Portuguese in Angola

Greetings and Partings

Two people shaking hands

There are numerous variations for courteous greetings in Angola. One can always safely use the formal version of the second person pronoun and offer to shake hands. It is common for women to greet both men and women with two kisses; for very close friends, it is one kiss. Men generally shake hands, although it is also more common now for women to shake hands as well. When meeting a stranger in a social situation, one should use the formal pronoun and give two kisses. In a business situation, handshakes would be more common.

When introduced to an elder, one must use the formal "you." If the older person is a woman, it is a sign of great respect to incline slightly forward and clasp her hand in both of your hands. When formally introduced to a man, it is most courteous to give a firm handshake and look the person straight in the face. Angolans do not smile excessively; courtesy is judged more by an attitude of respect and the proper use of pronouns. When addressing an elder, one should always use "Mr." or "Mrs." along with the person's first name.

Depending on the style of the host or hostess at a social gathering, one can either greet each person or the group as a whole. This also applies to farewells; one must discern whether to kiss each member of the party or to simply kiss the host. If a situation is doubtful, the more formal greeting or farewell is usually the safest choice.