How to Say Tea in 39 Languages

November 20, 2017

Touareg et thé à la menthe

How to Say Tea in 39 Languages


Behind water, tea is the second most consumed beverage on earth. By its cultural background and through its different aromas, tea evokes travel and exploration. With multiple accessories, everyday rituals and complex ceremonies, this is a fascinating beverage. Tea, synonym of hospitality, is an infusion that inspires sharing.

The origins of the word tea comes from China, where it has two different pronunciation: Cha and Te. All around the world, the word to designate tea comes from one of these pronunciations.

It appears that in the countries where the pronunciation starts by “ch”, the drink has been brought to the people by ground. In opposition to the countries that pronounced the word with the “te”, where the product was distributed by boats.

The sinological symbol used to designate the word tea is 茶. There are as many ways to say the word as there are countries to savor it.

For you, tea travelers, here are 39 ways to order a teacup:

  • Spanish: el te
  • French: le the
  • German: der Tee
  • Italian: te
  • Portuguese: cha
  • Dutch: thee
  • Danish: te
  • Swedish: te
  • Finnish: tee
  • Norwegian: te
  • Icelandic: te
  • Russian: chai
  • Greek: tsai
  • Japanese: ocha
  • Korean: cha
  • Chinese (Mandarin): cha (make sure you pronounce the “a” in a rising tone
  • Thai: chah
  • Hindi: cha
  • Arabic: chai or shai
  • Armenian: te
  • Turkish: cay
  • Croatian: caj
  • Czech: caj
  • Hungarian: tea
  • Polish: herbata
  • Romanian: ceai
  • Ukranian: chaj
  • Hebrew: teh
  • Somali: shaah
  • Zulu: itiye
  • Filipino: tsaa
  • Vietnamese: tra
  • Indonesian: teh
  • Chinese (Cantonese): cha
  • Sinhalese: the
  • Tamil: tea

References :
Pettigrew, Jane. Le thé, livre du connaisseur. 1997.

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