The first and most essential word in all languages is surely ‘hello’, the word that enables one human being to converse with another, such as:
aa (Diola, Senegal)
beeta (Soninke, Mali, Senegal and Ivory Coast)
bok (Croatian)
boozhoo (Ojibwe, USA and Canada)
daw-daw (Jutlandish, Denmark)
ella (Awabakal, Australia)
i ay (Huaorani, Ecuador)
khaumykhyghyz (Bashkir, Russia)
nark (Phorhépecha, Mexico)
rozhbash (Kurdi, Iraq and Iran)
samba (Lega, Congo)
wali-wali (Limbe, Sierra Leone)
xawaxan (Toltichi Yokuts, California, USA)
yoga (Ateso, Uganda)
yoyo (Kwakiutl, Canada)

But it may not even be a word. In the Gilbert Islands of the Pacific, arou pairi describes the process of rubbing noses in greeting. But in Japan, bowing is an important part of the process and a sign of respect:

ojigi is the act of bowing; eshaku describes a slight bow (of about 15 degrees); keirei, a full bow (of about 45 degrees); while saikeirei is a very low, worshipful type of bow that involves the nose nearly touching the hands. When one meets someone extremely important, one might even consider pekopeko, bowing one’s head repeatedly in a fawning or grovelling manner.


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