Learn To Say No In Different Languages

no in different languages

Learn to say NO. That’s what people always say. Time and again, it is said that saying no is good for you, you get to express yourself and be more honest. When you really mean no, don’t say yes. Don’t let other people take advantage of you and say no when needed.

This post is a guide to saying no in different languages. If you want to travel around the world, knowing how to say no in different languages will help you in your travels.

So let’s get started.

  • Afrikaans
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Armenian
  • Hebrew
  • Arabic


Say no by saying ‘nee’ in Afrikaans.

Compared to other languages, the no in Afrikaans has a different sound compared to how it is spelled. To say no, simply say nee-yu.

In South Africa, you will most often come across the Afrikaans language. It is considered to originate from the Dutch language. But how did that happen? In the 17th century, some European settlers brought the language to the colony found in Cape of Good Hope. From being the Dutch language, it slowly evolved and combined with other local languages such as Khoisan, Bantu and English.

Around the world, you can find 10 million people who can speak the language as their mother tongue. The most number of native speakers can be found in South Africa. Some are also found in Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana.


Say no by saying ‘não’ in Portuguese.

To pronounce this word, practice saying nõw. It is a bit similar to how you would say the word in English, only that the ‘ow’ part is a bit nasalised.

The Portuguese language is considered a Romance language with tits Latin words. It is currently spoken by more than 220 million people around the world mostly in Brazil, Portugal, Angola Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Principe and São Tomé. With its number of speakers, it is ranked as the sixth most spoken language around the glove.


Say no by saying ‘niet’ in Russian.

Niet is pronounced as nyet and is one of the most common words used in Russia.

Around the world, Russian is considered to be the eighth most spoken language. It currently has 145 million native speaker – not including the second language speakers. It is mostly found to be spoken in countries such as Belarus, Abkhazia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Transnistria.


Say no by saying ‘nein’ in German.

To decline an offer and say no, just say nein and emphasise the ‘ei’ sound.

The German language is the tenth most spoken language around the world. It has around 101 million native speakers. When it comes to the second language speakers, there are around 128 million. It is currently considered as an official language in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Poland and Liechtenstein.

There are also other ways to say no in German. You can say:

  • No way –  auf keinen Fall
  • Not – nicht
  • No, not, none, no one, nobody, not any – kein
  • Never – niemals


Say no by saying ‘nahi’ in Hindi.

In Hindi, the word no is softly pronounced as nahin. The n is nasal while the na is emphasised.

The Hindi language is considered to be the second of the most spoken languages around the world with its 370 million native speakers and 120 million who speak it as their second language. Now, it is listed as an official language in India and Fiji.

In order to say no a bit more politely, simply add ‘ji’ either to the end or beginning of ‘nahi’.


Say no by saying ‘voch’ in Armenian.

The word no in Armenian is written as ոչ and pronounced as ‘votch’. However, there’s another way to say no, and that’s ‘che’. Around the world, you will find that there are around 6.7 million Armenian speakers and around half of these live in Armenia. Others are found in Iraq, France, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Lebanon, and the United States


Say no by saying ‘lo’ in Hebrew.

The Hebrew word lo is pronounced as ‘loh’, The emphasis is on the ‘L’ sound when you pronounce it, and the ‘oh’ has a low tone.

During the ancient times, you can find Hebrew spoken by the people in Palestine. By the 3rd century, the Western Aramaic dialect is starting to replace it. In the 9th century, the use of the language decreased and was only used in literature and liturgical practices.

The language was only revived in the 19th and 20th century when the Hebrew language became Israel’s official language in 1948. Now, there are around 5 million Hebrew native speakers.


Say no by saying ‘lai’ in Arabic.

To pronounce the Arabic word la, you have to do a glottal stop by the word’s end. Another way to say no a bit politely is to say ‘no thank you’ in Arabic’s Lebanese dialect by saying ‘la` cukran’.

The Arabic language is the one used in the Qurʾān. Aside from that, it is considered to be the most developed of the Semitic languages.

You can find a lot of countries where Arabic is spoken as an official language. This includes Algeria, Western Sahara, Chad, Yemen, Comoros, Djibouti, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Eritrea, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Israel, Somalia, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Libya, Oman, Morrocco and Niger.

With over 206 million native speakers and around 24 million second language speakers, the Arabic language is considered to be the fifth most spoken language around the world.

These are just some of the hundred ways to say no in different languages. If you want to travel around the world, learn to say no with the words provided above. Don’t forget to be polite and use the right pronunciation so the locals can understand you easily.

What other languages do you want to be included in the list above? Let us know in the comments below.

If you need translations to and from English, EthnoLink Language Services is here for you! Contact us for a free quote.

2019-02-28T18:09:45+00:00December 19th, 2018|