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Greetings And Salutations In Basque

Greetings And Salutations In Basque

Being able to greet people and say goodbye properly should be one of the first things you aim to master in Basque or any other language you study. If you’re traveling to a Basque-speaking region, it’s a sign of politeness and respect to learn a few words, and Basque natives will certainly appreciate your efforts.

In Basque, as you might expect, there are different greetings for different times of the day. Learning them all and when to use them will take you one step closer to sounding like a native.

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In this article, we’ll introduce you to all the most commonly-used greetings and farewells in Basque, plus teach you how to inquire politely about someone’s wellbeing. We’ve split the phrases up into sections to make navigating them a little easier.

Basque Greetings

English Basque
Hello/hi Kaixo!
Good morning/day Egun on
Good afternoon Arratsalde on
Eguerdi on

How to say “hello/hi” in Basque (Euskara)

The most common way to say “hello” in Basque is “kaixo”. This can be used at any time of day and is a great all-purpose greeting.

You’ll also hear a number of less formal greetings if you spend enough time in the Basque Country. “Aupa”, “hela”, and “hepa” are some informal ways of saying “hi” that can be heard from time to time.

In some instances, the word “agur” is also used, though rarely. This word is more likely to be used as a farewell.

How to say “good morning/day” in Basque (Euskara)

In Basque, wishing someone a good morning is the same as wishing them a good day, which is “egun on”. The word for “day” is “egun”, and the word for “good” is “on”.

How to say “good afternoon” in Basque

The standard way of saying “good afternoon” in Basque is “arratsalde on”. But Basque has another way of conveying the same greeting…

What does “eguerdi on” mean in Basque?

“Eguerdi on” is another way of saying “good afternoon”, but it’s unique to the Basque language. The literal meaning is “good midday”.

Greetings and Farewells in Basque

Basque Farewells

English Basque
Good evening Gabon
Goodnight / Sleep well Gabon
Gau on
Ondo lo egin
Goodbye Agur!
See you later Gero arte
See you soon Laster arte

How to say “good evening/night” in Basque

Saying “good evening” in Basque is “gabon”. This is used to mean “good night” as well, when said as a parting phrase.

You’ll also hear “gau on”, which is the unabbreviated version of “gabon”.

How to say “goodnight” (bedtime) in Basque

Basque makes a distinction between “goodnight” as a farewell and as a phrase said before either you or someone else goes to bed. The phrase “ondo lo egin” is closer to English “sleep tight/well”.

How to say “goodbye” in Basque

The most common way to say “goodbye” in Basque is “agur”. This can be used in any situation where you’d say “goodbye” in English, at any time of the day.

You will also hear “adio”, which is a direct borrowing from Spanish “adiós”.

“Gero arte” is another way of saying goodbye, which is more likely to be used informally. This phrase translates to “see you later”. “Laster arte”, similarly, translates to “see you soon”, which also works perfectly as a farewell.

How are you?

English Basque
How are you? Zer moduz?
Zer moduz zaude?
Nola zaude?
Zelan zaude/zauz?
Hello, how are you? Kaixo! Zer moduz zaude?
I’m fine, thanks. And you? Ondo, eskerrik asko. Eta zu?

In most cases, saying a simple “hello” simply isn’t enough. You’ll want to know how the person is doing – it’s the polite thing to ask. And chances are, once you’ve inquired, they’ll ask you the same question in return.

How to say “how are you?” in Basque

There are several ways to ask someone how they are in Basque. The first and most common is “Zer moduz zaude?”, shortened to “Zer moduz?”

You’ll also hear “Nola zaude?” and even “Zelan zaude?”, and these can all be used interchangeably, though some will be more common than others in certain parts of the Basque Country.

Saying “hello, how are you?” in Basque

To put it all together, you’d say “Kaixo, zer moduz zaude?” to say “hello, how are you?”

If you want to answer the question yourself and let the person know you’re fine, you’d say “Ondo, eskerrik asko”, which translates to, “I’m fine, thanks.”

To fire the question back at them, simply add “eta zu?” to say “and you?”

Wrapping things up

Learning the different ways to say “hello”, “goodbye”, and “how are you?” in Basque is a great way to start your journey in learning the language.

Not only will you impress the locals, but you’ll also have a better understanding of how the language works and be able to pick up new words and phrases more easily.

So what are you waiting for? Start learning Basque today!

If you’re interested in learning some more Basque vocabulary, check out our post Numbers and Counting in Basque.