New recipes

10 Ways to Say ''Cheers!'' Around the World

10 Ways to Say ''Cheers!'' Around the World

The truth is that if you’re buying a round, you can get away with saying “cheers!” in English just about anywhere you might go. That said, there’s nothing like being a good guest in a country you’re visiting, and while you probably won’t be able to learn the language everywhere you might want to visit, you can always learn some useful phrases to show that you’re making an effort. Along with “thank you,” “this is delicious,” and “where’s the bathroom,” a great phrase to have on hand in the language of the country you’re visiting is a simple “cheers!”

10 Ways to Say “Cheers!” Around the World (Slideshow)

There are plenty of origin stories for the idea of saying “cheers” and clinking glasses. One (probably apocryphal, but very fun) story originates in the not-so-pleasant idea that your drinking partner may be trying to poison you. If you clink your metal tankard of beer hard enough against your drinking buddy/potential enemy’s, however, you’ll undoubtedly spill some of your drink into each other’s cups – so if your partner were trying to poison you, he’ll end up poisoning himself, too. Today, we usually sip from glass, which doesn’t respond quite so well to a hard crack, and we’re a little less concerned with the idea of being poisoned and considerably more worried about sharing germs with our friends, so we tend to just tap glasses for the sound of a light “clink,” rather than actively trying to slosh your wine into your friend’s.

Many of the simple “cheers!” in other languages are versions of “to your health,” and others are just quick phrases that simply mean “let’s drink!” None, however, are as weird or funny as the traditional English cheers, “Here’s mud in your eye!” About as strange as the actor’s “break a leg,” this little cheers is associated with the trenches of World War I, but actually originated before then. Nobody knows who first coined the term, but the phrase has been used as a wish for good luck and health for its recipients since the 1800s. Read on to learn some phrases you might want to incorporate into your next trip.

Russian

As Masha Vapnitchnaia discussed in“Drinking Like a Russian During the Sochi Winter Olympics,” toasts with vodka are an integral part of Russian drinking culture. There isn’t a direct transliteration of “cheers,” but the simplest toast — and one that’s often used — is to drink to someone’s health: за ваше здоровье. Don’t read Cyrillic? That’s cool, neither do we. It’s pronounced: "Za vashe zdorovye."

Portuguese

If you’re drinking in Brazil, chances are high that you’re going to encounter cachaça, a sweet, clear rum that is popular throughout the country. Be forewarned though: although the drink is served in a shot glass, it is not considered polite to shoot it back the way you might here in the States. You can sip it, or mix it into a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. When you cheers, you can say either “Saúde” (pronounce it saw-OO-jay) or “tim-tim,” (pronounced ching ching, similar to Italian).

Click here for More of 10 Ways to Say “Cheers!” Around the World


How to say ‘cheers’ in 50 languages

CHEERS! Here’s to you! Bottom’s up! The clinking of glasses can help cement friendships and celebrate new ones — it’s an expression of goodwill and one that every traveler should know.

So raise your glass to the Matador editors, to the tourism bureaus, and to the hostels around the world that helped me put together our collection of how to say “Cheers!” in 50 languages.

Remember to use these responsibly — in some countries, drinking is illegal. There may also be some regional and formality variations in pronunciation, but these should get the job done!

Language Spelling Phonetic Pronunciation
Afrikaans Gesondheid Ge-sund-hate
Albanian Gëzuar Geh-zoo-ah
Arabic (Egypt) فى صحتك: (literally “good luck”) Fe sahetek
Armenian (Western) Կէնաձդ Genatzt
Azerbaijani Nuş olsun Nush ohlsun
Bosnian Živjeli Zhee-vi-lee
Bulgarian Наздраве Naz-dra-vey
Burmese Aung myin par say Au-ng my-in par say
Catalan Salut Sah-lut
Chamorro (Guam) Biba Bih-bah
Chinese (Mandarin) 干杯
gān bēi
Gan bay
Croatian Živjeli / Nazdravlje Zhee-ve-lee / Naz-dra-vlee
Czech Na zdravi Naz-drah vi
Danish Skål Skoal
Dutch Proost Prohst
Estonian Terviseks Ter-vih-sex

Language Spelling Phonetic Pronunciation
Filipino/Tagalog Mabuhay Mah-boo-hay
Finnish Kippis Kip-piss
French Santé / A la votre Sahn-tay / Ah la vo-tre
Galician Salud Saw-lood
German Prost / Zum wohl Prohst / Tsum vohl
Greek ΥΓΕΙΑ Yamas
Hawaiian Å’kålè ma’luna Okole maluna
Hebrew לחיים L’chaim
Hungarian Egészségedre (to your health)
or
Fenékig (until the bottom of the glass)
Egg-esh ay-ged-reh
or
Fehn-eh-keg
Icelandic Skál Sk-owl
Irish Gaelic Sláinte Slawn-cha
Italian Salute / Cin cin Saw-lutay / Chin chin
Japanese 乾杯
Kanpai (Dry the glass)
Kan-pie
Korean 건배 Gun bae
Latvian Priekā / Prosit Pree-eh-ka / Proh-sit
Lithuanian į sveikatą Ee sweh-kata
Macedonian На здравје Na zdravye
Mongolian Эрүүл мэндийн төлөө / Tulgatsgaaya ErUHl mehdiin toloo / Tul-gats-gAH-ya

Language Spelling Phonetic Pronunciation
Norwegian Skål Skawl
Polish Na zdrowie Naz-droh-vee-ay
Portuguese Saúde Saw-OO-de
Romanian Noroc / Sanatate No-rock / Sahn-atate
Russian Будем здоровы / На здоровье Budem zdorovi/ Na zdorovie
Serbian živeli Zhee-ve-lee
Slovak Na zdravie Naz-drah-vee-ay
Slovenian Na zdravje (literally “on health”) Naz-drah-vee
Spanish Salud Sah-lud
Swedish Skål Skawl
Thai Chok dee Chok dee
Turkish Şerefe Sher-i-feh
Ukranian будьмо Boodmo
Vietnamese Dô / Vô / Một hai ba, yo (one, two, three, yo) Jou / Dzo/ Moat hi bah, yo
Welsh Iechyd da Yeh-chid dah
Yiddish Sei gesund Say geh-sund

Know how to say “Cheers!” in a language that’s not on the list? Please leave a comment below!

Explore the world party scene with 101 PLACES TO GET F*CKED UP BEFORE YOU DIE. Part travel guide, part drunken social commentary, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die may have some of the most hilarious scenes and straight-up observations of youth culture of any book you’ve ever read.


Happy New Year’s Cheers!

“Cheers, y’all”. It’s something we say a lot in the South and especially here at Southern Distilling Company!

Here at the distillery, we’ve had the very BEST 2017 imaginable and we are so happy and thankful to have shared this with you all. While there are literally hundreds of ways to say “Cheers”, we wanted give a great big salute to not only those here in North Carolina and in the South (as well as Canada, Australia, England, Russia and New Zealand), but all over the globe! Whether the toast is to health or to life, we wish everyone a very *Happy New Year!*

Scottish and Irish: Sláinte! (pronounced “slawn-tcha”)
Hindi: Badhai Ho!
Spanish: ¡Salud!
Navajo: Ahóá!
French: À la vôtre! Or Santé!
Italian: Salute! Or Cin Cin!
German: Prost!
Dutch: Proost!
Chinese: Gan bei!
Japanese: Kampai!
Russian: Na zdorovje!
Hebrew: L’Chaim!
Swedish: Skål!
Thai: Chon! Or Chon Gâew!
Grecian: Geiá mas!
Brazilian: Viva!


How to Say 'Cheers' Around the World

When traveling to a different country, the first thing many people want to do is grab a drink.

That's why you'll want to know how to say "cheers" no matter where you are.

Oyster.com's new video translates the word in a number of different languages, including Spanish, Hebrew, French and Greek.

Watch the video above to ensure that when your glasses clink, you're saying "cheers."

A Florida high school is issuing refunds to families after editing yearbook photos of 80 female students so theyɽ appear more modest

'Life-altering:' As millions cope with smell loss from COVID-19, researchers find new explanations and possible treatments

A white Red Cross worker who was filmed gently cradling an exhausted African migrant says she's receiving abuse from far-right racists

Rep. Debbie Dingell hospitalized after emergency ulcer surgery

A 26-year-old Stanford grad student created a simple test to predict which pregnancies are likely to become premature deliveries

Ryanair flight forced to land in Belarus with top activist on board

Belarus has been accused of "hijacking" a civilian airliner by forcing a Ryanair passenger flight to land in the country using a fake bomb threat so that authorities could arrest a prominent critic of its authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko. The Ryanair flight was passing through Belarus' airspace while traveling from Athens to Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, when it was diverted to Minsk for an emergency landing because of the phony bomb threat. A Belarusian MiG-29 fighter jet was sent to intercept the plane and escorted it to the airport.

Rep. Karen Bass 'hopeful' about passing police reform as negotiations intensify

As the anniversary of George Floyd's death approaches, negotiations over police reform have intensified after lawmakers revealed Congress will miss the Tuesday deadline to pass federal legislation -- a target President Joe Biden and top legislators were hoping to meet. Biden, in his joint address to Congress in April, urged lawmakers to bring the police reform bill to his desk to sign into law by the anniversary of Floyd's death. Watch "After Floyd: The Year that Shook the World -- A Soul of a Nation Special" Tuesday, May 25, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

AdPlace A Bag On Your Car Mirror When Traveling

Brilliant Car Cleaning Hacks Local Dealers Wish You Didn’t Know

How to see the 'Super Flower Blood Moon,' 1st lunar eclipse of this decade

This week's full moon will be the second supermoon of the season, appearing brighter and larger than usual. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the "Flower Blood Moon" will be roughly 222,000 miles away from the Earth early Wednesday morning. May's full moon is known as the "Flower Moon," and because a total lunar eclipse -- also known as a "blood moon" as it gives the moon a reddish hue -- is also set to happen at the same time, it's being called the "Super Flower Blood Moon."

2 dead, 12 injured in New Jersey birthday party shooting

An outdoor birthday party at a southern New Jersey home ended in a barrage of gunfire Saturday night that left two people dead and 12 injured, police said. A massive search for the unidentified assailant continued Sunday morning in Cumberland County, where the mass shooting broke out at a large home in Bridgeton, New Jersey, near Fairfield, just before midnight, prompting party revelers to dive for cover or run for their lives. A 30-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were fatally shot, and a dozen other injured adults were taken to hospitals, including one in critical condition, according to the New Jersey State Police.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins supports Jan. 6 commission, but has 2 'resolvable' issues

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday she "strongly" supports establishing an independent commission to examine the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, but there are still issues -- although resolvable -- with the proposed legislation that passed the House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote Wednesday. Thirty-five Republicans joined Democrats to support passing the bill to create a 9/11-style commission, including all 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over his role in fueling the Jan. 6 insurrection. Republican leadership in the House and Senate -- and Trump -- came out against the proposed commission.

Israel-Hamas cease-fire put US in position 'to building something more positive': Blinken

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on ABC's "This Week" that Thursday's cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was "critical" to putting the United States in a position "to make a pivot to building something more positive," placing a heavy emphasis on the need for a two-state solution for the region. Blinken told "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. The Biden administration's top diplomat underscored the president's commitment to a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel as the "only way" forward for the region, but noted that would not happen immediately.

Suspect in custody after 2 dead, 8 injured in Minneapolis shooting

One suspect is in custody and another is dead, after a a mass shooting in downtown Minneapolis Saturday evening, according to a Minneapolis Police Department spokesman. Jowan Contrail Carroll, 24, is being held at Hennepin County Adult Detention Center, Minneapolis Police Department public information officer, John Elder, told ABC News. The Minneapolis Police Department said all 10 shooting victims are adults, five male and five female.

Man investigating dogs barking overnight finds dead body in ditch near his home

A homeowner made a grisly discovery early Saturday morning when he found a dead body in a ditch after going to investigate why dogs wouldn’t stop barking overnight near his home. The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, in a northeast suburban neighborhood of Houston, Texas, when the man told the Houston Police Department that he heard dogs barking for more than 10 minutes straight in the early hours of the morning when we went to go investigate what was going on, according to ABC News’ Houston station KTRK. "Other than the strange position of the body and the location, we're not seeing any major signs of foul play right now,” HPD Lt. R. Willkens told KTRK on Saturday morning while addressing the media.

Mother of 6-year-old killed in California road rage shooting pleads for justice: 'It feels like my life is over'

The mother of 6-year-old Aiden Leos is speaking out for the first time since her son was fatally shot in an apparent road rage incident Friday in Orange, California, and calling for justice as the killer remains on the loose. "They took my son's life away," Adien's mother, Joanna Cloonan, told ABC News' Zohreen Shah in an interview airing Sunday on "Good Morning America." Cloonan was taking Aiden to school in Yorba Linda on Friday morning when she says a white sedan cut her off abruptly while she was in the carpool lane driving northbound on the 55 Freeway.

Suspect arrested in investigation of alleged hate crime attack outside Los Angeles restaurant

Police have arrested a primary suspect in an attack on Jewish diners at a Los Angeles restaurant earlier this week that's being investigated as a possible antisemitic hate crime. The man, identified as 30-year-old Xavier Pabon, was arrested Friday night at a home outside the city and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Detectives are seeking additional hate crime charges, and the department requested that the suspect's bail be enhanced "due to the crime being motivated by hatred," the LAPD said in a statement.

Kevin Spacey books 1st film role following sexual assault allegations

Kevin Spacey has booked his first film role since sexual assault allegations surfaced nearly four years ago, filmmakers confirmed with ABC News. The Italian film, called "L'uomo Che Disegno Dio" -- or “The Man Who Drew God" -- will be directed by Franco Nero. It will shoot in Italy and also star Nero's wife, Vanessa Redgrave, sources said.

Repatriating refugees at Syrian camp could stem ISIS resurgence: US general

The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East is optimistic that next week's planned repatriation of a hundred Iraqi families from a large refugee camp in Syria could be the first step toward reducing the threat of a resurgence of the Islamic State emanating from the camp that is home to 65,000 mostly women and children, including many ISIS supporters. Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, made his comments to ABC News and Associated Press reporters accompanying him during his visit Friday to several U.S. bases in northeastern Syria. The U.S. still has about 900 American troops inside Syria who are assisting Syrian Kurdish forces in their fight against the remnants of ISIS.

Husband charged in death of missing Connecticut mom hours after her body was found

Jessica Edwards, 30, was reported missing by her family on May 10, police said, a day after celebrating her first Mother's Day. After a nearly two-week search, the South Windsor Police Department announced Friday evening that they had found her body earlier that day in the entrance to the Hockanum River Linear Park in East Hartford. There wasn't a person of interest at the time, Sgt. Mark Cleverdon said during a press briefing, though they expected to have another update later that night.

Biden to meet with George Floyd's family 1 year after his death as policing bill stalls

President Joe Biden will mark the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death on Tuesday by meeting with members of the Floyd family at the White House as Congress is poised to miss the president's deadline for passing police reform legislation named in Floyd's memory. Floyd died a year ago Tuesday after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes, which Biden called "a wake up call to the country" and sparked protests around the world calling for police reform and an end to systemic racism.

No one's claimed $500M Mega Millions jackpot ticket sold in Pennsylvania

A winning Mega Millions ticket from Friday night's drawing, was sold in Pennsylvania with an estimated prize of $515 million, according to a press release from Mega Millions. The ticket matched all six white ball numbers drawn on Friday -- 6, 9, 17, 18 and 48, plus the gold Mega Ball 8. Yesterday's win marks the third-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time and the largest ever in Pennsylvania, according to Mega Millions.

Infrastructure negotiations snagged again as Republicans reject Biden's counterproposal

Bipartisan negotiations on infrastructure hit a new snag Friday after Republicans flatly rejected a counterproposal on the multi-trillion dollar bill advanced by the White House. The White House's $1.7 trillion dollar offer on Friday was a pared down version of President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, initially valued at $2.2 trillion. Within moments of receiving the deal, Republican aides rejected it, telling ABC News that the price tag is too high for the GOP to stomach.

Ana, forming in the Atlantic, becomes 1st named storm of hurricane season

Subtropical storm Ana, which formed in the Atlantic Saturday morning, is the first named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. For the seventh year in a row, there has been a named storm formed prior to the official start of hurricane season -- June 1. A tropical disturbance could bring more flooding rain to parts of Texas also this weekend.

How New York City is slowly but surely rebounding from COVID-19

This week marked a major milestone for New York City during its 14-month struggle with COVID-19. Subway service returned to 24 hours, capacity limits on indoor restaurants, workplaces and recreational spaces were lifted -- albeit with distancing requirements -- and the more than 3.2 million fully vaccinated residents were allowed to go maskless. MORE: COVID-19 cases have stopped declining in New York City.


Where: Russia

Pronounced: zer z’derovijey [zə‿zdɐˈrovʲje]

Meaning “to health,” and not to be confused with “na zdorovye“, which actually means “you’re welcome”. Russians actually change their toast based on the celebration and who they are drinking with, so this term is, more often than not, used by tourists.

Where: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark

Pronounced: Skol [skɒːl]

If you’re looking for toasts with a unique history, head to the Scandinavian territories. “Skål“, which is used widely across Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, actually means “bowl” and harks back to the days when those gathered around the dinner table would drink from the same vessel. It is worth noting, however, that the Finnish prefer to say “kippis“, which comes from the German expression “die Gläser kippen“, or “knock back the glasses.”

In Denmark, you can also use the phrase “Bunden i vejret eller rester i håret“, which translates to “bottoms up, or the rest in your hair.”


Where: Russia

Pronounced: zer z’derovijey [zə‿zdɐˈrovʲje]

Meaning “to health,” and not to be confused with “na zdorovye“, which actually means “you’re welcome”. Russians actually change their toast based on the celebration and who they are drinking with, so this term is, more often than not, used by tourists.

Where: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark

Pronounced: Skol [skɒːl]

If you’re looking for toasts with a unique history, head to the Scandinavian territories. “Skål“, which is used widely across Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, actually means “bowl” and harks back to the days when those gathered around the dinner table would drink from the same vessel. It is worth noting, however, that the Finnish prefer to say “kippis“, which comes from the German expression “die Gläser kippen“, or “knock back the glasses.”

In Denmark, you can also use the phrase “Bunden i vejret eller rester i håret“, which translates to “bottoms up, or the rest in your hair.”


The Origins of Toasting Drinks

The ancient Egyptians did it. The ancient Chinese did it. And so did the Greeks. Evidence shows us that people around the world have been partaking in booze for thousands of years. Following suit, the act of ‘toasting’ and clinking glasses together, has been taking place for so long that its origins are quite blurry.

There are many debated theories out there—the most popular being the noise of ‘clinking’ was to ward off evil spirits. Another tale touts that by crashing glasses together, the libations in each glass would slosh into the others’ cup, therefore proving neither was poisoned.

Regardless, people all over the world continue to drink together and toast together. Most commonly the toast translates to ‘good health,’ something we all need after one too many.


Bluesyemre

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries Say Things, 70 people from 70 countries say “cheers!” in their native language. Learn how to say cheers in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Turkish, Polish, Thai, and many more dialects. If you’ve ever wondered ‘how do I say cheers’ around the world, this how-to video will have you clinking glasses like a local in no time.

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries Try Things, 70 people from 70 countries try to do their best impersonation of an American accent. The most predominant impression is of the American Valley Girl accent. The American men accent resembled a surfer bro. According to citizens from around the world, most Americans think everything is great and America is the greatest. Some even believe Americans act and talk just like President Donald Trump.

More than 70 people try to say 70 tongue twisters from 70 countries. In this tongue twisters challenge, citizens from all around the world attempt funny tongue twisters in different languages. Most English speakers know about Sally selling seashells at the seashore and Peter Piper picked a peck of peppers, but what about the best tongue twister in Japanese, Spanish, Finnish, Polish, Chinese, German, and dozens more different languages?

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries Say Things, 70 people from 70 countries say their country’s most popular stereotypes and common clichés. Find out how the world pigeonholes the Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, Indonesian, Pakistani, Nigerian, Russian, Japanese, Mexican, Australian, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and other nationalities.

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries, 70 people from 70 countries sing their home country’s national anthem in their home country’s first language. Enjoy national anthems for Canada, Australia, China, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Cuba, Chile, India, Pakistan and more, then put on your judge wig and pick the best national anthem in the comments.

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries, 70 people from 70 countries demonstrate what cats and dogs sound like in their home country. For some people, ‘woof’, ‘meow’, and ‘bark’ might come to mind but there are plenty more out there that could surprise you. Find out what a cat or dog sounds like in France, Spain, China, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Mexico, Thailand and more! Who knew the difference in dog or cat noises from around the world could be so interesting?

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries, 70 people reveal how to tell if someone is from their country. Signs include their posture, how they stand, how they walk, the volume of their voice, their facial expressions and features, their mannerisms, their hair color, the shape of their eyes, what they wear, their body language and gestures, their accent, their slang, how they greet someone, and how much they can drink. This helpful guide will show you how to know if someone is from France, Russia, Germany, Japan, China, Italy, Spain, and many more countries.

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries, 70 people reveal how to say hello and goodbye in their country. This helpful guide will show you how to greet and bid adieu to someone from France, Russia, Germany, Japan, China, Italy, Spain, and many more countries.

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries, 70 people from 70 countries reveal how to count money in their country. Find out how to count cash in different languages from around the world like.

In this episode of Many People Many Places, 70 people recite their country’s tourism slogan.

In this episode of Many People, Many Places, 70 people show Condé Nast Traveler how to sing the Happy Birthday song in their country. Find out how to belt out the best birthday wishes in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, and more!

In this episode of Many People, Many Countries, 70 people show Condé Nast Traveler how to count to ten in their country’s primary language. Find out how to count to ten in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, and more!

In this episode of Many People from Many Countries, 70 people from 70 countries demonstrate how a sneeze sounds in their homeland and how people respond in their home country’s first language. Find out what to do and how to say ‘bless you’ in Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Russian, and more languages.


Learn how to properly ɼheers' around the world

How lucky are we to have two beer drinking holidays back-to-back?

Thursday, August 6 was National IPA Day and Friday, August 7 marks International Beer Day. Now, you could celebrate by drinking an international beer or you could take it one step further and learn how to act like an international beer drinker.

Sounds fun right? Use the video below as your guide and learn how to properly cheers in eight different countries.

Tiney Ricciardi. Though she was born in California, Tiney is a Texan at heart with two degrees from Dallas’ Southern Methodist University under her belt. Her passions for music and language have taken her across the world, from Peru to Switzerland and all corners of America. A self-proclaimed master of puns, she currently resides in East Dallas priming her online publishing skills and snuggling with her cats. Ask her where to find good music and good beer.


More items to explore

Review

Cook debuts with an entertaining guide on how to give a toast in nearly 80 languages. . . . It's worth raising a glass to the enthusiasm and good nature of this fun project.

Review

A fascinating, frivolous, and yet deeply serious engagement with language, alcohol, tradition, and ritual. Marvelously informative and highly entertaining, Cook blends his subject matter with the delicate hand of a master whisky maker. Eons of history and culture have been perfectly distilled into this remarkable and enchanting book.

About the Author

Brandon Cook is a writer and language enthusiast. He currently lives in Prague. Cheers! is his first book.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Croatian
"Živjeli" or "U Zdravlje"
(zheev ye lee), (oo zdrav'lee)
("Cheers," "To Health")

A golden rule of Balkan toasts: if you've heard one "Zhiveli" you've heard them all. Croatians express their version of the staple Balkan toast with a different vowel on the middle syllable―zhivyeli, rather than zhiveeli. Croatians will also say "U zdravlje," as well as "Živjeli," but that's about it. But what could possibly account for this astonishing coincidence in Živjelis? Once upon a time in the early nineteenth century, a Serbian folklorist named Vuk Karadžić got the idea to simplify his native Serbian by introducing a simplified Cyrillic alphabet. Simplification in the name of standardization was a theme later taken up by the Croatian poet Ljudevit Gaj, who urged his countrymen to adopt as a literary standard a dialect spoken throughout the Balkans called Shtokavian ("Shto," meaning "what," the dialect literally translates into something like "what-ese"). The suggestion was debated, bandied about, tossed around, laid aside, taken back up, and finally, by the end of the 19th century, accepted as a pretty good idea. The result was later called Serbo-Croatian or Croato-Serbian―a rather testy balance, like Lennon-McCartney. Later, this stylistic cobbling encompassed even more languages and became the eloquently termed Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian, or BCMS. By 2009, the former Yugoslavia was a puzzle-board of new and semi-newly independent countries and a national language was a patriotic hammer in the toolbox of independence. BCMS lost its hyphens as Bosnians claimed a Bosnian language, Serbians Serbian, Croatians Croatian, and Montenegrins Montenegrin. The separation is mostly political but there is a difference in the alphabet. Serbians use the Cyrillic and Latin, Bosnian Latin, Montenegrin nominally both, but leans towards Latin, and Croatian is strictly Latin. This might not seem like much of a difference, but take a moment to reflect on how the extra "L" in "traveller" or the "S" in "organise" immediately distinguishes a Brit from an American. Now as for drinks, the go-to liquor of Eastern Europe is rakia/rakija in all its forms (cherry, pear, plum, walnut, etc.). Too many shots and even the most resilient drinker may have trouble getting out of bed in the morning but if you're lucky, before bed your Croatian comrades will prescribe you a good dose of sage tea―Croatia's hangover remedy. In addition to some of the bluest beaches on the planet, Croatia has also got a flourishing wine market. While in Croatia, take some time to sample the dark red Plavac Mali (considered a relative of Zinfandel), white Pošip, or the dessert wine Prošek (no relation to Prosecco). If you're eating out, ask for a recommendation and you'll get something new every night. And while you're at it, why not supplement your language learning with the Serbo-Croatian/or BCMS, or just plain Croatian version of 'Bon Appetit: "Dobar tek."

Tasting Note: Rakia, Šljivovica fruit brandy, Karlovačko, Ozujsko, and Pan beers

Norwegian loan words are easily spotted in English. Fjord and floe take little linguistic training to recognize. There's a kind of curveball with the word ski, but slalom (not-too-fast downhill skiing) and klister (ski wax) are decidedly foreign, as is the skrei (crowd) of fish terms: brisling, krill, and lutefish. If you fall off your yngling (small boat) or wipe out trying to execute a complex Telemark (ski turn) you might say "Uff da!" and Norwegian even has its own term for a Benedict Arnold―a Quisling. This sounds a little humdrum but it ought to be mentioned that Norwegian also gave English its kraken and its narwhal, two sea-dwelling, alienesque creatures of mythological proportions. The kraken was a giant squid that dragged merchant ships to the bottom of the sea, according to Jules Verne, Herman Melville, and Captain Jack Sparrow. The narwhal is an arctic-dwelling whale masquerading as a unicorn. They're the ones responsible for all the unicorn horns you find in old museums. There's even a whole throne made of "unicorn horn" in Copenhagen. But back to the list. You might guess from it that Norwegians are a laid-back people with a fondness for skiing, sailboats, and salty fish and you'd be exactly right. Actually, according to the World Economic Forum, it's a close match between the Finns and the Norwegians deciding who are the happiest people in the world. While there are all kinds of hypotheses about what makes the world's happiest people (I imagine it has something to do with also being named one of Europe's most beautiful countries by Travel Away), there's an idea that Norway's restrictive alcohol laws might play a part. This starts with prices. A standard Norwegian beer generally costs between six and ten bucks. Young Norwegians usually avoid getting drunk at bars but when they go to supermarkets, they have to buy their beer before 8 pm. Wine Monopoly (Vinmonopolet)―the only outlet where you can buy stuff over 4.75 percent―closes even earlier, at 6 PM. That sounds awfully restrictive. Hell, it is restrictive, but Norwegians seem to like it this way: 80% of people voted to keep their Vinmonopolet, according to a 2016 survey. Does less opportunity equal less drinking? Logically yes, but drinking is still done with gusto, albeit more often at house parties and home settings. All the usual spirits are brought out for casual consumption, but for special toasts and holidays you may be introduced to Akevitt (from aqua vitae), a grain spirit flavored with anise, cumin, cardamom, caraway, fennel, or orange, and sipped, not chugged. For a quiet toast there's cheers with the simple skål but before you take shots, don't be freaked out if the Norwegians break out into song. Actually, feel free to join in: the most popular is "Ol, øl og mere øl" and the only thing you need to know before belting it out is that øl is "beer" and og mere, "one more." Happy countries, simple pleasures.


Watch the video: 70 People from 70 Countries Say Cheers in Their Native Languages. Condé Nast Traveler (December 2021).