How to Say Hi in Burkina Faso: Formal and Informal Greetings Guide

Warm greetings play an essential role in the cultural fabric of Burkina Faso. Whether you’re visiting this vibrant West African country or simply want to connect with Burkinabé people, learning how to say “hi” is a great starting point for fostering meaningful interactions. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways to greet someone in Burkina Faso, with some additional tips, examples, and insights. Let’s dive in!

Formal Greetings

Formal greetings are typically used in official settings, business environments, or when addressing elders. It’s important to convey respect and politeness through your words and actions. In Burkina Faso, the traditional form of formal greeting is:

“Yibeogo” (pronounced ee-bee-yo-go).

It signifies a wish for good health and well-being, reflecting the importance of communal harmony in Burkinabé society. When using this formal greeting, ensure you maintain appropriate eye contact and a friendly demeanor.

Informal Greetings

Informal greetings capture the warmth and friendliness that defines the people of Burkina Faso. When interacting with peers, friends, or family members, you can opt for a more relaxed and casual approach. The most common informal way to say “hi” is:

“Salut” (pronounced sah-lew).

Using “Salut” establishes an informal and friendly tone. It’s popular among all age groups and can be used in various social settings.

Other Informal Greetings

Burkina Faso is home to various ethnic groups, each with its own local languages and customs. While “Salut” is widely understood, some regions may have unique greetings. Here are a few examples:


Pakêrê (pronounced pah-keh-ray) means “hello” or “hi” in the Mooré language spoken by the Mossi ethnic group, the largest in Burkina Faso.


Jabbama (pronounced jah-bah-mah) is a common informal greeting in the Fulfude language, mainly spoken by the Fulani people.

Remember that these variations might not be understood universally in Burkina Faso. However, using the widely recognized “Salut” will always be appreciated and make you feel more connected with locals.

Tips for Greetings in Burkina Faso

Acknowledge Elders:

Respecting elders is crucial in Burkinabé culture. When greeting an older person, it’s customary to bow slightly or offer a handshake along with your chosen greeting.

Be Polite and Courteous:

While Burkinabé people are known for their warm and welcoming nature, displaying politeness during greetings is highly respected. Use phrases such as “Bonsoir” (Good evening) or “Comment ça va?” (How are you?) to show your genuine interest.

Use the Right Tone:

Paying attention to your tone of voice is important. Speaking softly and gently is generally considered more polite and culturally appropriate in Burkina Faso.

In Conclusion

Mastering the art of saying “hi” in Burkina Faso opens doors to meaningful connections and positive experiences. Remember, “Yibeogo” for formal situations, and “Salut” for informal interactions. Embrace the warmth of the Burkinabé culture, showing respect, courtesy, and a genuine interest in others. So, go forth and greet with confidence!

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