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Welcome in 250 languages August 5, 2019

Posted by Pete B in multilingualism.

Would you like a free customisable welcome slide/poster for your church or event? The graphic below shows a small selection of words and phrases used to welcome people.

The list was compiled by Simon Ager at omniglot.com/language/phrases/welcome.htm and according to his copyright page “If you would like to use the material for personal, educational or non-commercial purposes you’re welcome to do so. Don’t forget to mention where it came from.”

I took a selection and put them into a powerpoint slide (now shared but without the Bitmoji cartoon version of me) , making it easy for others to adapt, changing colours and styles or adding and subtracting languages according to the languages used in your community or church.

Be aware that some computers and software might not display the fonts correctly and it is usually best to save the slide as a graphic before displaying it in your church and to ask people to tell you both if anything is wrong and to ask if any of their languages are missing and could be added!

Direct ‘word for word’ translations can sometimes be a challenge because language doesn’t work quite like that and what you type into Google translate (amazing as it is) won’t always give you what you want.

Some languages will use a different greeting depending on how many people are being greeted, what gender(s) they are, what age or status they are, and who you are. Even in English there are a range of greetings used according to the context. (Never say ‘hi’ to the queen!)

Omniglot uses a helpful notation to indicate some of the uses
sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person), inf = informal, frm = formal, m = male (said by males), f = female (said by females), >m = said to males, >f said to females.

The context I am looking for in my multilingual welcome sign is that of welcoming people into a British church so I’m guessing plural formal is often the best option. If you speak any of the languages above let me know if we’ve got the right phrase.


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