It is amazing how easily the word “Hello” is disregarded, yet it is one of the most frequently used and meaningful word in our lives. The moment we pick up the phone, to the moment we meet someone for the first time and even when starting a conversation…it is the first words we use. It doesn’t matter how we say it or in what form or language we say it with, it generally helps us build courage and confidence in new environments.
You might know two or three ways to say “Hello” to someone, but in Nigeria there are actually dozens of different expressions. With a lot of local dialects and slangs, Jumia Travel, Africa’s largest hotel booking portal presents 10 ways to say Hello, Nigerian style:
This is the Ibo translation of “Hello”. It literally translates as “how are you”, and is by far the most commonly used greeting by the Ibo ethnicities. It is an informal greeting that can be used any time of day in any kind of situation.
2. Bawo ni!
If you have visited any Yourba speaking area, you may have heard this phrase used repeatedly. It is the standard greeting which is used in the morning until about noon. It can be used in both formal and informal situations.
This is used in Benin and neighboring communities. It is a way of saying “hello” or “how are you”. It’s an informal greeting that can be used any time of day in any kind of situation. When you are not sure how to greet somebody, it is always appropriate to say “Kóyo ”.
Mesiere is the Efik/Ibibio way of greeting. Many argue that the phrases “ Idem mfo? “ or “ Abadie” are better interpretations, but Mesiere is a more common greeting. It is an everyday, complimentary greeting used between all people.
This is the formal way to greet somebody and say: “hello” in the Northern region dominated by locals from the Hausa tribe. It is a very common and respectful form of greeting wherever Hausa is spoken
A traditional Nigerian greeting used by the Idoma in Benue State area, Abole translates roughly as “How are you?” or simply “Hello”.
Literally translated as “how are you?”, Mavo is the way the Urhobo’s say “hello”. It can be used in formal situations, or in cases where you are more relaxed with acquaintances.
8. How far?
Usually pronounced “har fa”. “How far?” is the most common way to say “hello” in Nigerian pidgin. It is obviously used in informal setting and more amongst family, friend and acquaintances. Even though it looks like a question, it doesn’t need to be answered, especially if the person carries on with the conversation anyways.
Although “hey” is commonly considered rude when used in reference with people who you do not know well. It is also applied among friends, especially teenagers and millennials. It sounds casual and cool, but can sometimes be confusing.
10. I hail
This is commonly used in Warri pidgin. It is a very popular way of saying “hello” in the region. Other forms of hello in Warri pidgin include: “I greet your ministry”, “what’s the level?”, “how your side?”
By Ndem Nkem, Travel/Tech Writer