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The secret origin of hello
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Enjoyed this little bit of greeting history from Clive Thompson, by way of Liz Danzico. I’m now imagining a world where people shout “ahoy!” into their phones as a greeting, and I love it.

5 comments

Granted, it’s a different language, but “ahoj!” (pronounced as English “ahoy”) is the casual greeting in Czech. It’s common to hear people yelling such into their phones on the trams of Prague.

FWIW, the Economist had a piece a few years ago on the etiquette of telecommunications: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10286400

And Mr. Burns answered the phone with Ahoy Hoy on The Simpsons.

So there’s that.

In Italy, the phone is answered with “Pronto!”

There’s a Bengali joke that turns on the fact that the 2nd person present tense of a verb usually ends in “o”: one person calls another and they keep shouting “hello” into the phone, back and forth, not quite sure if the connection has been made, as was common with crappy developing world phone lines. Finally, in exasperation, one cries out, “Hellechi!” (I *have* hello’d.)

Peter says…

So is that why C Montgomery Burns answers with “Ahoy hoy?”

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