This Is Every Slang Phrase You Need To Know In Countries That Speak English But You Have No Idea What They’re Saying


Person: “You alright?”
Me: (silence)

So that’s what happened to me when I got into London. It took me a few days to figure out that that’s just how everyone greets each other!

Where I come from, you only get asked “are you ok/alright?” when someone wants to sit you down and have a conversation (aka give you advice)… ‘coz you and your life clearly look like a mess.

The first time I was shaking hands with someone saying “hey nice to meet you”..and getting a “hey, you alright?” in return.. I was like…”huh?”

So it got me thinking and made me realise that as English speakers we take traveling to English speaking countries for granted! Like “of course I’m not going to have any language/communication problems..they all speak English there!”

But there were quite a few situations where I found myself looking as confused as above… it could have been a greeting… could have been a brit joke… could have been cockney slang.. I just wouldn’t get it.

So I figured a good way to start my travel posts from the London trip would be to do a quick round-up of the various types of greetings or ways to say hello in English speaking countries, so you don’t get thrown off track the next time someone asks you “you alright?!”

Note – There is so much slang that is unique to every country, and I would advise brushing up on it before you travel, but I’m only going to cover the greetings and their responses here to keep this post short. So here we go:


“You alright?” – Response: Hey, yeah fine, you?

“You ok?” – Response – same as above

“Hiya” – Response: Hey


“G’day!” – Response: G’day / Hey

“How you goin?” – I’d probably think…”um, I’ll walk?” in my head but the correct response would just be “yeah good, you?”

“Good on ya” – not someone being rude or sarcastic, but instead they’re saying “well done/good job”

Mate – most commonly used in place of dude, bro etc

No dramas – no worries

– Thank you! Very normal to say ta, can throw you off if you have no idea what it means

New Zealand

Kia ora – Maori for hello, used commonly

Bro – most commonly used word in place of dude, mate etc

Sweet-as – all good
Choice bro! – could mean anything from Ok to cool, I agree or I get it, or even I understand

Yeah, nah bro
– no real meaning, almost used as a punctuation in a response or sentence

Not even – no way


Hey how’s it going / What’s up / what’s going on / How you doin / What’s happening / Sup / Yo


Everything American with an “eh” at the end of the sentence (ok Canadian friends don’t kill me, but you know it’s true :P)

South Africa

They have so many languages, hello can be said in many many different ways but I’ll list the most common ones

– Hello (dunno why but I love this one :))

Heita – hello in urban slang

Brah/Broe – best friend

– a universal greeting in SA

Hoe gaan dit?
– How are you

Shame – could mean anything from yay to I’m sorry, use whenever in doubt

– really?

Lekker – good Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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