" and in Portuguese the word used is "Nao". In Turkey they use "Hayir", the Greek language uses "Ochi" and Russia says "Nyet" when wanting to say "No".
Arabic uses a number of ways to say "No" depending on its meaning. In the countries that use this language you may hear:
- La or
- Lela. In Israel, the Hebrew word used is "lo", although European Yiddish speakers use "nit" or "neyn".
Koreans will say "aniyo" when they want to say "No".
In China you may hear "bu" or "mei you", pronounced like "mayo".
As well as knowing how to say "No" in another language, it is polite to learn some "Thank you" phrases or how to say "Thank you" in different languages.